Professor Jean Cleymans

Professor Jean Cleymans

Professor Jean Cleymans

Professor Jean Cleymans has made considerable contributions to the area of plasma and particle physics with a particular focus on relativistic heavy ion collisions.

He obtained his doctorate in physics at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium and completed his post-doctoral thesis on Habilitation in Theoretical and Condensed Matter Physics at the Universität Bielefeld in Germany. He joined the University of Cape Town as a senior lecturer in 1986, and later became professor and head of the physics department. He is currently emeritus professor and senior scholar at UCT.

His research work currently focuses on the phase diagram separating nuclear matter from quark matter and exploring areas of high baryon density. He has carried out much of his research at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland as well as at the Nuclotron-based Ion Collider Facility in Russia and the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research at Darmstadt, Germany. Cleymans has been instrumental in establishing the SA-CERN programme, the successor to the UCT-CERN Research Centre, which he set up with Professor Zeblon Vilakazi. He also contributed to the SA-Joint Institute for Nuclear Research with Russia and was Leader of the UCT-ALICE Collaboration at CERN. As a consequence, South Africa has become a major player in the field of nuclear and particle research. 

Cleymans has authored or co-authored more than 300 refereed articles on theoretical physics in journals such as the European Physical Journal; Physical Review; and Physics Letters, which have garnered over 16 000 citations. He also edited two books and contributed one book chapter. He has acted as referee for Physical Review and Physics Letters and served as chairman of the SA-CERN Programme. To date, he has supervised 21 MSc and 13 PhD students, one of which recently won the prize for Academic Leadership from the University of Minnesota in the USA.

Cleymans has been an NRF A-rated researcher since 1985, and was the recipient of a number of awards throughout his career, including the Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize in 1999, the Prize of the Polish Ministry of National Education for Research Excellence in 2000 and for Outstanding Team Research in 2003.