Namibian female astrophysicist secures a research grant from AfAS

Born in Windhoek, raised in the small town of Okongo, in the northern part of Namibia and attended secondary school at ELCIN Nkurenkuru High School in Kavango West region, Hambeleleni Davids (30) was awarded a research grant by the African Astronomical Society (AfAS). The AfAS Seed Research Grant supports research projects in Astronomy (including Astrophysics and Space Science) conducted by postgraduate students and/or early career researchers based in Africa. Only two grants were awarded to outstanding applicants from African countries in 2021.Of these, one was awarded to Ms Davids. This seed funding may be used for international/domestic travel, lodging, computer equipment and other research-related expenses.

Ms Davids is a UNAM Physics lecturer at the School of Science and is destined to graduate with a PhD in Space Physics from North-West University, Potchefstroom in August this year. She is one of the few female astrophysicists in the country. Her work is on modelling globular clusters (a spherical collection of millions of stars bound by gravity) as diffuse emitters of multi-wavelength electromagnetic radiation. These sources are home to many millisecond pulsars, which emit very-high energy gamma-rays that are observed by Cherenkov telescopes like the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S).  Ms Davids studied the detectability of Galactic globular clusters by H.E.S.S. and her calculations serve as a guide for observations of globular clusters by H.E.S.S. and the future Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). Her story was also recently covered by the francophone magazine l’Astronomie Afrique. You can find it at https://lastronomieafrique.com/etoiles-africaines-hambeleleni-davids-namibie/.