In a double whammy two Stellenbosch University (SU) students were awarded the Geological Society of South Africa’s top awards for the best MSc and best Honours theses in earth sciences at a South African university in 2021.
It also happens that the two students, Ryan Rosenfels and Rutger la Cock, also shared the same study leader, Dr Bjorn von der Heyden, a lecturer in SU’s Department of Earth Sciences.
Ryan Rosenfels was awarded the John Handley award for his MSc thesis entitled “Characterizing the Fungurume 88 Deposit in the Tenk Fungurume Mining District: an unusual, high grade, primary cobalt sulphide deposit”, while Rutger la Cock received the Haughton award for his Honours thesis entitled “Manganese deposits within the Cape Supergroup and their relation to thermal springs”.
In recent years postgraduate students in the Department of Earth Sciences have made a strong showing in earning GSSA awards, including Dr Von der Heyden himself, who won the Haughton award in 2009. This is what the list looks like:
- The Corstorphine Medal for an exceptional MSc thesis at a South African university was awarded to Kelly Swana in 2016 and Tarryn Cawood in 2017.
- The John Handley Award in recognition of the best MSc thesis in earth sciences at a South African university was awarded to Matthew Mayne in 2015 and to Jonathan Gloyn-Jones in 2019.
- The Haughton Award in recognition of an exceptional Honours thesis at a South African university has been awarded thrice, to Bjorn von der Heyden (2009), Jean Loock (2015) and Stephan Dunn (2017).
- In 2020 Prof Alex Kisters was awarded the Draper Medal for his lifetime contribution to geology in South Africa.
On the photo above, Ryan Rosenfels (left) and Rutger la Cock (on the far right) together with their study leader, Dr Bjorn von der Heyden. Images supplied