Christo Venter

Prof Christo Venter

I joined the prestigious Centre (of Excellence) for Space Research (CSR), North-West University (NWU) in 2002 as a graduate student. The Gamma-ray group represents the main South African contribution to the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) Collaboration and is also involved in the next-generation Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). I am currently a B2-rated scientist with considerable international recognition and potentially a world leader in pulsar modelling.

I completed my MSc (cum laude) and PhD (first class) in 2004 and 2008, under supervision of the well-known Okkie de Jager. I was a NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) Fellow and spent 2009 at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA under supervision of the world-renowned Alice Harding. I held the following NWU positions: Lecturer (2005 – 2008), Senior Lecturer (2009 – 2014), Associate Professor (2015 – 2017), and Full Professor (2018 – present). I served as Subject Chair (2015 – 2017) and Research Director (2020 – 2022) of the CSR.

I was co-investigator / collaborator on 3 Fermi Guest Investigator (GI) Proposals and an Astrophysics Theory Program (ATP) Proposal. As principal investigator (PI), I received grants from the NRF's Competitive Support for Unrated Researchers (CSUR), Competitive Support for Rated Researchers (CSRR), and Multi-wavelength Astronomy Research Programme (MAGR) initiatives (2012 – 2018) plus incentive funding for Rated Researchers (2014 – 2019) to a total of ZAR 3.2 million.

I am a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society (2002 – present; top 15% of graduates), South African Institute of Physics (SAIP; 2002 – present; secretary in 2014 – 2016, and co-chair in 2016 – 2018 of the Astrophysics & Space Science Division D), South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP; 2006 – present), African Astronomical Society (AfAS; 2011 –present), International Astronomical Union (IAU; 2012 – present; chair of the IAU South African National Committee 2017 – 2018), and Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns (SAAWK;2014 – present). Awards include an NRF / Department of Labour (DoL) Scarce Skills Scholarship (2003 – 2004), Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science (S2A3) Bronze Medal for the best Natural Science Master's thesis at the NWU (2005), and Elsevier Young Scientist Award (2014).

I co-authored 31 few-author, peer-reviewed articles, 35 peer-reviewed proceedings, 29 conference proceedings, 202 H.E.S.S. papers, 25 Fermi papers, and 2 MeerKAT papers. Eleven papers were published in Science (impact factor 64, I was a corresponding author on 1), 4 in Nature (impact factor 69), and 1 in Nature Astronomy (impact factor 13). NASA ADS lists 24 600 citations from over 80 countries and an h-index of 79. For few-author papers, NASA ADS lists over 850 citations and h-index of 15 (Scopus: 370 citations, h-index 10; Web of Science: 311citations, h-index 9). These are from 36 countries. I reviewed 43 papers and conference proceedings (5 for Astrophysical Journal, impact factor 5.6; 2 for MNRAS, impact factor 5; 1 for PRL, impact factor 8.8).

I hosted international visitors - Dr Clapson (Max Planck Institute) and Dr Kopp (University of Kiel / Bochum) and visited Dr Harding (NASA) four times.

I am a member / associate member of the following international Collaborations: H.E.S.S. (2005 –present; 75 days of observations; 33 observational proposals; Fermi LAT (2009 – present); CTA (2017 – present); and the SA-GAMMA Consortium (2013 – present). I was PI of 4 MeerKAT Open Time Proposals.

I acted as research director of the CSR during 2020 – 2022. I delivered 4 PhD and 8 MSc graduates, supervised or co-supervised 11 Hons. projects, and co-supervised 2 postdocs. I attended 54 international and 23 local conferences, giving 12 plenary talks. I examined 4 master’s and 4 PhD theses

(internally, nationally, and internationally), judged student talks and posters at annual SAIP meetings and gave several public lectures and radio interviews. I acted as co-chair of the scientific organizing committee (SOC) and chair of the local organising committee (LOC) for 1 international conference, and was member of the SOC or LOC of 4 other international conferences.

I plan to continue research in the lively field of Multi-messenger Astrophysics including data from H.E.S.S., Fermi, CTA, Chandra, NICER, MeerKAT, and SKA. I thank God for the wonderful opportunities He has bestowed upon me.

Physical Address

Potchefstroom Building G5-218

Telephone Number
018 299 2416
018 299 2423