College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

From Engineer to Astrophysicist

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Mr Scott Eyono was fascinated with computers and technology from a young age and with his father being a professor of Computer Science, technological problem solving became almost a family hobby! Thus it is no surprise that the young Eyono is now a proud UKZN BScEng (Computer Engineering) graduate.

Arriving at UKZN fresh from high school at Highway College in Pinetown, Eyono enjoyed his studies in the School of Engineering. ‘My undergraduate degree prepared me mentally, physically and emotionally. Although demanding and difficult, it has made a big impact on my life and opportunities,’ he said.

Eyono became adept at solving problems – both scientific and technological – and this growing interest in the interaction between technology and science has now led him to postgraduate studies in Astrophysics. He has registered for an MSc degree, specialising in astrophysics and, in particular, radio telescopes.

The main goal of Eyono’s current MSc project is to develop an Artificial Intelligence model that can drastically reduce radio signal noise by using a combination of machine learning techniques and big data analytics algorithms. He hopes the model he aims to build will have a wide range of applications on various hardware platforms, including radio telescopes.

‘I enjoy working on meaningful and impactful projects,’ said Eyono. ‘The HIRAX (Hydrogen Intensity and Real-time Analysis eXperiment) project is one where my research can effectively contribute towards the overall objective. My work will influence how future telescopes are calibrated and facilitate future telescope prototypes.

‘In addition, it will help bridge the gap between astronomy and computer engineering.’

Said academic leader for teaching and learning in the School of Engineering, Professor Jules-Raymond Tapamo: ‘Eyono’s punctuality and willingness in always answering questions in lectures, along with his behaviour and excellent performance during his undergraduate studies, have convinced me that he is on the right path to becoming a good collaborative engineer and scientist.

‘He won the prize for the best final year Computer Engineering student for the year 2018 and has now been awarded a prestigious MSc bursary from the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO)

‘Eyono is a humble young man who is willing to help others and I am very glad to be among those accompanying him in his scientific endeavour.’

During his spare time, Eyono enjoys playing football, travelling, composing music with his brothers and sometimes baking.

He lives by the words: ‘Success is the result of consistent hard work, patience and persistence.’

He is grateful to his family and friends who have supported and guided him throughout his student career.

Words: Leena Rajpal

Photograph: Supplied