For those who know him, it came as no surprise when multiple scholarship winner, Mr Dhaneshwar Dalian Sunder, graduated with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Applied Mathematics summa cum laude.
Despite taking an additional module, Sunder still managed to bag eight Certificates of Merit for his degree!
Sunder, a current MSc student in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, has received numerous accolades both in his undergraduate and postgraduate studies. These include:
• 2016 – Malegapuru William Makgoba Scholarship, awarded to the five top-ranked undergraduates proceeding from first-year to second-year of study in each College
• 2016 – Quantum Research Group Award for the best first year student in Physics continuing with Physics
• 2017 – SANSA Prize for the best second year student in Physics
• 2018 – Zac Yacoob Scholarship for the best student proceeding to an honours degree in the entire University
• 2018 – Hanno Rund Award for the best third year student in Applied Mathematics
• 2018 – NITheP Award for the best third year student in Physics
• 2018 – BSc degree awarded summa cum laude with 20 Certificates of Merit
• 2019 – Hanno Rund Award for the best Applied Mathematics Honours Student.
Hailing from Star College in Durban, Sunder was always interested in outer space and from a young age was curious about how the universe works. He fondly recollects spending hours at the library with his mother, kindling his passion for the subject as he read up on the universe.
Sunder said he was highly influenced by UKZN’s Astrophysics, Cosmology and Research Unit (ACRU) and was grateful to be guided and mentored by Professor Kavilan Moodley.
Said Moodley: ‘Dalian has performed exceptionally in his undergraduate and honours degrees and has been one of the top students in Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy at UKZN, accumulating a string of prestigious awards. He has also been involved in undergraduate research in cosmology and has made significant contributions to high-impact cosmology projects.
‘Dalian is exceptionally talented and has a promising future career in cosmological research. He was awarded an SKA bursary for his undergraduate and honours studies and now holds a prestigious SARAO bursary for his master’s degree.’
Sunder’s master’s research will focus on the ground-breaking HIRAX radio telescope, after which he plans to pursue a PhD and remain in research.
He offered the following advice to students: ‘What you sow you reap. If you work hard, at the very least you won’t have any regrets because you tried your best. I think it is nearly impossible to find success with laziness.’
Sunder was thankful to Jesus, and especially his parents for their endless support, encouragement and selfless sacrifice towards him.
Words: Leena Rajpal
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan