I was born in Tongaat, a little town on South Africa’s north east coast in 1976 and grew up there until the end of apartheid when, in 1994, the year of South Africa’s first democratic election, I moved to Cape Town to commence undergraduate studies at the University of Cape Town. On completion of a BSc degree, majoring in applied mathematics and physics, I obtained a first class Honours degree in specialising in mathematical physics also at UCT. This was followed by an MSc (awarded with distinction) for a thesis on topological solutions of low dimensional field theories. In 2000, I was awarded a Lindbury Fellowship to pursue a PhD jointly at UCT and Worchester College, Oxford University under the supervision of George Ellis and Philip Candelas respectively. After being awarded a PhD for work on noncommutative geometry in string theory, I began work as a postdoctoral fellow in the High Energy Theory group at Brown University, specialising in the gauge theory/gravity correspondence. I returned to a faculty position as a lecturer at UCT in 2006 and was promoted to full Professor of Mathematical Physics in 2019.
I am currently a Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Cape Town. In 2012 I founded the Laboratory for Quantum Gravity & Strings (QGASLAB), a dynamic young research group that brings together researchers in string theory, quantum gravity and quantum field theory. I am a founding member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS), current president of the South African Gravity Society, and a recipient of the University of Cape Town’s highest teaching accolade, the Distinguished teacher Award. I am married to South African cosmologist Prof. Amanda Weltman and we are the proud parents of two wonderful boys and two slightly above average dogs.