Symbolism of Current Logo

One of the recommendations of the Transformation Committee was for the SAIP to get a new logo. It was decided to hold a competition which was launched in January 2004 with a prize of R3 000 to the winning designer. The winning design, selected by the members, from a shortlist of 3, was designed by Anthony Bullen (Sydney, Australia). The new design was unveiled at the banquet of the 49th Annual SAIP Confernce held in Bloemfontein on 2 July 2004.

This was submitted by the designer: The base of this logo is the archetypal symbol associated with physics - electrons orbiting a nucleus. It is given a uniquely South African flavour by adding elements that form the "Y" motif of the South African flag. This logo uses only two colours, both from the South African flag, making it a less expensive logo to print. Its centred, emblematic design is well suited to more ceremonial applications, such as use on certificates and medals.

Symbolism of Previous Logo

The following background to this logo was provided by a former SAIP previous secretary, Prof Bouke Spoelstra.

In 1982 the Council decided to get a logo for the SAIP. Enquiries from graphic designers established that professionals would charge an amount which at the time was roughly the price of a car! A logo competition was then launched, with the grand prize of R50 offered for the winning entry.

A number of designs were submitted and amongst them Dr G Heymann had submitted a few variations of a logo, from which the one used at present was adopted. A description of the symbolic meaning accompanied the entry:

  • The symbol resembles the Greek letter "phi", (for "physics")
  • The symbol also resembles the Chinese symbol "chung", meaning "middle" or "central" symbolizing physics as the central science.
  • The structure of the logo represents the three basic units of length, mass and time. Length: because of the four sides with the same length (precision); Mass: because the design resembles a balance, with the central triangular bar the fulcrum; Time: because the triangular bar resembles a pendulum.
  • The square is a two-dimensional projection of a cube which occurs in many fields of physics - a cube was chosen earlier as the logo for the Specialist Group for Solid state and Material Science (now called the Division for the Physics of Condensed Matter and Materials).
  • The design also resembles Greek symbols which are often used in many fields of physics.

    I believe that it was also said at the time that the double bars on the top right hand side resemble the gates of the CSIR. At the time the National Physics Research Laboratory (which was very influential in physics in the RSA) still existed as part of the CSIR.

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