Photo of David B Davidson,
              June 2011

Homepage of Prof David B Davidson

Professor and SA Research Chair in Electromagnetics for SKA

Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

University of Stellenbosch

 IEEE Fellow, Member SAIEE, Member ACES

NEWS: The 2012 ICEAA-IEEE APWC conference will be held in Cape Town, Sept 2-8 2012. The conference website is For a poster, click here.

Cover page 2nd edition

For details of the 2nd edition of my book "Computational Electromagnetics for RF and Microwave Engineering", Cambridge University Press, 2011: click on image above or follow this URL

For material free to download, follow this  on-line resources link to the publisher's website. For additional material, see supplemental material.

For errata for 2nd edition, see 2nd edition errata.

 For errata for the 1st edition, see 1st edition errata.

Academic Qualifications

BEng (Pretoria 1982) cum laude
BEng (Hons) (Pretoria 1983) cum laude
MEng (Pretoria 1986) cum laude
PhD   (Stellenbosch 1991)


Courses (2012)


Computational Electromagnetics research group

I head up the Computational Electromagnetics Group (CEMAGG) at the University of Stellenbosch. Presently, the following researchers, post-doctoral researchers and post-graduate students are working with me:

The group maintains its own website, which has just been extensively revised.

I frequently receive requests to host undergraduate interns  - unfortunately, I cannot presently offer such positions in the group.

Possible MSc topics: 2012 (this is now closed; topics for 2013 will be posted mid-year)

As of 2011, I have been appointed to the Square Kilometer Array research chair in engineering electromagnetics, and my research  interest are expanding somewhat. Some suggested topics may be found on the SKA link below. Work in this field tends to be software-intensive with a fair amount of maths; Stellenbosch BEng E&E students doing the Computer Science option should find these of particular interest. Bursaries are available from the national SKA program as well as from private company EMSS-SA. Please note that the SKA busaries are limited to South African students, and students from partner African countries.

Students wanting to discuss possible PhD topics should contact me directly.

Recent graduates, post-docs and research fellows:



  I work in the field of Computational Electromagnetics, the numerical solution of Maxwell's equations.

At present, I'm mainly working on further developments of FEKO, a program which originated with the work of Dr Ulrich Jakobus.. With Dr Frans Meyer (one of my first doctoral students - he graduated in 1994) and Dr Gronum Smith and their company Electromagnetic Software and Systems , we are working closely with Ulrich on further upgrades and extensions.

From 1996 2010, I was been the principal grantholder of a consortium of around ten faculty (our research project was entitled  "High Frequency Electromagnetic and Electronic Engineering") funded by the Foundation for Research Development (the main South African scientific and engineering funding agency).

Recently, my interests have extended to include the MeerKat and SKA projects, and revisiting high performance computing. From April 2008 - March 2010, I received a Flagship Project from the new national facility, the Centre for High Performance Computing: the title was "HPC electromagnetic simulation for the MeerKAT and SKA". As of January 2011, I hold the South African Research Chair in Electromagnetic Systems and EMI Mitigation for SKA Research Chair in our Department.

  I was born in London, U.K. in 1961. My B.Eng, B.Eng (Hons) and M.Eng degrees were obtained at the Univ. of Pretoria. After an obligatory two year stint in the SADF, I worked at the CSIR in Pretoria (mainly on defence electronics) before being appointed in 1988 as a Senior Lecturer at the Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch, where I received my Ph.D. in 1991 (on parallel processing for computational electromagnetics). I've since held the posts of Associate Professor (late 1992) and Professor (Jan 1996 to present). My research interests continue to centre on the computational techniques, in particular the method of moments, finite-difference time-domain and finite element methods. My recent work has focused primarily on the last. I work on both on the underlying theory and on engineering applications. As noted above, I retain an interest in high performance computing and am involved in the national Centre for High Performance Computing, in the Computational Engineering special interest group and was a Flagship project principal investigator. I'm also involved in the MeerKAT and SKA projects. Presently I am the PI of the new MeerKAT HPC for Radio Astronomy research project at SU, in collaboration with UCT, the CHPC and the KAT office.  I've consulted for a number of private companies and state organizations.

During my first six-month sabbatical (January - July 1993), I was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona USA. I worked with Prof Rick Ziolkowski on computational electromagnetics techniques for applications in optics.  From January - July 1997 (my second sabbatical), I was a Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge, UK, working with Dr Ron Ferrari. I also worked with the Dr Ricky Metaxas' Electricity Utilisation Group at Cambridge University Engineering Department during this period; we were working on finite element methods for radio-frequency problems in electromagnetics.  During my third sabbatical, I was a Guest Professor at the International Research Centre for Telecommunications-Transmission and Radar (IRCTR) at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands (Feb-July 2003), hosted by the Insitute's director, Prof Leo Ligthart.  I worked on time-domain FEM formulations, with an eventual application in ground penetrating radar (GPR) for humanitarian demining.

I've authored or co-authored around 50 journal papers and over 100 conference papers.  Here's a selection of recent papers. My book, "Computational Electromagnetics for RF and Microwave Engineering", was published by Cambridge University Press in 2005. CUPmaintain a websitewith additional material supporting the book.  A 2nd edition appeared in late 2010.

I received the Foundation for Research Development (now National Research Foundation - NRF) President's Award in October 1995. I presently have a B2 rating from the NRF (as of October 2005). As of 2012, I am a Fellow of the IEEE; the citation reads "for contributions to computational electromagnetics". I served on of the NRF's Engineering Assessment Committee in 2001 and 2002, the latter as convenor, and again in 2006. I received the Rector's Award for Excellent Research from Stellenbosch University in 2005. I'm a senior member of the IEEE, and a member of ACES and the SAIEE and served as Chairman of the South African IEEE AP/MTT Chapter from 1996-98. I edit the bi-monthly EM Programmer's Notebook column in the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine. From 2006-2008, I was an associate editor of IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters. I was General Chair of the 8th International Workshop on Finite Elements for Microwave Engineering , held from 25 - 26 May 2006 at Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa, and am Chair of the Local Organizing Committee for ICEAA IEEE-APWC 2012.


In my spare time, I go to gym, play tennis (and occasionally squash), walk in the mountains around Stellenbosch, or play wargames. Follow these links to the Stellenbosch section of the Mountain Club of South Africa  or to Peninsula Wargames Group. I am married and have two sons. 


Last updated: 20 Mar 2012 by myself.


To contact me, my e-mail is my surname, followed by the at sign, then

To find my office and our visitor parking area (access code required), see here.

My postal (mailing) address is:

Prof D B Davidson
Department Electrical & Electronic Engineering
University of Stellenbosch
Private Bag X1

Phone: +27 (0)21 808 4458 
Fax: +27 (0)21 808 4981

For courier and other by-hand deliveries, please use the following street address::

Prof D B Davidson
Room E411
Department Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, University of Stellenbosch
Banghoek Street



Back to Electrical and Electronic Engineering personnel