Zeblon Vilakazi is a South African physicist who led South Africa's entry into the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project in his role as Group Leader of the UCT team that played a pivotal role in the developed the High-level Trigger (HLT) forward muon tracker at the ALICE experiment at CERN. His goal was understanding the state of nuclear matter under extreme temperatures in search for the quark gluon plasma (QGP).
Vilakazi has fostered collaborative research at the international level, as Director of iThemba LABS (the largest cyclotron facility in southern hemisphere) where he initiated a flagship rare – isotope beam (RIB) project which, in near future, could be part of a global network of medium energy exotic beams facilities.
In June 2019 he played a key role in securing a place for African academic partners in the development of practical applications through access to the IBM Quantum Computing network. This paved the way for 15 other African universities to have access to IBM's quantum computer. In 2010 he was selected by the World Economic Forum as a young global leader and currently serves as the vice-chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand.