Prof Connell obtained his PhD in 1989 from the University of the Witwatersrand.
He is currently professor of physics at the University of Johannesburg within the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Science. He has research interests in Particle Physics, Nuclear Physics, Nuclear Energy, Materials Science, Quantum Physics, High Performance Computing and Applied (innovation) Physics. His rating by the SA Research Funding Agency (NRF) cites him as having “considerable international recognition”. He is a past president of the South African Institute of Physics. He is the founding member of the South African participation in High Energy Physics at the ATLAS Experiment at CERN, where with his group he participates in a Beyond Standard Model search as well as engineering and technical activities. He has published over 150 papers in International Journals and is also an ATLAS author. He has worked for many years at the European Synchrotron Research Facility (ESRF). He is interested in technology for competitive industry and in innovation and has a project on the intelligent sensor based sorting of diamond in kimberlite, which is now being commercialized. A current major activity in the service of the discipline is the development of the South African user base for Light Sources, (these are premier international multi-disciplinary research tools) and the implementation of the roadmap towards the African Light Source.