Phillip matriculated from Barberton High School, Mpumalanga, in 2008, and enrolled at the North-West University in the consecutive year. During the next four years he obtained a BSc degree in Physics and Applied Mathematics and a BSc Honours in Physics, both with distinction. In 2012 he presented work on the energy density profiles of globular clusters at the South African Institute of Physics (SAIP) conference and was awarded a prize for the best oral presentation in astrophysics on an Honours level.
In 2013 he enrolled for an MSc degree in Space Physics at the Centre for Space Research at the North-West University. For this project, he studied the transport and acceleration of cosmic rays in the heliosphere using numerical modelling, and focussed in particular on the effects of diffusive shock acceleration on the energy distributions of galactic electrons. Elements of this work were presented at the Centre for High Performance Computing National Meeting in 2013, the COSPAR international scientific assembly in 2014, and at the 2015 SAIP conference, where he was awarded the prize for the best oral presentation in space physics on a Masters level. He graduated with distinction.
His research continues in pursuit of a PhD in Space Physics. His current project is to develop models based on the solutions of stochastic differential equations to compute pseudo-particle trajectories and to construct energy and spatial distributions of cosmic rays throughout the heliosphere. The project retains a particular focus on the effects of diffusive shock acceleration at the heliospheric termination shock.