Jonathan Jansen: the talented transformer

Professor Jonathan Jansen doesn’t enjoy being in the media limelight. “I used to, but now I think it’s a drag,” says the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS). The reason, he says, is that journalists often get the story wrong, and the wrong idea about him. “They see me as this…

Jan-Hendrik Hofmeyr: a biochemist who believes perceptions can be shifted

In academia, change often happens slowly. Academics are born into a paradigm and, more often than not, they maintain that paradigm rather than interrogating and critiquing it. It is rare to find a researcher who is willing, much less eager, to look outside of his or her field and recognise when a paradigm can be…

It’s about the people for climate change scientist Jessica Thorn

  Dr Jessica Thorn was recently announced as part of the first three Women in Climate Change Science Fellows, an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences – Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI). She will be hosted by the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) at the University of Cape Town in South Africa but…

South African ship and robots to uncover the future of climate change in Africa

An adventurous team of South African scientists is preparing for a journey to an ocean at the bottom of the Earth. Their expedition will delve deeper into how the climate will change in Africa, and how South Africa can better protect its food supplies. In July 2019, researchers led by Dr Pedro Monteiro at the…

[LISTEN] What do you know about the shot hole borer?

This week’s The Science Inside radio show tells the story of a tiny beetle that is threatening Johannesburg’s trees. Hear from the people working on this, Prof Wilhelm de Beer and Neil Hill. In Unscience we find out how a bug might be the answer to the world’s plastic problem. Prof Mandeep Kaur explains how she…

Diane Hildebrandt: research for improving lives

Diane Hildebrandt was born in Chingola, Zambia and came to South Africa in 1968. Her childhood was spent mostly in Rustenburg, where she completed primary school at Fields Primary School. She undertook her highschool education at Grenville High, the only government high school for English-speakers in Rustenburg at the time. The core of her matric…

Bone accountancy

As part of her PhD in Anatomy, Mandi Alblas regularly visits Stellenbosch University’s Kirsten Skeletal Collection. Like an accountant she packs out, photographs and tallies each of 206 bones in each of the 700 skeletons included in her study – 144 200 bones in all.    There’s something moving about the way that Mandi Alblas switches between…