Bob and Mary Scholes: from climate change to transformative change

Bob and Mary Scholes had – almost by accident, they say – given themselves just the right grounding to play an important part in growing our understanding of what humans are doing to the planet – especially in terms of climate change. This article by Mandi Smallhorne is made possible through funding from the Royal Society of South Africa.

Dark energy – the next frontier?

by Thabiso Goba Dark energy has dominated the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting with a few playful murmurs of a future Nobel Prize for the next discovery.  About 5% of the universe is made up of known atoms like protons, neutrons, and electrons and the rest of it is an unknown, invisible gas substance that…

Climate grief: when hope (doesn’t) spring eternal

by Wiida Fourie For those of us living in the cities, facing up to the realities of the climate crisis – such as contemplating the mere possibility of a Day Zero – can be challenging at the most. Some describe it as a vague unease about the changes you see in nature. Others talk of…

A remarkable scientist – and a stellar role model

Astronomer Prof. Renée C. Kraan-Korteweg’s work on the large-scale structure and distance scale of galaxies has made her an internationally-recognised researcher, but it is as leader and educator that this quiet-spoken astronomer has also excelled throughout her career.

Homo Naledi goes virtual

Thanks to funding received from the Royal Society of South Africa, Scibraai will be publishing a few new science stories in the coming months by local journalists. First up is an insert about Dinaledi VR, the world’s first free mobile palaeoanthropology virtual reality app. It provides virtual access to the underground Dinaledi chamber in the…

Prof Trefor Jenkins: a good man in Africa

When the Ford Foundation and the Oppenheimer Family Trust agreed, in 2004, to make a joint Endowment Grant to the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) to found the Institute for Human Evolution (now transformed into the Evolutionary Studies Institute) the university set about finding a suitable Director for the institute. When the selected candidate (Dr…

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…