Could a scanner be the way forward for diagnosing malaria?

The answer to whether people have malaria or not is written in the palms of their hands. So says University of Pretoria researcher Dr Vinet Coetzee, who is developing a handheld scanner that would one day be able to within seconds detect if someone has contracted this mosquito-borne disease – one that affects up to 216…

Explainer: What’s behind the rabies outbreak in SA?

In the last four months five cases of rabies in humans have been reported in South Africa, and an additional two cases are probable. The country’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases warns that steps need to be taken to curb the trend. The Conversation Africa’s health and medicine editor Candice Bailey spoke to the institute’s Jacqueline Weyer…

Prof Wieland Gevers: Institution builder of note

    Prof Wieland Gevers: Institution builder of note   In 1970, a 32-year-old Wieland Gevers faced a big decision: To stay in North America, taking up a prestigious tenured Associate Professorship at the leading Canadian university, or to return to his native South Africa. The Canadian job involved setting up a research laboratory in…

[LISTEN] The Science Inside show about listeriosis and fake medicine

South Africa is facing the world’s biggest recorded outbreak of listeriosis. This week’s The Science Inside Radio Show finds out why this food-borne disease is so unique. In Unscience, hear why expensive fake medicine might just work better than cheap placebos. Content hosted by iono.fm This broadcast is made possible through the Wits Radio Academy.…

A sports car and a glitter ball are now in space – what does that say about us as humans?

In this article from The Conversation, Alice Gorman of Flinders University weighs in on the symbolism behind South African-born Elon Musk’s red sports car being part of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch – and other items in space.  Two controversial objects have recently been launched in space, and their messages couldn’t be more different. One is Elon…

Kobus Eloff: Jack-of-all-trades achieves success

Twenty years ago, when the Academy of Science of South Africa was established, Jacobus (Kobus) Nicolaas Eloff, then already in his mid-fifties, was invited, as Director of the National Botanical Gardens, to become a founding member of the Academy. However, once his CV had been reviewed, Eloff’s founding membership was declined on the grounds that…

George Ellis: the down-to-earth cosmologist

For somebody who has spent much of his time thinking about the structure of the universe, Professor George Ellis is remarkably down-to-earth. Over the past half-century his work has not only probed the nature of space-time, but his knowledge of mathematics has helped solve crises facing South Africa, such as providing housing for the poor.…