Sibo’s story helps children understand COVID-19

Over the past decade, Sibo, a lovable science-minded book character, has introduced South African children to difficult topics such as malaria, water, space, nanotechnology and road safety through books like Sibo and the Sea and Sibo sizes things up. Another, yet slightly different title was recently assigned to her – that of “Sibo, the research…

Die panplant: broccoli se nuwe Afrika-niggie

Vir ‘n kronkelende agterpad is Wessel Swanepoel baie lief, al weet hy goed daar’s gewoonlik ‘n veel korter roete wat tussen Punt A en Punt B gery kan word. “Ek probeer altyd alternatiewe roetes gebruik in plaas van die hoofpaaie wanneer tyd dit toelaat. Op dié wyse het ek al by die 95% van Namibië…

How being colourblind turned Prof Loyiso Nongxa into a mathematician

Prof Loyiso Nongxa is a trailblazer and an inspiration to many. In 1978, the mathematician became the first black South African to receive a prestigious Rhodes scholarship (now known as the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship) to study at Oxford University. The former Wits vice-chancellor was last year voted in as one of the vice-presidents of the International Mathematics Union.

Maths, computer science students at HLF meet their heroes

University of KwaZulu-Natal maths doctoral student Chinedu Izuchukwu is pretty clear about one of the highlights of attending the weeklong 7th Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany: it is meeting the man behind a software programme that has made his academic life so much easier. The brain in question belongs American Prof Leslie Lamport, winner of…

The UCT prof who helped save the bluefin tuna

Later this month, Professor Doug Butterworth will be formally honoured by the Emperor of Japan with the Order of the Rising Sun for contributing to the sustainable management of the very lucrative bluefin tuna fishery. In 2008, Butterworth received a similar national order from the South African president, after he helped to set the benchmark…

Legs gets an extra (3D printed) leg

A secretary bird called Legs is the first raptor in South Africa to sport a 3D-printed prosthesis. It was designed by some of the South African team members involved in the recent development of the world’s first 3D-printed middle ear bones. Scibraai visited Eagle Encounters Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation Centre  at Spier Wine Estate near Stellenbosch…

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…

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…

So, who is South Africa’s new Minister of Science and Technology?

South Africa’s new Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, likes things to be done on time. She’s solution-driven and prefers preparing properly for briefings and other commitments by working through all necessary documentation herself. She likes things to be in order and believes in accountability. And she hates being rushed and being given last-minute jobs. “I…