Water-dwelling organisms show new ways to harvest light for solar tech

What can single-celled diatoms living in water teach us about harvesting light? Alot, says Prof Tjaart Kruger of the University of Pretoria, in this article from The Conversation Africa. Photosynthesis is a great source of inspiration for solar technology. By studying the minutiae of how plants convert light into useful forms of energy, scientists can better mimic…

How to make a telescope’s control room a happy place

When building a optical telescope, there’s more to consider than just lenses and high-end processors. The human element – the people that will actually work with it – also needs to be considered, for instance when designing the telescope’s control room. Christopher Justin Hendrickse, a lecturer in Product/Industrial Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology…

Gas sensing machine a breath of fresh air for Unizulu physicists

PHYSICISTS at the University of Zululand are beside themselves with joy after obtaining an important gas sensing machine, one of only two in the country. UNIZULU clinched the important instrument after impressing the National Research Foundation (NRF) with a tenacious application and landed them the R4.6 million instrument. “The machine is a great blessing for…

Big discoveries and sharper pictures for growing MeerKAT telescope

THE MEERKAT telescope turned its eyes to deep space for the first time last year, and this year has produced even more captivating images with all its 32 eyes. Minister at the Department of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, delivered news on the progress of the telescope to parliament on Tuesday. In July 2016, the…

A few shortcuts to the latest Homo naledi news

Still feel as if you’re not quite yet on top of the biggest science news coming out of South Africa this week? About the latest news about Homo naledi? Here’s a few essential links:   Here’s the full press release from Wits University. The first two paragraphs read: “The Rising Star Cave system in South Africa…

[LISTEN] The Science Inside: Radio waves, lost continents and skirt lengths

Want to know more about a cellphone that could charge itself, how to build a radio from scratch or how the SKA radio telescope is to probe the radio waves of distant galaxies? Then listen to this episode of “The Science Inside”, produced by the Wits Radio Academy. Other topics in this show include: * News…

2017 SCIENCE BUDGET GOES UP, BUT THE MONEY BUYS LESS

Analysis On paper, South Africa’s science and technology budget continues to edge up. On Wednesday, finance minister Pravin Gordhan delivered his national budget to Parliament, sharing out the country’s R1.56-trillion. The department of science and technology’s budget’s looks set to continue to increase: From R7,44-billion in 2015-16, and R7,43-billion in 2016-17,  it will be hitting…