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.…

George Ekama: saving SA precious water

Clean water is a basic human requirement, but in an arid country like South Africa keeping it flowing, can be a challenge. Professor George Ekama has made it his life’s work to keep the country’s taps running and clean. From tackling algal blooms in dams and rivers by preventing pollution from municipal and industrial wastewater…

Robin Crewe: the complete beekeeper

Robin Michael Crewe was born in Johannesburg on 18 February 1946. Growing up on a farm in Mpumalanga, his secondary and tertiary education was undertaken in Natal. He matriculated from Kearsney College in 1963 going on to enrol at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg where he completed his undergraduate and Masters studies. Majoring in chemistry…

Anna Coutsoudis: a researcher guided by needs

Anna Coutsoudis was born in Durban on 21 September 1952. Upon completion of her schooling, Coutsoudis enrolled for a BSc degree at the University of Natal, majoring in biological science and chemistry. This was followed by an Honours degree in 1974, where she researched leukocyte antigens in vervet monkeys. Coutsoudis went on to complete qualifications…

Hoosen Coovadia: Taking up the crusade for children

Hoosen Mahomed Coovadia, known as “Jerry” to those close to him, was born in Durban on 2 August, 1940. Raised in a Muslim family, Coovadia first attended St Anthony’s, a Catholic school in Durban, and completed his secondary schooling at Sastri College. He credits his mother as having been a great influence in his development.…

Darrell Comins’ fascination with materials

Darrell Comins was born in Pietermaritzburg on 10 June, 1942. Attending Merchiston Preparatory School and, later, Maritzburg College, he followed what was then the traditional classics course – English, Latin, history, Afrikaans, mathematics and physical science. With a broad spectrum of interests and a strong creative streak, Comins reflects that he could quite easily have…