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…

Eugene Cloete: the solution seeker

Few academics can claim being natural entrepreneurs, but Professor Eugene Cloete is one of them. His curriculum vitae features not just his publications in academic journals, but also almost a dozen patents. He considers his “best idea ever” was using an empty teabag, replacing the tea with activated carbon and using antimicrobial nanofibres for microfiltration…

Paul Cilliers understood the nature of complexities

Paul Cilliers passed away in 2011 leaving behind his family, friends and colleagues, and an impressive body of work on the topic of complexity. It is hard to grasp his essence without the help of an interview, but the assistance of documents authored by Cilliers (and authored by others about Cilliers) allowed for a picture…

Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan: Breathing life into the bones of extinct animals

Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan (@Palaeo_Prof) was born in Pretoria, the youngest of three daughters. After matriculating from Laudium High School, she wanted to become a science teacher because education is part of her DNA. It is the profession followed by her eldest sister and her father, a headmaster, and several others in her extended family. In…

Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson: Unwavering transparency at the essence

Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson: Unwavering transparency at the essence  The late Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson was included in the Academy of Science of South Africa’s “Legends of South African Science” book because he received the Order of the Baobab (Gold) in 2002. Among the memorable awards he received during his lifetime was the Human Rights Award…

Sydney Brenner: A Nobel Prize winner’s life dedicated to science

In the more than eight decades that Nobel Laureate, Prof Sydney Brenner, has all-consumingly devoted his life to science, he twice wrote powerful proposals of no longer than a page. Short but sweet, these kick-started the two projects that are part of his lasting legacy. The first was to request funding to study a worm,…

Thomas Bothwell: across medical frontiers

The son of Scottish immigrants to South Africa, Thomas Hamilton Bothwell was born on 27 February 1926 in Johannesburg. Having received a scholarship to attend St John’s College, he matriculated first class in 1941. From here, he went on to attend the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), obtaining a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of…