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…

Virtual reality breathes new life into African fossils, art and artefacts

Tammy Hodgskiss shares some of the background work that went into developing the new virtual reality exhibition at Wits University’s Origins Centre. It was launched on 25 September. This article is published via The Conversation Africa. Digital technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives. So it was only a matter of time before…

The doyenne of seeds: Patricia Berjak

Professor Patricia Berjak was born in Johannesburg on 29 December 1939. After attaining her BSc (Hons) cum laude in biochemistry from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in 1962, Berjak moved to Natal, where she spent a year as a teacher before taking up a post at the University of Natal, now known as the…

Jill Adler: the engaged maths scholar

Most academics spend much of their time teaching. But few South African high-school teachers end up becoming world-renowned researchers with an A-rating from the National Research Foundation. Yet, this is what Professor Jill Adler has done. A teacher by training, an activist at heart, she has bucked many trends to become one of the world’s…

Picking a rhino’s brain

Is a black rhino’s brain similar to that of a white rhino? Not quite, according to researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand. They say that the subtle differences seem to be because of the animals’ diet and the size of their respective home ranges. The research was conducted by Adhil Bhagwandin and Paul Manger…

Salim Abdool Karim: a crusader for HIV research

Salim Abdool Karim is a revolutionary in everything he does, be it opposing apartheid rule, challenging AIDS denialists, or revamping South Africa’s medical research funding. Along the way, he has ruffled some feathers. But ‘Slim’, as he is known to most, gets away with it because his actions are designed for the greater good, and…

Meeting the humans behind the Nobel Prize

It’s 11.25 on a Tuesday morning, and I’m nervous as hell. In just five minutes, I’ll be sitting down for an interview with Prof Bernard Feringa, 2016’s Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry. You might not have heard of him, but you probably know his work: he built the nanocar, back in 2011. What do you…