David Glasser: working towards economic benefits

On 29 September 1936, David Glasser was born in Alexandria in the Eastern Cape. A strong scholar, he was placed in St Andrews School in Bloemfontein for his primary education, going on to complete his secondary schooling at Grey High School in Port Elizabeth. Matriculating first class in 1954, Glasser was placed fifth in the…

[LISTEN] The Science Inside Family episode

It’s Family Day on The Science Inside radio show, presented by the Wits Radio Academy. Your family’s genes may be why you hate coriander leaves. If you’re hoping to start a family, Dr Mohamed Iqbal Cassim from the BioArt fertility centre says trends in fertility have changed. In Unscience, there is a reason why you…

Could a scanner be the way forward for diagnosing malaria?

The answer to whether people have malaria or not is written in the palms of their hands. So says University of Pretoria researcher Dr Vinet Coetzee, who is developing a handheld scanner that would one day be able to within seconds detect if someone has contracted this mosquito-borne disease – one that affects up to 216…

Explainer: What’s behind the rabies outbreak in SA?

In the last four months five cases of rabies in humans have been reported in South Africa, and an additional two cases are probable. The country’s National Institute of Communicable Diseases warns that steps need to be taken to curb the trend. The Conversation Africa’s health and medicine editor Candice Bailey spoke to the institute’s Jacqueline Weyer…

Prof Wieland Gevers: Institution builder of note

    Prof Wieland Gevers: Institution builder of note   In 1970, a 32-year-old Wieland Gevers faced a big decision: To stay in North America, taking up a prestigious tenured Associate Professorship at the leading Canadian university, or to return to his native South Africa. The Canadian job involved setting up a research laboratory in…

Whiskers tell what’s on a lion’s menu

World Wildlife Day is celebrated on 3 March. This year the spotlight falls on the world’s big cats. New research by South African researchers have shown that the details trapped in a lion’s whiskers provide minute detail about the type of animal that has been on its menu. They were also able to tell at what…

Bernie Fanaroff brought SA the world’s largest telescope

Dr Bernie Fanaroff did his PhD because of his interest in physics – and in the process developed a way to classify very distant radio sources that is still being used today. Since then, much of his efforts have gone into South Africa – among others as a union movement leader, as a civil servant…