Who are the big names in South African science?

Lee Berger (#Homonaledi). Tim Noakes (#banting). Glenda Gray (#MRCpresident). Bob Sholes (#climatechange). Himla Soodyall? Salim Abdool-Karim? Bruce Rubidge? Jill Farrant? Can you place these names, and associate a specific hashtag to each of them? They are among South Africa’s most visible scientists, according to a study published in the South African Journal of Science.   The…

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…

[LISTEN] The Science Inside Genetics episode

  The Science Inside is a weekly show that goes inside the science of major news events. The show is broadcast on Voice of Wits every Monday at 6pm.This week’s edition focuses on genetics. The presenters talk about Japanese researchers’ efforts to genetically engineer hens whose eggs contain drugs that can fight serious diseases including cancer.…

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…

[New study] SA Super Rugby teams clocked up more kilometers

A study that calculates just how far Super Rugby teams travel was sparked by three Australian academics’ hopes to pick the right side to back in their regular weekend pool. Their findings might however be just the fuel that South African supporters need when next they have to explain their Super Rugby teams’ poor performances.…

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…

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…