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.…

Every drop counts: watching water from space

In this article from Science Today, Keneilwe Hlahane of the University of Cape Town writes about how satellites are used to monitor the water quality in our dams. The water is green, a clear sign that it is polluted. Dense mats of algal blooms float on the surface of the dam, turning the water a dark…

What’s on KZN’s crowned eagles’ menu?

  This one’s for bird lovers, especially those who spend their time watching the feathered inhabitants of KwaZulu-Natal. A new study in the Ostrich journal sheds light on exactly what African crowned eagles in the province eat. Remains of 195 collected items of prey were collected from 17 nest sites. Rock hyrax (Procavia capensis), vervet…

How climate change is causing pied crow numbers to soar

Pied crows, or Corvus albus, are a natural part of the landscape of southern Africa. They are bold, common, and familiar. But over recent years, especially in South Africa, there is evidence that there are many more of these birds, write Susan Cunningham and Arjun Amar in The Conversation   The increase is worrying some conservationists who fear it…