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…

Water-dwelling organisms show new ways to harvest light for solar tech

What can single-celled diatoms living in water teach us about harvesting light? Alot, says Prof Tjaart Kruger of the University of Pretoria, in this article from The Conversation Africa. Photosynthesis is a great source of inspiration for solar technology. By studying the minutiae of how plants convert light into useful forms of energy, scientists can better mimic…

Monday Menu: Bottled water and human rights

Have you ever thought about the fact that bottled water might be having an impact on one of man’s most basic human rights – access to water? It’s all about commodification and boils down to money, says Maria Macarena Pereda of the University of Pretoria, in a mini-thesis she completed as part of her LLM…

Will Bolt’s hamstring heal in time for #Rio2016?

Dr Helen Bayne, Head Biomechanist at the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre tells SciBraai why sprinters like Usain Bolt and our very own Akani Simbine are so prone to hamstring injuries. This comes after news this week that hamstring strains threaten the chances of Bolt and Sally Pearson, both reigning Olympic champions, at Rio…

Shisa Sayensi: Isayensi yeviki (21 June 16)

Nansi isayensi yeviki esuka eNingizimu Afrikha kanye nomhlaba wonke. Izambane kumele libukwe njengesitshalo esiyisimanga Izambane libukeka njengesitshalo esejwayelekile kubantu abaningi. Ungaze ungakuboni ukubaluleka kwalo uma ungenalo ulwazi ngomsoco ogcwele kulo. Ososayensi baseNyuvesi yasePitoli benze ucwaningo ngezinhlobo ezahlukene bathola ukuthi amazambane anomsoco ukudlula izitshalo eziningi ezitholakala eNingizimu Afrikha. Uthi ubuwazi ukuthi iNingizimu Afrikha inezinhlobo zamazambane ezingama-80?…

Adapted to the Antarctic: a cold-lover’s genetics

First published on up.ac.za Life can thrive in the most extreme climates – from the very hot to the very cold. Something that not long ago was believed to belong in science fiction has now been brought into the realm of reality by a researcher at the University of Pretoria (UP). A fan of science…

Some truths about lightning: when thunder roars, go indoors

There are many myths about lightning. Almost all cultures on Earth have their own beliefs about what causes it, writes Ryan Blumenthal, a senior specialist at the University of Pretoria, in The Conversation Africa. Firstly, we need to know how to think critically about lightning. Why are there so many myths about lightning? Could it be that…

Silent giants unlock story of climate change

Researchers are using baobab trees to learn about climate conditions that prevailed thousands of years ago. Engorged ancient baobab trunks could tell the story of climate change in South Africa over the past thousand years, according to a paper published in the journal PlosONE. Adansonia digitata, a baobab endemic to Southern Africa, can provide this…

Biologists blunt the sting of a tree-killing alien wasp

The Sirex wasp and its deadly passenger have brought the prospect of ruin to the pine industry, but geneticists have a shrewd plan to fight back. Wasps – some black, others black and orange – are pinned to a board of blue rubber foam. One begins to twitch and you register that some of them…

See the Bloodhound SSC in Pretoria before record attempt

The opportunity to have a close look at a jet-powered car built to clock at 1000 mph (1600 km/h) is not one to miss. You have only until this Friday, April 24th, to view the Bloodhound Supersonic car (SSC) before it goes on its record-setting mission on a barren stretch of land in the Northern Cape in…