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…

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…

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…

Photo: The Conversation

Species without boundaries: a new way to map our origins

by Francis Thackeray, University of the Witwatersrand More than 145 years ago, Charles Darwin argued that Africa was the continent from which humans evolved in prehistory. We now know he was right. We have the evidence to prove from prehistoric remains that our distant human relatives go back at least seven million years. Certainly, the fossil…

Xenophobia in SA: How prejudice is born

“Prejudice is a group phenomenon. You don’t have a personal feeling about someone who has something different, just by yourself. It’s somehow created, somehow part of social norms.” – Social psychologist Prof Gillian Finchilescu from the University of Witwatersrand, who has been studying prejudice for years. This week The Science Inside looks at xenophobia, xenophobic violence…

IBM research lab to work with the cool kids

Multinational research company IBM announced on Friday that it will be opening a research laboratory, in collaboration with the University of Witwatersrand, in the Tshimologong Precinct in Johannesburg. The premises was once a bar, and still has a long bar counter and heavily-graffiti’ed walls, but in a year this will be one of the top information…

MG’s #Science Voices: Is lightning’s ‘blast’ as bad as its strike?

How close does a person have to be to a lightning strike to be at risk? How far does this pressure blast wave extend? Ryan Blumenthal, a PhD candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand, has been researching lightning’s pressure blast wave effect on humans for the past 10 years. This newly emerging field is known…