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…

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…

Picking a rhino’s brain

Is a black rhino’s brain similar to that of a white rhino? Not quite, according to researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand. They say that the subtle differences seem to be because of the animals’ diet and the size of their respective home ranges. The research was conducted by Adhil Bhagwandin and Paul Manger…

The dream of electric cars

Time to rev your (electric) engine. Funeka P. Nkosi of the CSIR writes in Science Today about electric cars, and the relevant research being done in South Africa.    Twenty years ago, it looked like the dream of the electric car was dead. Even though the first practical electric car was invented in 1884, these…

Why it’s still worth getting the flu vaccine this year

Is it worth getting a flu shot this winter? Dr Sibongile Walaza, a medical epidemiologist at South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases and lecturer at Wits, explains more about it. Influenza, more commonly known as flu, kills between 6000 and 11 000 South Africans every year. About half of those deaths are in the elderly…