Science is coming to the people - free

2015-06-24 06:00

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SPACE buggies, laser beams and climate change are all coming to Port Elizabeth in the form of public lectures at the Boardwalk.

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan (NMMU) and Rhodes Universities, as hosts of the 60th Annual Conference of South African Institute of Physics, are offering the public free lectures by top national and international scientists from June 30 to July 2.

Some 450 scientists will be attending this year’s four-day conference which has light-based technologies as its theme in keeping with 2015 as the International Year of Light.

“It’s all part of a drive to showcase science in a country that’s desperate for more scientists,” said organiser Prof. JR Botha, who holds a national research chair in nano photonics within NMMU’s Department of Physics.

Prof. André Venter, whose faculty offers a number of bursaries to prospective scientists said, “We believe that these events will get people excited about the possibilities of science. These bursaries are mainly offered within NMMU’s specialist fields of solid state physics, materials, nano science, renewable energy and fibre optics.”

On Tuesday, June 30, guest scientist, experimental nuclear physicist Dr Don Mingay, will challenge present climate change thinking.

Prof. Andrew Forbes of Wits University will highlight the central role of light in modern society with his presentation “Light Fantastic” on Wednesday, July 1.

And on Thursday July 2nd, NASA’s Dr Japie van Zyl will share insights on whether there is “life out there”.

Although part of NMMU’s annual Science Discovery Week for some 300 Eastern Cape learners, other learners and members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Pre-bookings are essential and can be done through Computicket. To book for Prof. Forbes’ talk send an email to For more information contact Prof. JR Botha at 041 504 2579. – REPORTER

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