City gets set for SciFest

Grocott's Mail - - OUTSIDE - STAFF RE­PORTER

South Africa’s Na­tional Science Fes­ti­val, Scifest Africa, will be cel­e­brat­ing its 22nd an­niver­sary event from 7-13 March in Gra­ham­stown.

Es­tab­lished by the Gra­ham­stown Foun­da­tion in 1996 to pro­mote the pub­lic aware­ness, un­der­stand­ing and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of science, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion in South Africa, Scifest's theme for 2018 is “In­no­va­tion 4.0”, with ref­er­ence to the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion, which at­tributes tech­nol­ogy ad­vance­ment and trans­for­ma­tion.

Sci­ifest said they en­cour­aged par­tic­i­pat­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions to think artificial in­tel­li­gence, 3D print­ing, nan­otech­nol­ogy, dig­i­tal, quan­tum com­put­ing and the un­lim­ited pos­si­bil­i­ties of emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy break­throughs.

In 2017, Scifest Africa at­tracted more than 62 000 vis­i­tors and of­fered 58 ex­hi­bi­tions and 726 events, pre­sented by 291 con­trib­u­tors from 75 or­gan­i­sa­tions in South Africa and the in­ter­na­tional STI sec­tor.

The na­tional science fes­ti­val re­ceived me­dia cov­er­age to the value of R4.1 mil­lion from 1 Jan­uary-31 March 2017.

Scifest Africa iden­ti­fies and de­signs unique in­ter­ac­tive events and ed­u­ca­tional re­sources with sci­en­tific in­tegrity to ad­vance science, fa­cil­i­tate learn­ing in an in­for­mal and non-threat­en­ing way, and pro­vide learn­ers with an op­por­tu­nity to dis­cover science out­side the class­room.

Their pro­gramme in­cludes lec­tur­ers and young re­searchers from South Africa and abroad who will be shar­ing their wealth of knowl­edge with us. Among them are Min­tek ge­ol­o­gist and 2017 FameLab In­ter­na­tional win­ner Tshi­amo Le­goale, Dr Ti­isetso Lephoto from Wits Univer­sity who is one of the youngest PhD Grad­u­ates in the field of cell and molec­u­lar bi­ol­ogy, Dr Jeanita Pritchard from the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Stan­dards and Tech­nol­ogy (NIST) and other ex­cep­tional women in STEM ex­perts.

Pro­fes­sor Mike Bru­ton, au­thor of the newly re­leased book What a great idea! Awe­some South African in­ven­tions will be giv­ing a talk as well as Pro­fes­sor Petri Vaisa­nen from the South African Astro­nom­i­cal Ob­ser­va­tory (SAAO). The Na­tional Science and Tech­nol­ogy Fo­rum (NSTF) will also be con­tribut­ing to the lec­ture pro­gramme.

Ex­hi­bi­tions and work­shops in­clude a vir­tual tour of NASA’s Ro­bot­ics Lab with Jim Adams, SAASTA’s in­sight­ful ‘Won­ders of Nan­otech’ and more ex­cit­ing work­shops with a Scifest favourite, Dr Stephen Ash­worth. All in­ter­ac­tive events that are not clas­si­fied as ex­hi­bi­tions, lec­tures and work­shops fall un- der our Etcetera sec­tion of our of­fi­cial pro­gramme.

With con­tin­ued sup­port from the Depart­ment of Science and Tech­nol­ogy, the fes­ti­val makes science ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic, en­courag- ing par­ents and schools from across the coun­try to bring learn­ers to the event.

Scifest Africa pro­vides a plat­form for lead­ing scientists, both lo­cally and glob­ally, to en­gage with the youth and in­spire them to em­bark on ca­reers in science and be­come lead­ers in th­ese fields.

The elec­tronic pro­gramme will be avail­able at from 5 Fe­bru­ary.

Sue Maclennan Photo:

Pupils in awe at the Iziko Mu­se­ums ex­hibit at Scifest 2017. This year's event prom­ises an ar­ray of ex­cit­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and exhibits.

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