Scifest Africa 2016, showcases South African talent
29th February 2016

Scifest Africa, South Africa’s National Science Festival, will take place in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape this week from 2-8 March. The festival is sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology, and celebrates science, technology and innovation.

The programme is filled to the brim this year, and has a number of South African projects that are sure to bring the “wow” factor. The exhibition programme is no exception. The Department of Science and Technology have a number of entities that fall under their umbrella. Did you know that the dolos, CAT Scan, prepaid airtime, Kreepy Krauly, speed gun and Pratley Putty are all South African inventions? The “Great South African Inventions” exhibition is a collection of the ground-breaking achievements of South African inventors and innovators, from the use of traditional plans to the latest developments in space science. Explore these inventions in this captivating and eye-opening exhibition.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope ever built. The telescope will have a collecting area of one million square metres, and will allow astronomers to look back in time and see how the Universe formed. Learn more about the SKA, why it is being built in South Africa and the exciting aspects of building instruments on the site of Carnarvon.

SciQuest is an interactive mobile science educational exhibition. It consists of various units that teach different concepts in all the fields of science and are challenging while fun to work with. Young and old always find this exhibition fascinating while it simplifies science, engineering and technology in an entertaining and exciting way. Another interactive exhibition is the StarLab inflatable planetarium that is geared towards the introduction of the basic principles of astronomy and is a fun way for children to learn about the subject. Enter space in Journey to the Stars and discover our Universe, galaxy and solar system.

The Phedisanang PCP looks at the indigenous people in Africa and Asia and how they have utilized the Moringa tree for medicinal purposes. Learn more about this miracle tree, view moringa products that the Phedisanang PSP has developed for market, and be amazed by the knowledge held by the indigenous people of South Africa. Find out how we can best utilise this indigenous knowledge while ensuring it is protected for the people to whom it belongs. 

View South Africa's latest and most fabulous fossil finds, including Homo naledi, and learn more about the significance of palaeontology to everyday life on the continent where humanity, thought and culture evolved. The DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences is housed at the Evolutionary Studies Institute (ESI) at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). The ESI is the largest palaeontological/ palaeoanthropological research entity in Africa and one of the largest of its kind in the world. The institute is the foremost palaeontological training centre in Africa, and currently has more than 30 BSc honours, MSc and PhD students working on a very broad range of research topics.

 

We have an entire workshop programme which are fun, hands-on activities that afford visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the practice of science. In Build a Cubesat, build your own cube satellite, while learning more about how satellites work, how data is received, the importance of satellites, current and past CubeSat missions, and how to follow a career as a satellite engineer. Beyond the Microscope teaches you how to extract DNA from plants using household items, to learn about genetics and to understand how selective breeding or genetic modification of plants can contribute to food security.

The South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) presents Wonders of Nanotech where you can learn more about nanotechnology and careers as a nanoscientist or nanotechnologist. The South African National Space Agency will give participants the chance to roleplay as Albert Einstein, to demonstrate theories of special and general relativity in Perfect Timing. To show how speed and gravity affects space and time, by looking at the Global Positioning System (GPS).

In Particle Power, join iThemba labs as they look at the use of protons and neutrons in the treatment of cancer patients in an outside hospital at their Somerset West, Western Cape facility. This workshop also looks at the manufacturing of a number of radio pharmaceuticals for the benefit of people of South Africa.

The Council for Scientific Research (CSIR) will also be in attendance this year. They have a number of workshops on the programme this year which covers numerous topics. From biopharming to radar, the CSIR programme is sure to give you some food for thought.

To see the electronic programme visit www.scifest.org.za and www.tickethut.co.za. Bookings are open on 0860 002 004 or www.tickethut.co.za.

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