for tomorrow



SPACE buggies, climate change and lasers are all coming to the public of Port Elizabeth.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and Rhodes University, as hosts of the 60th Annual Conference of South African Institute of Physics, are offering the public an opportunity to attend free lectures by top national and international scientists at the Boardwalk later this month.

"It's all part of a drive to showcase science in a country that's desperate for more scientists," says organizer Prof JR Botha, who holds a national Department of Science and Technology (DST) Research Chair in Nanophotonics within NMMU's Department of Physics.

Guest scientists experimental nuclear physicist Dr Don Mingay will challenge present climate change thinking, while NASA's Dr Japie van Zyl will share insights on whether there is "life out there" during two evening sessions on Tuesday 30 June and Thursday 2 July respectively (see accompanying articles).

On Wednesday 1 June, the action moves to NMMU's South Campus where Prof Andrew Forbes of Wits University will highlight the central role of light in modern society with his presentation "Light Fantastic" (see accompanying article).Though this event forms part of NMMU's annual Science Discovery Week for some 300 learners from throughout the province, other learners and members of the public are also encouraged to attend.

"We believe that these events will get people excited about the possibilities of Science," says NMMU Physics head of department Prof Andre Venter, whose own faculty offers a number of bursaries to prospective scientists. These bursaries are mainly offered within NMMU's specialist fields of solid state physics, materials, nanoscience, renewable energy and fibre optics at postgraduate level.

Seven years ago the DST challenged South African scientists to collaborate on the production of knowledge that could be used to drive economic growth and social upliftment. It also highlighted the need for further scientists and has introduced a number of initiatives to increase their numbers especially for trans-disciplinary research.

It is hoped the efforts of scientists will provide solutions for some of the country’s most pressing social and economic problems.

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.

Free public lectures

Pre-booking is essential via Computicket on

  • The Conflict in Climate Change by Dr Don Mingay

Tuesday 30 June 7pm to 8pm, Boardwalk Convention Centre

  • Exploring the Universe: The Search for Signs of Life by Dr Japie van Zyl

Thursday 2 July 7pm to 8pm, Boardwalk Convention Centre

  • Light Fantastic by Prof Andrew Forbes

Wednesday 1 July from 9am to 10am, South Campus Auditorium at NMMU

Bookings for this lecture with before 10 June

Enquiries: Prof JR Botha on 041 5042579



Contact information
Ms Roslyn Baatjies
Media Liaison Practitioner
Tel: 041-5042777