Soapbox Science Coming to Cape Town

19 Sep 2019 - 11:15

The Soapbox Science Cape Town speakers during the preparatory training with Jive Media and the Local Organising Team.

Five University of Cape Town (UCT) female scientists are included in the local organising team that will bring Soapbox Science to Cape Town for the first time on 28 September, at the V&A Waterfront.

This novel public outreach platform for promoting female scientists and the work they do will follow the format of Speakersʼ Corner in Londonʼs Hyde Park, transforming the Waterfront venue into an arena for public learning and scientific debate.

“We have so many wonderful women in science in South Africa and it’s time for the public to meet them, and Soapbox Science is just the best format to make this happen,” said coordinator Dr Lucia Marchetti, who holds a joint position as South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Astronomy at UCT and the University of the Western Cape.

The other UCT scientists on the organising committee are senior South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) researcher Dr Elisa Nemes, MeerKAT telescope astronomer Dr Jacinta Delhaize, Dr Sarah Blyth (Department of Astronomy) and the university’s Chair of Astronomy, Professor Renee Kraan-Korteweg.

“We hope that our speakers and their passion will be an inspiration for the future generations of scientists,” Marchetti said.

Kicking off with its first ever gathering in Cape Town on Saturday 28 September, the Pierhead at the V&A Waterfront will be transformed into an arena for learning and debate, engaging people from all walks of life with some of the South Africa’s most ground-breaking scientific research.

The inaugural event will feature 12 speakers from various of South African top Institutions, covering everything from nuclear physics to vaccine research.

Led by astronomer Dr Lucia Marchetti (UCT and UWC), a 2015 London Soapbox Science speaker, this first South Africa episode has been organised by a group of enthusiastic woman scientists based at UCT, UWC, iThemba LABS and SAAO ( As Dr Lucia Marchetti states: “Soapbox Science champions the vital role of women in science, whilst providing an exciting opportunity for the public to meet, engage and be inspired by game-changing female scientists. I am thrilled that this year we can show how South Africa and in particular South African female scientists are contributing to the advance of science worldwide!”

Co-founded by scientist Dr Nathalie Pettorelli (Zoological Society of London) and Dr Seirian Sumner (University College London) and launched in London in 2011, the Soapbox Science event  is taking place this year in 20 cities across the UK and a further 20 cities in 13 countries across the globe – with South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Argentina and Brazil as first time hosts. - making it the biggest event to date.

For more information on the Cape Town Soapbox Science event and the full list of speakers visit: