On World Jellyfish Day, 3 November, Emeritus Professor Jenny Day writes about an in-joke at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) zoology department that became a tradition 50 years ago: national Jellyfish Mating Day (JMD).
Global ocean experts, including an academic from the University of Cape Town (UCT), have teamed up to map and assess the current and imminent environmental risks posed by climate change, natural disasters and human activities – and their effects on the Atlantic Ocean ecosystems.
The project, called Mission Atlantic, will also explore sustainable development of the Atlantic Ocean and is the first initiative of its kind to develop and systematically apply Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEAs) at the Atlantic basin scale.
For those who enjoy the fishy things in life – rods and reels, hooks, sinkers, floats and lures – lockdown has been a time of patient resignation (read frustration) for fisherpeople. But the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Dr Rob Little found a way to keep his fly-fishing wrists flexed. All it needed was a stretch of the imagination.
Computer science involves numerous fast-evolving fields, such as algorithm and software design, making it difficult for computer scientists to keep up with developments. But computer science is faced with another more pressing reality: it is overwhelmingly motivated by profit and does not focus nearly enough on human and values-driven innovation. For the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Professor Hussein Suleman, the response should be a return to the roots of the discipline and realigning computer science with societal needs. By removing the profit motive, he argued, computer scientists can provide increased value for society. Professor Suleman shared these views during his inaugural lecture on 30 September 2020.
It was while setting up sampling and measuring equipment on a bare peanut field near Bultfontein in the Free State in August 2018 that Associate Professor Frank Eckardt got caught in a rolling dust storm. It turned the world around him orange and opaque. It was just what he’d been hoping for.
South Africa’s higher education system needs to decolonise the discipline of geography. The establishment of the discipline, its histories, disclose its origins as “indubitably imperialist”. The discipline was part of a colonial project of cartography, exploration and knowledge.
Shari Daya recently reflected on the state of the discipline in a piece in the South African Journal of Science On shaky ground: A response to Long, D, Dalu, MS, Lembani, RL and Gunter, A (2019) Shifting sands: The decoloniality of geography and its curriculum in South Africa. She was interested to engage with existing debates on decolonisation to clarify some of the troublesome concepts and to suggest ways to move the process forward.
Human evolution in South Africa has a long hominin fossil history record dating back 3.6 million years, as well as a rich palaeontological record that includes the earliest dinosaurs. But only two of South Africa’s national languages are fully able to scientifically describe the richness of this history. But young black scientists are challenging this – and changing the colonial narrative.
Some of the world’s leading scientists representing universities in South Africa and the United Kingdom have joined forces. They will help under-resourced communities develop information and communication technology (ICT) interventions geared towards breaking down barriers and exploring solutions to some of South Africa’s critical maternal and child health (MCH) challenges.
The Co-designing Community-based ICTs Interventions for Maternal and Child Health (CoMaCH) network in South Africa is a cross-collaboration involving inter- and transdisciplinary research, led by Dr Nervo Verdezoto from the School of Computer Science and Informatics at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom (UK) and Dr Melissa Densmore, a senior lecturer in computer science at the University of Cape Town (UCT).
The British Ecological Society’s (BES) Marsh Award for Climate Change Research has been awarded to the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Professor Wendy Foden, an honorary resesarch associate at UCT's FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology and world-leading researcher in climate change vulnerability assessments of threatened species.
University of Cape Town (UCT) PhD students Precious Chiwara-Maenzanise and Rivoningo Khosa are undertaking groundbreaking work in the palaeosciences. As the Human Evolution Research Institute’s (HERI) inaugural 2020 Advancing Womxn fellows, they plan to make a mark for science and diversity in a field that is still too homogeneous.