SA scientist elected to US academy

30 May 2013

South African botanist William Bond from the University of Cape Town has been elected as a foreign associate of the independent United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of his achievements in original research.

Bond, from UCT’s Department of Biological Sciences, joins conservation biologist Richard Cowling from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth as the only two current South African foreign associates of the NAS, UCT announced last week.

The NAS is a non-profit society of distinguished scholars in their fields established by an Act of Congress by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 to advance research and knowledge in scientific fields.

It provides science and technology advice to members, who are elected to membership by their peers for contributions to research.

There are almost 2 200 members, of which 400 are foreign associates and 200 are Nobel Laureates.

Foreign associates are non-voting members of the Academy with citizenship outside the US. Bond is the fifth African scientist to be elected to the NAS.

Kenya’s Meave Leakey was the only other African to be elected as a foreign associate this year.

Leakey is an ecologist with a research interest in the processes that control large-scale vegetation; in particular, his research has looked at how wildfires shape global vegetation.

He is an A-rated researcher with South Africa’s National Research Foundation.

“African vegetation is particularly interesting and challenging to study because of the complex interplay between climate, fire, large mammal herbivores, people and increasing carbon dioxide, the hidden hand of global change,” Bond said.

SAinfo reporter