South Africa’s CSIR displayed advancements at Scifest

10 March 2016

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) showcased its work at the 20th annual national science festival, Scifest, which took place from 2 to 8 March at the 1820 Settler National Monument in Grahamstown.

The festival aims to promote public awareness, understanding and appreciation of science, technology and innovation (STI).

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor attended the opening. “The main purpose of Scifest is to introduce young people to the exciting world of science and technology and to encourage them to choose to be part of this community of science and innovation,” she said.

CSIR at Scifest

“The CSIR always participates at Scifest because we believe in making a difference and improving the lives of ordinary South Africans and contributing towards a competitive economy using science and technology,” said Tendani Tsedu, CSIR media relations manager.

“To be able to do this, highly skilled people are required, which is why we are always looking for bright, passionate people to join our organisation.”

He said Scifest provided the perfect platform to be able to interact with youngsters to entice them into a career in science.

The organisation participated in six workshops:

  • Biopharming: Biopharming is the use of genetic engineering to insert genes that code the useful pharmaceuticals into host animals or plants. This is done in order to produce large quantities of the useful pharmaceutical such as antibodies or vaccines over a short period of time and at very little cost.

 

  • Inundu pods: Inundu (moth) is an airborne electronics test, evaluation and training pod for missile and radar programmes as well as electronic warfare training.

 

See how the pods work:

 

  • Radar: Radar is an object-detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle or velocity of objects. The CSIR provides contract research, technology development, operational testing and evaluation support, acquisition support, performance requirement studies and expert consultation in the field.

 

 

  • Sensors: Nanomaterials that can ultimately be used in an array of sensors, such as gas sensors, which could greatly improve the safety of miners through a gas leak early warning signal.

 

 

  • MultiCAM: MultiCAM is a state-of-the-art multi-spectral imaging system that can detect and visualise UV discharges and infrared thermal gradients to expose electrical faults, and then overlay the images to give the user a comprehensive picture of the state of high-voltage equipment and installations.

 

 

  • Polymer nano-composites: New and advanced materials can be developed through the incorporation of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology in polymer science is used to improve the mechanical properties of plastics with a particular focus on the beneficiation of South African nanoclays.

 

The think-tank also provided attendees with information about bursary applications and internship programmes.

Building a great country

Pandor implored schools to initiate science activities that would help learners do well in maths and science.

“You, the learners present here, have time to work hard and to succeed in science technology and engineering,” she said. “You live in a time in which there are immense possibilities for all young people. I hope you will use the festival to learn about science careers and to think about contributing to building a great South Africa.”

SouthAfrica.info reporter