By ZIMKITA LINYANA
In less than two weeks, the national science festival, Scifest Africa, will kick off live in Makhanda. It will be packed with exciting workshops, exhibitions, lectures, and Sci-Fun science shows from chemistry to robotics, maths, space science, and theatre.
The space science lineup includes guests from three continents: Europe, North America, and Africa. These include Bianca Rhym from NASA Kennedy Space Centre for an overview of the past, present, and near-future of fruitful international partnerships and shared success between the USA and South Africa in space communications.
Lorna Lewin from the UK National Space Academy who will bring an exciting workshop on ‘Life in Space’ where you can learn more about what it’s like to be an astronaut living on the International Space Station.
The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) will be presenting two fascinating workshops on space science – ‘Using Satellites to Enrich Life on Earth’ and ‘The Concept of Gravity in Our Solar System’, as well as an exhibition that speaks to the link between basic and space science.
Iziko Museum and Planetarium will present an interactive workshop on how our universe is observed using different tools and instruments. Unizulu Science Centre will present a head-spinning science show – from planets, and the moon, to pulsars: nature’s super spinners!
Nsikelelo A. Malinga will deliver a feast of fascinating facts and dynamic demonstrations, effortlessly blending space science and Indigenous Knowledge Systems. The SA Radio Astronomy Observatory will run workshops on radio telescopes, and on radio astronomy and geodesy (earth measurement). They will also bring an exciting exhibit on the SKA which will include hands-on astronomy projects and VR headsets!
Fulbright Specialist & New York City Actor Heather Massie will present her award-winning show ‘HEDY The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, a True Story of Hollywood Glamour & Scientific Genius’ followed by a Q&A with the artist.
Communicating science through theatre, the show celebrates the unexpected scientific genius of Hollywood screen siren and inventor Hedy Lamarr. Known for being glamorous, Lamarr defied expectations by inventing technology for torpedoes during WWII. Known as Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum Technology, her invention is used in today’s cell phones, WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth.
Massie enchants the audience as Hedy Lamarr, along with Jimmy Stewart, Bette Davis, Louis B Mayer, and more. Hedy is summoned to unearth the truth behind how a glamorous actress could create an invention which launched today’s wireless technology revolution.
Cape Town Science Centre will demystify the world of robotics and take a closer look at how robots are built and controlled using the novel REACH ROBOTICS.
Split Second Science Education Foundation will be bringing the J&J CanDo Robotics Workshop. This hands-on workshop will provide the basic skills needed to use the CanDo Cube (a state-of-the-art robotics platform) and challenge the learners with a real-world problem by asking them to create a possible solution that would work. The focus would not be on the solution’s viability but on the creative process.
FOSST Discovery Centre will exhibit Lego Robotics to familiarise learners with programming and engineering. You’ll also find several fundamental science experiment displays on robotics at the UNISA College of Science, Engineering and Technology exhibit.
Steve Sherman, Scifest’s often whacky host, and the Chief Imagination Officer of Living Maths, will edutain you with his wild and whacky maths show. Be prepared to amaze your friends and family with some cool maths tricks and you will probably fall in love with maths too! Steve travels the world to spread the joy of maths to people of all ages.
We wanted to end with a chemistry pun but all the good ones argon. There is plenty for the budding young chemist on offer at Scifest Africa 2022.
Learn more about the periodic table with a workshop from Herald Life Academy, matter from Shuter & Shooter Publishers; or how to preserve plants and animals from Natural Science Collections Facility (NSCF). And, of course, Stephen Ashworth, the Kitchen Chemist.
The full programme for Scifest Africa 2022 will soon be released on the Scifest website! A pdf download will be available shortly after.