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UCT innovator on top-30 list for Africa


Professor Tania Douglas kicks off her TED talk with an image of what she calls an “equipment graveyard”, a “typical final resting place for useless medical equipment from hospitals in Africa”.

Most of the devices were imported, and in many cases unsuited to African conditions – because they need highly-trained staff to operate, maintain and repair them, or a constant electricity supply which might be unavailable, or simply because they weren’t designed to withstand high temperatures or humidity.

Inauguration of MeerLICHT Telescope

A new telescope has been inaugurated at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), near Sutherland, that will be an “eye of the MeerKAT radio array”, the country’s precursor to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

MeerLICHT, which means “more light” in Dutch, is an optical telescope that will simultaneously scan the Southern Skies together with MeerKAT. This creates a truly unique combination where astronomers will always be studying stars and galaxies in two parts of the spectrum at the same time.

“I am particularly humbled by the overwhelming support that I have received within the university community” – Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng on her appointment as UCT’s new VC.

Top spot for Phakeng

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, currently the deputy vice-chancellor for research and internationalisation at UCT, has been appointed by Council as the new vice-chancellor of the university with effect from 1 July 2018. Professor Phakeng will take over from Dr Max Price, who has held the position since 2008.

The UCT Council congratulated Professor Phakeng on reaching this milestone in her career.

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SALT helps study new nova 200 000 light years from Earth

A multinational group of astronomers has discovered what might be the brightest nova (a luminous stellar eruption) ever observed. This mighty eruption was first detected on 14 October 2016 by the MASTER-instrument in Argentina. Since then it has attracted the interests of astronomers around the world, who have pointed their ground-based and space telescopes in an attempt to understand the different aspects of the eruption.

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2017 Nobel Inspired lecture

On Monday, 02 October, the National Research Foundation in partnership with the Sweden Embassy in Pretoria held its annual Nobel Inspired Lecture at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) in Ga-Rankuwa, Pretoria.

This year’s lecture was delivered by Dr Gasnat Shaboodien, deputy director of the cardiovascular genetics unit at the University of Cape Town, on the ground-breaking research of the CDH2 gene that predisposes young people to cardiac arrest.

The NRF and ESRC collaborate to fund research on the role of technology in the future of higher education

How can universities level the field for students who come from highly diverse economic and social backgrounds, and who have different levels of experience in using technology?

The Unbundled University: Researching emerging models in an unequal landscape will look at the “unbundling” of higher education and ask if the traditional university – offering a single package for many aspects of the student experience including teaching, content and assessment – is still relevant.

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