Tribute by The National Research Foundation to the Late Dr Daniel Adams

Tribute by The National Research Foundation to the Late Dr Daniel Adams

The passing of a close colleague, friend or family member seems always to be untimely, unexpected, tragic even, and hearing about the passing of Dr Danny Adams is a combination of all of these. At the NRF we consider the staff of the Department of Science & Innovation with whom we work regularly as colleagues. We considered Danny as more than a colleague and almost as a member of our family. That is how closely tied and associated he was with critical projects, programmes and initiatives implemented by the NRF. This was especially so for those of us working in research infrastructure, facilities and associated human capacity development programmes. We were beginning to make peace with his retirement, but his passing caught us by tragic surprise.

In innumerable ways, Danny was a colleague and friend of many in the NRF. He spent a number of years as a student at iThemba LABS, one of the NRF’s National Research Facilities. He was a seminal contributor to the research infrastructure space as well as the related scientific space. Most major research infrastructure projects, equipment, and related strategic initiatives, many hosted by the NRF, bear what a colleague referred to as “his blessed fingerprints. Danny was an inspiration to many and a leader respected by all who worked with him. Even when he disagreed with you (and, yes, we did get many “Nos” from Danny), he did so respectfully and with gentleness. A salt of the earth guy.

He spearheaded and led many initiatives that are pivotal to the National System of Innovation including national programmes such as SA-CERN, SA-JINR, NTembi, NumeRI, and the flagship research infrastructure initiative, the SA Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR). This also includes several global research bilateral, trilaterals and multilaterals between SA and other countries and international research organisations. To illustrate this more pointedly, we share below words of tribute from one of the many SARIR projects hosted by the NRF, the South African Polar Research Infrastructure (or SAPRI).

Danny Adams has left a legacy with the research infrastructure programmes. This is evident in all of the successful research infrastructures that are up and running and the far-reaching impact they are having. His vision for the RI’s never faltered and he persisted and supported them until their potentials were reached. Danny had incredible insight and the ability to bring out the best in people and projects, whilst maintaining a sense of humour and humility. Danny’s wisdom, support, and approachable manner touched the lives of all of us working with him. This is the quote we wrote in the book that we gave him for SAPRI: “Give me Scott for scientific method, Amundsen for speed and efficiency, when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton, but to fund all of their required infrastructure, give me Adams”

The NRF sends its sincerest and deepest, heartfelt condolences to Danny’s family, friends and colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Be sure to know that God is closer to the broken-hearted and He will provide you with comfort and hope and soothe the deep pain you are experiencing as a family. Thank you and God bless.

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