Prof Daya Reddy elected first President of International Science Council
South Africa’s Professor Daya Reddy has been elected as the first President of the newly-formed International Science Council (ISC). The elections took place during the inaugural General Assembly in Paris, France on 5 July 2018. The ISC was formed following the merger of the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and the International Council for Science (ICSU). Prof Reddy previously held the position of President-elect of the ICSU since 2014. He is a recipient of the Order of Mapungubwe (Bronze), awarded by the President of South Africa for distinguished contributions to science. Another renowned SA scientist, Dr Saths Cooper, was elected to the cohort of Ordinary Members.
Members of the world’s leading international science bodies agreed in a historic vote in October 2017 to merge and create a unified organisation, whose vision will be to advance all sciences as a global public good. The agreement took place at a landmark joint meeting in Taipei of ICSU and the ISSC. The new ISC brings together the current members of ISSC and ICSU, including 40 international scientific unions and associations and more than 140 national and regional organisations such as academies and research councils. It offers representation across the natural (including physical, mathematical and life) and social (including behavioural and economic) sciences.
Ultra-sensitive MeerKAT telescope unveiled in Carnarvon
South Africa has unveiled the largest and most technically advanced radio telescope in the world in the Northern Cape town of Carnarvon. The telescope cost R3.2 billion to produce and is currently the world’s best hope for finding extraterrestrial life. It is part of the groundwork for the Square Kilometre Array project, which is projected to be the most advanced radio telescopy array ever created. Consisting of 64 dishes providing 2000 unique antenna pairs, MeerKAT can produce high-fidelity images by detecting extremely faint radio wavelengths.
Built and operated by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), and a decade in design and construction, the MeerKAT facility has already begun science operations. An image obtained by the telescope was unveiled during the event, revealing extraordinary detail in the region surrounding the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way, an object never viewed with such clarity before.
TUT Electrical Engineering Lab gets state-of-the-art test equipment
The Tshwane University of Technology’s (TUT) Electrical Engineering Department has recently undertaken a major refurbishment of their Electronic Engineering Laboratory. The newly configured laboratory is used by a total of roughly 450 Electronics 1, 2 and 3 and Design Project students, with 42 students accommodated per laboratory session for electrical measurement experiments and projects.
Probably the greatest value of the new equipment is the ability to globally manage and monitor students individually during lab sessions. Every instrument in the lab can be tracked while a student is performing set tasks. Instead of updating firmware for each instrument individually in preparation for each new class, this can now be done from the server using Tektronix SmartLAB software. The equipment was donated by local lab equipment specialists, Comtest.
Seeding Labs seeks applications for Instrumental Access programme
Seeding Labs, a US-based NGO, is seeking applicants for its Instrumental Access programme. Launched in 2003, the programme aims to make high quality laboratory equipment available to universities and research institutes in low- and middle-income countries. Through Instrumental Access, participants select items to meet their needs from Seeding Labs’ inventory of new and used equipment, glassware, and consumables. Selected items are then packed into a 20-foot shipping container and sent to the nearest or most convenient ocean port.
The fair market value of the items included in a shipments typically falls between $60,000 and $150,000 based on its value on the used goods market. The cost to purchase equivalent items new would usually be up to four times higher. In order to apply, you must be an academic department at a degree-granting institution of higher education or a university-affiliated or public research institute that is actively engaged in research training as well as research in a low- or middle-income country.
Participation in the programme is economical, but not free. Awardees must pay a fee that is adjusted to the income level of their country. Those from low-income countries pay $18.500, while lower-middle-income applicants pay $26.500 and upper-middle-income countries pay $33.500. Since its inception, Seeding Labs has shipped 184 tonnes of equipment to 62 universities and institutions around the world. To apply, visit their website at seedinglabs.org.