Pretoria, 28 April 2011 – The French Embassy, committed to ensuring the creative future of science, is participating in Scifest Africa – South Africa’s National Science Festival which is scheduled to take place in Grahamstown from 4-10 May 2011. “Creative science” is vital for sustained enhancement to the quality of people’s lives. Research in science, technology and innovation (S&T) contributes to solving some of the most distressing global problems that humanity are faced with today – especially in the fields of food security, clean water, health, energy and climate change.
Launched in 1997, with the objective of promoting scientific culture among the youth, Scifest Africa was the first festival of its kind on the African continent. The ultimate aim of the festival is to make science accessible to “ordinary people” by allowing them the opportunity to discover science in a safe, fun and stimulating environment. This year, under the broad theme of “Science across Cultures”, Scifest will highlight the importance of S&T in our daily lives by addressing questions about the similarities and the differences between human beings, the universality of science, the contribution of different cultures to S&T and the importance of indigenous knowledge systems. By facilitating public engagement in and awareness of science, Scifest promotes the appeal of science, technology, engineering and mathematics as viable and rewarding career paths among the innovators of tomorrow. France will reinforce its dedication to assisting the South African government in their efforts to transform South Africa into a knowledge-based society by sponsoring three events at Scifest 2011. These events are presented in the spirit of the practical, “hands-on” French approach to science.
Dates : 4-8, 10 May 2011
Time : 09h30 – 12h00
French engineering expert, Christophe Scicluna, returns to South Africa to present a series of workshops on micro-rockets and will assist participants in building and launching their very own micro-rockets. “Dream about travelling to space, build your completely original micro-rocket… and watch it soar” !
Afrobot 2011 Robotics Tournament
Date : 7 May 2011
Afrobot is an amateur robotics tournament that offers learners the opportunity to gain knowledge about electronics, demonstrate creativity and innovativeness develop technical skills and strengthen their capacity to strategise. Participating teams are required to make use of basic electronic components and everyday, household materials to build their robot, thereby ensuring that the tournament is accessible to everyone. Leading up to the actual tournament, the French Embassy will be hosting daily workshops which will allow learners to test and improve their robots.
Lecture on Computer reconstructions of virtual fossils
Date : 9 May 2011
Time : 18h30 – 19h30
The lecture will address real questions about our ancestors from South Africa and France by exploring modern techniques employed by scientists to better understand the processes underlying morphological changes during human evolution. Microcomputed tomography (or synchrotron imaging) of fossil teeth and bones, is proving highly effective in answering the question “What makes us human” ?, by allowing us to reconstruct the way different species adapted to changing environmental conditions in Africa about 2 million years ago. The lecture will be presented by Professor José Braga from the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France. Prof Braga studies the fossils of our ancestors from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Gauteng.
For more information about Scifest Africa 2011, and to register for the events presented at the festival, please visit the official website :
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