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Faculty of Science

10 Bay schools celebrate maths and science success 

LEARNERS from 10 under-resourced schools in Nelson Mandela Bay are celebrating improved results in maths and science, thanks to a technology-linked maths and science support programme, run by the Telkom Foundation in partnership with Nelson Mandela University.

Each of the 10 schools have also received a resource centre, with sponsored desktop computers.

“Our aim is to nurture learners who show potential, and enable them to access higher education – and succeed at their studies.  At the same time, we are helping teachers to deliver the mathematics and science curricula more effectively,” said Olivier.

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Congratulations to Professor Kerley Graham of Zoology department for being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa.

About the Society:
The Royal Society of South Africa, founded in 1908, is an independent, interdisciplinary organisation that aims to further all branches of science in South Africa. Fellows and Members occupy senior positions in universities, research agencies and industry.

Nelson Mandela University’s Faculty of  Science congratulates the LIGO and Virgo scientific collaborations on their detection of gravitational waves from two merging neutron stars. 

LIGO media release: 11 Oct 2017 - Scientists representing LIGO, Virgo, and some 70 observatories will reveal new details and discoveries made in the ongoing search for gravitational waves. This will take place on Monday, October 16th, at 10:00am EDT at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Public lecture by Dr Lorien Pichegru

Eco-tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, generating jobs and economic opportunities world-wide. However, the added pollution pressure on already fragile environments and direct disturbance of wildlife through close encounters requested by tourists for emotional satisfaction, can be destructive to the systems visited.

Professor Paul Fatti has been invited by the Nelson Mandela University Department of Statistics to give a public lecture for the Pre-launch of National Science Week. Refreshments will be provided after the lecture.

Title: Statistical modelling for practical problems

Today marks one month to the launch of the 2017 National Science Week (NSW), and the countdown to the countrywide celebration of science has begun.


Speech by Minister of Science and Technology Introducing the Science and Technology Budget Vote, 16 May 2017, Naledi Pandor MP

Nelson Mandela University’s Science Faculty is set to paint Limpopo’s Vhembe District green next week as it embarks on a massive marketing drive in the area in a bid to attract some of South Africa’s cream of the academic crop. 

The University team, led by NMMU’s Dean of the Science Faculty, Prof Azwinndini Muronga, and the University’s student recruitment team will spend next week in the region; first taking part in the Science Beyond Borders Exhibition in Thohoyandou at which about 5000 pupils are expected to attend.

Dr Tim Pittaway, a lecturer at the Department of Agriculture and Game Ranch Management, attended an International Training Programme in China; where he had an opportunity to present on South African agriculture technology and food security.

If you’re reading this, there is probably something about Geology that interests you; or perhaps you thought “Strike and Dip” were the latest in martial arts tactics and wanted to read on. In this case you’re unfortunately on the wrong page but you’re encouraged to linger here a while – of course, to a geologist that could be anything from a minute to an epoch. Or, perhaps you enjoy the tendency of geologists to make a pun out of everything, from their faults to their failures, and you’d like to see how many come up on this page. In any event, this article is about the most recent 3rd year/Honours Geology field trip to Steytlerville and Kirkwood (27 Aug – 01 Sept 2016).

The Faculty of Science 2016 Academic Completion Plan is well on track. 
A new Research and Development (R&D) laboratory has been opened in Port Elizabeth. The lab whose main aim is to provide a wide arrange of assistance to small businesses is part of the Small Enterprise Development Agency’s (SEDA) Nelson Mandela Bay ICT Incubator (SNII) project. One of the needs the lab aims to address, is assisting small businesses who have commercial ideas that require development but don’t have the expertise to do so themselves and cannot afford to pay for the development of the software.

Following fieldwork conducted on the Iberian Peninsula in the northern hemisphere summer of 2015, a newly recorded natural hybrid was named in honour of Dr Estrela Figueiredo.

Matthew Coombes who graduated in April with his Doctoral degree in physics from NMMU. According to his promoter, Prof. Jannie Neethling, he obtained all his previous degrees in physics and chemistry from Rhodes University with distinction.

Prof Ernst Ferg was an invited speaker at the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) ILAB 2015 Europe workshop that was held in Wurzburg Germany at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Research (ISC) from the 15th to 17th of April 2015. The title of the workshop was “Innovation in Lead-Acid Batteries, Europe”, and it was attended by over 60 attendees from various industries and institutes from Europe and the USA. The various speakers (about 20) ranged from battery researchers, manufacturers and automotive producers. The focus of the workshop was to consider the future of the Pb-acid battery as a suitable energy storage battery in the midst of the various competing technologies such as Li-ion and Al-ion rechargeable batteries.

Kenyan-born Enoch Kirwa Rotich Kipnoo, 30, is the first NMMU science doctoral graduate to focus his thesis on the cutting-edge Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.

The SKA will be the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope. It will be used by scientists to help us understand how the universe evolved. Kipnoo hails from Eldoret, in the western part of Kenya. “The area is well known for its rich soil, producing good crops, as well as many great athletes. It’s fondly known as the home of champions. So if science didn’t work out, I could have become an athlete,” he says.

Close on a hundred guests attended a lunchtime public lecture presented by Prof Dirk Roux on the critical matter of freshwater resources and the protection thereof at the NMMU George Campus on 7 April. Afterwards some of the attendees pursued the discussions over a cup of tea, and joined NMMU and Prof Roux for a group photograph at the entrance to the lecture theatre.

People worldwide will have to become more active in protecting the planet’s freshwater resources – a matter which is particularly relevant in the context of the scarcity of surface freshwater.


About 5 years ago Agricultural Students from North Campus started a vegetable garden. Dr Tim Pittaway, a lecturer in the Agriculture and Game Ranch Management Department at NMMU, has been overseeing the garden that now provides more than just a place for students to complete part of their Plant Production course; they also provide a substantial amount of vegetables to the Campus Clinic.

A 10% growth in graduates at both postgraduate and undergraduate level, accompanied by a 44% increase (compared to 2014) in the number of qualifications gained with distinction, called for an air of excitement during the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s autumn graduation in George on 10 April.


“Respect for diversity.

Excellence. Ubuntu. Integrity.

 Respect for the natural environment.

Taking responsibility.”

These are the values that both Michael and Deon Beauzec posses. It’s also these values that saw Deon achieve an average Matric mark of 85.1%, while his brother was nipping at his heels with 83.5%. Deon and Michael are now enrolled at NMMU studying towards a BSc in Chemistry in the hope of breaking into the medical field as soon as they have completed their degree.

It’s been no easy task for the two Otto du Plessis matriculants, who recently had to move to a small holding at Little Chelsea with extended family members. A spate of financial difficulties, due to unforseen circumstances, have forced the boys to take responsibility for their futures. Fortunately, Deon received the VC Scholarship for his average of 85.1%. The scholarship, to the tune of R82 782, is enough to pay for his and his brother’s studies with some money left over for textbooks.

Professor Tim Gibbon shares his expertise on the newly formed Centre For Broadband Communication.


Whales, sea turtles, penguins and sharks are constantly on the move in the global village that is the ocean. To help conserve these and other species, scientists worldwide are using the latest animal-tracking technologies to determine exactly where they go, why, and how best to target conservation actions on an international level.

Prof Andrew Leitch proposes a toast to Prof Ben Zeelie and the InnoVenton Team on the occasion of their 10th Anniversary Celebrations.

InnoVenton, the NMMU Institute for Chemical Technology and Downstream Chemicals Technology Station recently celebrated their 10th anniversary within the institution.

Prof Carl Folke of Stockholm University and Prof Dirk Roux, SANParks scientist and SRU Research Associate, enjoying one of the Garden Route’s magical forests at Hoekwil near Wilderness. Prof Folke was recently a Visiting Scientist in the Sustainability Research Unit located at the NMMU George Campus.

During October 2014 the Sustainability Research Unit at NMMU’s George Campus had the pleasure of hosting world renowned sustainability scientist, Prof Carl Folke, Founder and Science Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University and the Director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

One of South Africa’s most influential ICT leaders, Prof Andile Ngcaba, has recently been announced as an Adjunct Professor at NMMU. His extensive knowledge and involvement within the South African ICT sector, as well as his passion for “multi-disciplinary topics related to the internet” will be of great benefit to NMMU says NMMU Head of Computing Sciences, Prof Greyling.

On Thursday, March the 26th 2015, the Science Students’ Association held its first Annual Opening Function/Launch at Madibaz restaurant, South Campus. Although the function was held in a time of paramount academic pressure, over 60 students from different Departments in the Faculty attended.

From left, newly appointed DVC: Teaching and Learning Prof Denise Zinn, Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz, Chair of Council Judge Ronnie Pillay and newly appointed DVC: Research and Engagement Prof Andrew Leitch.

Professors Andrew Leitch, former Executive Dean of Science, and Denise Zinn, former Executive Dean of Education, have been appointed as Deputy Vice-Chancellors at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University as from 1 December 2014.

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