Two PhD students under the supervision of Associate Professor Tim Egan in the Department of Chemistry have completed a hat trick by winning poster prizes at three successive South African Chemical Institute conferences.
The hat trick was recently completed when Tebogo Mabotha won first prize at Inorganic 2005, the biennial National Inorganic Chemistry Conference held in Pietermaritzburg from April 10-13. Mabotha also won the poster prize in the inorganic chemistry section at the South African Chemical Institute National Convention in July 2004 in Pretoria.
In turn, Kanyile Ncokazi won first prize at Inorganic 2003.
The group's success in preparing prize-winning posters began some years earlier when then PhD student Winile Mavuso won first prize at the 5th International Symposium on Applied Bioinorganic Chemistry, held in Corfu, Greece, in April 1999.
A scientific poster is an important means of presenting results in a succinct way at conferences. It also allows for participation by a larger group of people than would be possible with only oral communication. This permits young scientists, including postgraduate students, to participate.
Poster prizes are standard features of scientific conferences. Posters are usually judged on a combination of layout, scientific excellence and general interest of the work.
At the local conferences of the South African Chemical Institute at which Mabotha and Ncokazi were winners, the core of the judging panels have been provided by the international plenary lecturers present at the conference. The posters competed against more than 50 others presented by researchers from universities all over South Africa.
Mabotha is the holder of an equity development PhD scholarship in the Department of Chemistry. She is currently on a two-month visit to the Institute of Microbiology at the University of Milan, Italy, where she is continuing her investigations on iron chemistry in malaria parasites. Ncokazi has just completed and submitted his PhD thesis. Mavuso - Dr Mavuso these days - is currently a scientific officer in the Department of Chemistry at UCT.
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