News in brief

31 October 2011

Finnish visit

Possible collaborations between UCT and Finnish researchers received another boost when representatives from the Academy of Finland visited UCT in October. Fresh from signing a Memorandum of Understanding with its South Africa counterpart, the National Research Foundation, on 4 October, the four-member delegation from the academy, a leading source of competitive research funding in Finland, made a brief stop at UCT. The Finnish delegation was particularly interested in areas of existing Finnish research connections, such as learning and education, law, computing and biomedicine.

UCT and Japan in sea algae project

Prof John Bolton of UCT's Department of Botany is co-leading a South Africa/Japan project that links scientists from the two countries for a study of the evolution of marine algae. Titled Biodiversity and Evolution of Algae in the Indo-Pacific: A Japan/South Africa comparison, the project is funded by South Africa's National Research Foundation and the Japan Science and Technology Agency, and will study both microscopic algae (phytoplankton) and large algae (seaweeds). The project will involve a series of collecting trips, workshops and conferences in the two countries over the next three years. The first workshop and field trip was held in KwaZulu-Natal recently.

Crystal clear

Prof Leonard Barbour, a graduate from UCT's Faculty of Science, delivered the faculty's Distinguished Alumni Lecture in September, taking alumni, staff and students on a whirlwind tour of crystals and crystallography. His talk, titled The Secret Life of Crystals, ran the gamut of crystallography, from the ancient Romans' take on crystals ("it's ice"), to the discovery of the hexagonal symmetry of snowflakes.

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