Three exceptional researchers, Drs John Ataguba, Andrew Hamilton and Deena Pillay, received Claude Leon Merit Awards for Young Scholars at a lunchtime event held in the Research Office recently.
Ataguba views the award as a spur for him to work even harder in his field of health economics. He is one of a few public health economists in South Africa and hopes winning the award will create more awareness of this field among students.
P-rated physicist Hamilton is one of the researchers participating in the now decade-long experiment to detect the elusive Higgs boson. He will use the award money to build a video-conferencing system to ensure better communication with collaborators at CERN (European Centre for Nuclear Research).
Pillay, a marine ecologist, intends to continue one of his passions: highlighting the importance of all species in ecosystems.
"Often people are unaware of how things are linked in an ecosystem. We've lost that contact with the natural world. A lot of times we have impacts on systems, but we're not aware of what these impacts can lead to. I'm hoping my research will take the information to the public to show them that there have been periods where we have been responsible for mass extinctions of species, which ultimately impact on us," said Pillay.
The Claude Leon Award recognises meritorious scholarly work by young academics (under 41 years) in natural and medical sciences, and engineering. Recipients get funding of up to R50 000, which must be spent within 12 months of receiving the award.
Story by Abigail Calata. Image by Raymond Botha.
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