From bees to protons to galaxies, Faculty of Science event inspires curiosity

On Nov. 7, the Faculty of Science hosted a learning and networking event dubbed “Science Unplugged” for its researchers, staff and students.

The Science Unplugged event attracted a capacity crowd

Science Unplugged is an event series that features diverse and quirky presentations by members of the Faculty. Held at the Convention Centre in the Second Student Centre, the event attracted some 60 attendees.

B.D. Colen

Faculty of Science Dean Esaias Janse van Rensburg kicked off the event with a welcome and introduction of Science Communicator in Residence B.D. Colen, who headlined the event with a talk about his coverage of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. Colen spoke about the importance of listening to and considering different scientific perspectives when covering a topic.

Colen also served as the event’s master of ceremonies, introducing the remaining line-up of speakers: biology Professor Sandra Rehan, physics and astronomy Professor Eric Hessels and astronomy student Sunna Withers.

In a presentation titled “The Bees’ Needs: Diversity, Decline and Sustainability,” Rehan spoke about her current research projects on wild bees. Rehan’s work focuses on sustaining native bee populations through a combination of landscape ecology and comparative genomic and sociodemographic approaches.

Astronomy student Sunna Withers

Hessels presented “How Big is a Proton?,” summarizing his team’s precise measurement of the radius of a proton. The measurement, which published in Science earlier this year, took eight years to make and solved a decade-old puzzle.

Withers explained how she uses the new one-metre telescope at the Allan I. Carswell Observatory to take stunning images of the night sky in a presentation titled “From Planets to Galaxies: Observing the Universe.”

After the presentations, everyone had the opportunity to mix and mingle over refreshments.