SciFest lights up in Grahamstown

by Mitchell Parker

This year, it’s the International Year of Light and  Grahamstown and Rhodes University are celebrating by making it the theme of this year’s  National Science Festival (or SciFest). Having started on 18 March, the festival is already well underway and many learners have already been dazzled by some of the exciting shows and exhibits available.

The festival has already lit up the community with talks featuring line-ups so chock full of PhDs that you would be mistaken for thinking you were sitting through a university graduation ceremony. More specifically, there has already been a great panel discussion about all things NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) featuring their very own Chief Scientist (who flew all the way from America just to be here!) Dr Ellen Stofan, Lead Project Scientist, Dr Claudia Alexander and Nobel Prize winner, Dr John Mather – among others.

But what is NASA without astronauts?

Ever wonder what it must be like to be in space? I sure have. Who better to ask than a woman who has been in space herself: Dr Catherine Coleman, who has been on the International Space Station. Or maybe, if being an astronaut isn’t your fancy, how about the people who drive the robot research vehicle Curiosity that is currently on Mars?

That is just the space stuff, though.

There are lectures on Quantum Physics, developing technologies that you can use in your home, workshops on climate change, laser shows, discussions about nanotechnology, lessons on the workings of a telescope and much, much, much more.

Check out all the details about what is happening on the SciFest website (here!) and be sure to get involved in what will no doubt be a thrilling few days of scientific learning.

The Festival ends on March 24 and most shows require booking, so plan ahead. 


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