The mandate of the Academy encompasses all fields of scientific enquiry and it includes the full diversity of South Africa’s distinguished scientists. The Parliament of South Africa passed the Academy of Science of South Africa Act (Act 67 of 2001), as amended, which came into operation in May 2002. In celebration of this mandate, ASSAf has published a number of books.
The first cases of a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) were identified toward the end of 2019 in Wuhan, China. Over the following months, this virus spread to everywhere in the world. By now no country has been spared the devastation from the loss of lives from the disease (Covid-19) and the economic and social impacts of responses to mitigate the impact of the virus. Our lives in South Africa have been turned upside down as we try to make the best of this bad situation. The 2020 school year was disrupted with closure and then reopening in a phased approach, as stipulated by the Department of Education. Essential facts about Covid-19: the disease, the responses, and an uncertain future. For South African learners, teachers, and the general public is a collective effort by academics who are Members of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and other invited scholars to help you appreciate some of the basic scientific facts that you need to know in order to understand the present crisis and the various options available to respond to it.
After the overwhelming success of Legends of South African Science, published in 2017 as part of the 20 year celebrations of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), this edition of Legends of South African Science II continues with profiling Members who were elected between 1993 – 2000.
One of the strengths of a national Academy is the disciplinary diversity of its Membership. Collectively, the narratives of the Members profiled in this edition represent the apex of academic excellence and scholarship. All these Members have used their formal academic training in their specific fields and demonstrated how, through engagement with scholars in other fields, both locally and internationally, contributed to them becoming champions and leaders in advancing knowledge.
Legends of South African Science introduces Academy Members who rank among the top achievers in the country. Legends profiles ASSAf Members who have received some of South Africa’s top awards, viz. the ASSAf Science-for-Society Gold Medal, National Orders of Mapungubwe and Baobab bestowed by the President, or the Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship.
Among the 54 Members featured in the book are a biologist and Nobel Laureate who helped decode DNA; an epidemiologist recognised for groundbreaking research on HIV prevention in women; a social scientist who nudged and cajoled into place the campaign to understand and contain HIV/AIDS in South Africa; a leading mathematics education proponent; a human geneticist whose work helped to clarify the origins of indigenous groups in Africa; one of the world’s leading theorists in cosmology; and a leading immunologist and physician who pioneered higher education transformation in South Africa, in sometimes controversial ways.
In Pursuit of Excellence recounts the 20 years of ASSAf’s existence since the early 1990s when trailblazers in academia gave of their time and energy to realise a dream of establishing a fully representative, national academy of science to guide the democratic South Africa into a promising new era.
The State of Science in South Africa takes a retrospective view of science and its development in South Africa. In most of the disciplinary chapters, an historical context is provided and emphasis is given to past major scientific achievements.
The book concludes with views of some of the younger scientists in the country, many of whom are destined to become the future leaders of South Africa.
NEW! Copies of the book The State of Science in South Africa, published by the Academy in 2009, are now available as print-on-demand publications. These may be ordered from Patsy Scholtz at firstname.lastname@example.org at a cost of R195.00 per copy.