Fantastic Discoveries at SciFest Africa

South Africa’s annual national science festival, SciFest Africa is set to take place from 16 to 22 April 2008 in beautiful and historic Grahamstown. SciFest Africa will feature more than 500 events including interactive exhibitions, workshops, lectures, educational theater, a soap box derby, field trips, laser shows, science Olympiads, high school quiz shows, tours, a hobbies fair and a FilmFest.

Since 1997, SciFest Africa (formerly known as Sasol SciFest) has been presenting science related topics in a manner that is educational and fun. Through demonstrating that the disciplines of science, technology, mathematics and engineering form the basis of our everyday activities, this high profile national event aims to break down the barriers that common misconceptions about the complexity of science have raised. Visitors are invited to “see science through different eyes” as stated on the SciFest promotional posters. Visitors will have plenty of opportunity to interact with science in a relaxed and colorful environment. Students will discover just how exciting and far-reaching science and scientific principles can be.

SciFest Africa also provides a platform for South African scientists, along with leading scientists from other parts of the world, to share their work, give career guidance, and act as role models to budding scientists in South Africa. Topics that will be presented cover a wide range of interests, including how mobile and wireless technology affects us culturally, agricultural research on high-productivity grains which are adapted to West Africa’s growing conditions, virtual storytelling and the benefits of presenting stories in a digital format, and much more.

Science shows will include a magician and science teacher from the University of New York who will keep audiences spellbound with his methods of teaching science. Visitors can participate in a variety of mathematic brain teasers which will demonstrate that, contrary to popular belief, maths is not that difficult. A Swedish scientist will unravel the mystery of polymers using cornflour, nappies, yoghurt tubs and other materials.

The United Nations has declared 2008 to be the International Year of Planet Earth. With this in mind, ways of combating the current damage that is being inflicted on Earth’s environment is one of the dominant themes of SciFest Africa. The effects of current global warming and what this means for the future will be highlighted, as well as what individuals can do every day in their schools, workplaces and homes to minimize the damage being done.

SciFest Africa attracted more than 45,000 visitors in 2007 and organizers are confident that SciFest Africa 2008 will be even more of a success. Everyone in the family, from the youngest to the most mature, will find something at SciFest to pique their interest. Entrance is free and the cost of most workshops, lectures and other events is R8.00. So wherever you may be in South Africa, get to Grahamstown in April and enjoy this exciting event.