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Scifest Africa 2015: CSIR to demonstrate lasers and other technologies

Mar 17, 2015
Scifest Africa 2015: CSIR to demonstrate lasers and other technologies

Visitors to the 2015 Scifest Africa festival in Grahamstown, will have an opportunity to interact with great minds in the field of science and technology. Apart from experts from NASA, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will also be sharing their knowledge at the festival.

Since 2015 has been declared an International Year of Light by the United Nation, the National Laser Centre of the CSIR will conduct laser workshops and laser demonstrations. 

A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation.

Food and nutrition

The CSIR’s mandate is to conduct research that will have positive impact to the people of South Africa. One of those researches is around food and nutrition.  

The CSIR has investigated and identified nutrients in a number of indigenous and naturalised plants that are historically consumed by rural communities. However, some of the traditional knowledge is not backed by scientific supporting evidence to allow for educated promotional campaigning. 

The research done at the CSIR scientifically identifies key nutrients in the leafy vegetables that could go a long way in alleviating malnutrition.

At Sciefest, the CSIR will have an exhibition based on the Nutri-drink developed for pupils in rural schools. 

Malnutrition is common in the rural areas particularly among young children. Children aged 6 to 14 years are under-nourished and deficient in micro-nutrient especially Vitamin A, zinc and Iron. 

The exhibition will include board games for nutrition education and experiment on the properties of milk.


In health, the CSIR’s Aptamer research group will also be interacting with the young minds about their work. This group conducts multi-disciplinary research to analyse, prevent and diagnose intractable public health problems such as HIV/AIDS and TB. The group’s exhibition aims to create awareness on how to use protective clothing in the lab to work with HIV and TB organisms.

Also, two CSIR scientists, Thembisile Mahlangu and Natasha Botha, have made it to the finals of the national FameLab competition which aims to get scientists, engineers and technologists to present their work in layman’s term under three minutes. 

Mahlangu’s research is about the use of nanoparticles for bacteria detection in water while Botha’s one is focused on the use of the gait recognition for biometric authentication. 

The CSIR’s exhibition stand will be situated on the first floor at the 1820 Settler National Monument.