A chance to find out about the activities hosted by the different RSC Networks. From the 35 Local Sections and 75 Interest Groups to RSC Reps and International Sections, this blog should give you a taster of the 500 events organised each year by the various RSC Networks for both RSC members and the public. If you've recently held an RSC event and would like to contribute to the blog, email: networks@rsc.org.

RSC President's Award

The South Africa Section (North) is comprised of a relatively small number of highly committed individuals who work with some of the poorest communities in Africa in not only promoting Chemistry as a subject, but helping to educate underprivileged children to gain qualifications in the Chemicals Sciences.
Through a unique symbiotic relationship with the Sci-Bono Centre in Johannesburg (the major Science Museum in Southern Africa), they are making sure that every penny of their annual budget  is precisely targeted towards high priority educational needs.
The Local Section has also played a unique role in facilitating the interaction between the RSC and SACI, the South African Chemical Institute and this year the South Africa - North Section has been awarded an RSC President's Award for their contribution towards the advancement of the chemical sciences.
During 2011 the South Africa North section continued with many of its well-established projects as well as undertaking some new ones, with activities at an increased level from previous years.

The year started with probably the first event of the International Year of Chemistry, SACI2011. This international conference, held at Wits University, attracted close to 500 participants from all around the world.  This gave us the chance to proudly show off the Emasondosondo Chemistry Bus.  The conference was also attended by the Presidents of IUPAC and the American Chemical Society indicating the magnitude of the event.

There was a series of monthly public lectures throughout the year, in keeping with the International Year of Chemistry. The topic was Marie Curie since it was also the 100th anniversary of her receiving her first Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Professor Ewa Cukrowska, from Wits University, who herself is Polish, presented a fascinating lecture which was well-received.

The Sci Bono Centre embraced the International Year of chemistry and held its own launch on 19th April.  Over 200 primary and secondary school children were treated to a morning of chemistry demonstrations on subjects including household chemicals, the periodic table and the global water experiment.

Tim Harrison gave lectures to over 2000 students during National Science Week in August and the donation of an additional 100 copies of Access to Chemistry for distribution to local schools.

The periodic table project was completed; the information blocks have now been completed for all the elements. Progress was also made in obtaining the periodic table videos and the project to install these on a monitor adjacent to the periodic table (phase 2) should be completed early in 2012. This will be followed by an official opening although the periodic table is already in daily use at the Sci Bono centre.

A new project which was undertaken in 2011 was a request to support a specific school, Seabe High School in Mpumalanga, for an International Year of Chemistry project.  Students were asked to design a poster, build a model or write an essay on some aspect of Chemistry.  The project was a great success and it is hoped to repeat this again in 2012.

Two regular projects are the Eskom Science Expo and the SACI Young Chemists symposium.  The 2011 SACI Young Chemists symposium, at which MSc and PhD students present their work to their peers was held at the Vaal University of Technology. It was combined with the Nanotechnology Young Researchers Symposium.
Over the past few years, the local section has donated RSC books to the libraries or resource rooms of the various Chemistry Departments of universities within its area. This year it was the turn of Venda University and the University of Limpopo to benefit from this project.

Another donation, this time directly linked to the International Year of Chemistry was that of 21 water testing kits to local Gauteng schools. This was done through Radmaste who produce the kits. Once again the section sponsored attendance by students to a local conference. This year students were sponsored to attend the second South Africa Young Scientists conference which was held in Pretoria in September.   Appropriately for the International Year of Chemistry the theme for the conference was “Changing Lives through Chemistry”.

Already the Section has plans to initiate activities in Kwa Zulu Natal thanks to Ross Robinson. They will also be pushing to have a regular a programme of “whizz bang lectures” at Sci Bono throughout the year.  They plan to continue their cooperation with Sci Bono in other areas especially in trying to increase the number of Chemistry exhibits at the centre as well as continuing to run regular activities which have developed over the past few years.

Posted by Sarah Hobbs on Aug 10, 2012 11:37 AM Europe/London

Share this |

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linked More...

Leave a comment?

You must be signed in to leave a comment on MyRSC blogs.

Register free for an account at http://my.rsc.org/registration.