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Researchers bring science to CT residents

A section of the V&A Waterfront’s Pier Head was turned into a space where researchers got to share their work with the public.

Dr Michelle Lochner at the Soapbox Science initiative in Cape Town. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The inaugural Soapbox Science initiative was held at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront this weekend where women scientists got to educate the public on what it is they actually do.

Organisers said 60 scientists applied to present their work but only 12 made the cut and were invited to participate.

A section of the V&A Waterfront’s Pier Head was turned into a space where researchers got to share their work with the public.

The initiative started in 2011 as a once-off event in London aiming to take “science to the streets” for people to interrogate and get to know more about women in science.

Standing on a wooden box, UCT lecturer and marine biologist Dr Natasha Karenye gave insight into what her job entails.

“What lies beneath the waves... small players on a very large stage. It’s about how we work on very small organisms that helps us understand how the huge ocean functions”

Cardiovascular physiologist at the North-West University, Edith Phalane, discussed her research on the effects of certain HIV medication on heart health.

“We go to the hospital and advise them on how to live a healthy lifestyle and if the medication is really affecting their lipid profile or their heart, they then consult with their doctors so they can change them with something that works better.”

Wits University physicist Harshna Jivan explained more about the characteristics of the atomic nucleus, while Dr Michelle Lochner spoke about the use of artificial intelligence in astronomy.