Media Release Organisation Business segment Date of issue Working headline South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) Science/ General 08 February 2008 SA Science Lens winners announced On Friday, 08 February 2008, the winners of the fifth round of SAASTA’s SA Science Lens competition will be announced at a cocktail ceremony at the Johannesburg Observatory. The SA Science Lens is a unique competition in South Africa that encourages amateur and professional photographers to enter their attention-grabbing images that give insight into the world of science and technology and the working of nature. “This competition provides us with an opportunity to illustrate the excitement and impact of science in a very visual way,” says Beverley Damonse, Executive Director of SAASTA. “The competition encourages links between science and the arts with the aim to stimulate public interest in science. As the organiser of the competition, SAASTA – a business unit of the National Research Foundation - is committed to create enthusiasm and appreciation for science and its application in people’s everyday lives. SAASTA partnered with the British Council in this round of the competition and sponsorship in the form of cameras and printers for training and prizes was obtained from Canon SA. The winner in each of four open categories will receive a R10 000 cash prize and the runners-up R2 500 each. The overall winner will also be presented with a Canon EOS 400D digital SLR camera donated by Canon SA. Learners who won prizes in the I See S&T category will receive cameras and photo printers. The exciting and diverse images entered represent a wide range of science areas. Many techniques were used to capture them, from state-of-the-art electron microscopes to digital and standard cameras. The entrants came from varied backgrounds and the winners include professors, students, artists, photographers and researchers. “At SAASTA we were really excited about the growing interest and response to this competition. The 572 entries are many more than the number we had received in any of the previous rounds and the variety of subjects was staggering,” says Damonse. The judges for the competition were Dr Ben Durham of the Department of Science and Technology – a scientists with a keen interest in the arts; Kathryn Whittall of Canon SA; Tebogo Gule of the British Council; and Loretta Steyn, a designer and photographer. Winners In two of the four open categories there are new winning entrants this year. Simpon van Noort with his excellent close-up image of the thorax of the splendid cuckoo wasp is a first time entrant, winner of the Science Close-up category, as well as overall winner. Nico de Bruyn’s photo of an elephant seal was judged the one best illustrating science in action. Past winners who are receiving awards again this year are Claire Hoving, winner of the Science as Art category, and Brian Eksteen, winner of On My Plate category. For the category for young photographers, I See S&T, training courses were presented by the MTN ScienCentre in Cape Town and SciEnza Centre at the University of Pretoria. Learners attending the course could put their newly acquired skills with digital cameras to the test and enter their photos in the competition. Over 200 learners from disadvantaged communities where among those who attended the course and entered their images. The winner in this category is Simon Magongoa of Limpopo with his photo titled Wireless/Radio. The winners are: CATEGORY: SCIENCE IN ACTION Winner: Nico de Bruyn Title of image: Remote Science What it shows: An elephant seal fitted with a remote tracking and dive recording device on Marion Island. The island’s population of southern elephant seals has declined dramatically due to adult female and juveniles not surviving their circumstances. With the aid of remote tracking and diving recording devices, researchers can analyse, among other things, the movement of mothers and relate that to the growth of their pups. Runner-up: Hannes Pieterse Title of image: Comet McNaught What it shows: Comet Mc Naught with its tail spanning millions of kilometres in the western sky. The photo was taken 20 km west of Bloemfontein, away from the city lights. Runner-up: Gerry le Roux Title of image: The Biochemist What it shows: A biochemist looking at a DNA gel on a light table. The image of the gel is reflected in the researcher’s protective glasses. CATEGORY: SCIENCE AS ART Winner: Claire Hoving Title of image: Clover-leaf Intersection What it shows: A gravid female nematode worm (Nippostrongylus Brasiliensis) in a clover leaf formation, similar to what can be seen on the highways of the world. The worm’s hooked posterior end and eggs are also visible on the image. The photo was taken at the University of Cape Town’s Division of Immunology laboratories at the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine. Runner-up: Kim van Zyl Title of image: Mushroom Cloud What it shows: Smoke from a burning incense stick. A teaspoon was turned upside down above the incense stick to create turbulence in the rising, warm smoke. Runner-up: John Hobson Title of image: Spiral What it shows: The tail of a chameleon. Runner-up: Kim van Zyl Title of image: New Worlds What it shows: Drops of water falling from a kitchen tap. The colours are created by colourful objects placed approximately 30 cm behind the drops. CATEGORY: SCIENCE CLOSE-UP Winner & overall winner of the competition: Simon van Noort Title of image: Splendid cuckoo wasp What it shows: A close-up shot of the thorax of a splendid cuckoo wasp. Runner-up: Paul Herman Title of image: Prehistoric Fish? What it shows: The fruit (cypsela) of one of the outer florets of the daisy Dimorphotheca polyptera. With its projections, it looks almost like a prehistoric fish. The fruit was obtained from a specimen collected by W Giess and M Wolf in May 1970 in Namibia. The dried, preserved specimen is housed in the National Herbarium, Pretoria. Runner-up: Claire Hoving Title of image: Swan What it shows: The female nematode worm (Nippostrongylus brasiliensis) with eggs strategically placed allowing its metamorphosis into a swan! It was taken at the University of Cape Town’s Division of Immunology laboratories at the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine. Special Mention: Tony Bruton and Vijay Bandu Title of the image: Gecko Foot What it shows: The very fine setae under the foot of a Moreau's Tropical House Gecko Hemidactylus mabouia. There are millions of such setae under each foot of the gecko. The image shows how each seta is further divided into fine spatulae at its distal end. The spatulae allow a very close registration allowing the gecko’s static-based adhesion to any substrate. The setae are said to be 'self-cleaning'. In this image it can be seen how a single particle of dust is in the process of being removed from the footpad. ON MY PLATE Winner: Brian Eksteen Title of image: Walky-talkies on rice What it shows: A plate with rice, chicken heads and feet. Runner-up: Jacques Botha Title of image: Street vendor sandwich. What it shows: A hard-working man eating a sandwich he has just purchased from a street vendor. Runner-up: Nina Martin Title of image: Onion Rings What it shows: A healthy salad containing lettuce, tomato and onion, with only a hint of dressing. Runner-up: Sephatlho Moatatse Title of image: Student meal What it shows: A college student enjoying a break time meal. The image was taken at Edu-college in Pretoria. CATEGORY: I SEE S&T Winner: Simon Magongoa Title of image: Wireless / radio Runner-up: Kaylle Hayes Title of image: Die groot dinosuar What it shows: A friend photographed admiring a display at the MTN ScienCentre in Cape Town. Runner-up: Alicia Toumilovitch Title of image: I C View What it shows: Ice crystals that formed on the glass window of an aeroplane. Highly commended: Nicholas Santrucek Title: Bunsen Burner What it shows: A Bunsen burner used at school, burning iron shavings that look like sparks. The blue light is from the Bunsen burner. An exhibition of prints of the prize-winning and highly commended entries will be touring science centres across the country. “We believe the exhibition we are preparing of the winning entries will encourage ongoing discussion about science and increased participation in the competition,” concludes Damonse. For more information on the competition, visit the website: www.saasta.ac.za/sciencelens Sponsors of the SA Science Lens Competition Ends/ Issued by: Kgomotso Komati Corporate Communications and Media SAASTA Tel: 012 392 9364 Mobile: 083 7575 441 Email: Kgomotso@saasta.ac.za [Boilerplate] SAASTA is a business unit of the National Research Foundation (NFR) with the mandate to advance public awareness, appreciation and engagement of science, technology and engineering in South Africa. SAASTA aims to be the leading science advancement agency communicating the value and impact of science and technology in a dynamic knowledge economy, and simultaneously building the science, engineering and technology human resource base in South Africa. This is achieved using three strategies: 1. Science Education – building the supply of tomorrow’s scientists and innovators. 2. Science Communication - celebrate South African achievements in science and technology and build the public’s appreciation of the benefits of science. 3. Science Awareness – though exploration, exhibition and actual experience, people are enthused about the wonder and application of the subject while encourage greater public engagement in science, engineering and technology issues.