Tag Archives: science

UN Secretary-General to African girl coders: It needs a movement of girls to bring more women in science and techno…

Monday, February 11, 2019

Hanna Wassihun and UN Secretary-General António Guterres disscuss the African Girls Can Code. Photo: UN Women/Kennedy Okoth

When Rebecca Azanaw got the news that she would get to meet the Secretary-General of the United Nations, nothing could keep her away from the opportunity, not even crunch time at school as the 17-year-old was preparing for her semester exams.

Azanaw was among more than 80 girls who participated in the first coding camp as part of the African Girls Can Code Initiative in September 2018. On 9 February, she and 10 other girls from the programme met with UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to…

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Rise in size of African families may be tied to less schooling | Science

Sending Africa’s girls to school can help slow population growth many years later, a new study suggests.

Olivier Asselin/Alamy Stock Photo

Women deprived of an education in sub-Saharan Africa in the 1980s went on to have as many or more children than previous, more educated generations, halting a trend toward smaller families, a study published today suggests. The findings may help explain why Africa’s population has grown at an even more concerning rate than was once expected and, its authors say,…

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Initiative Aims to Limit Excessive Red Tape for African Science

For every grant his university won, Robin Drennan had to perform due diligence exercises—responding to a dozen queries from worried funders and certifying that the grant money won’t go to waste before it was released.

“In practice, it’s answering 500 questions,” he says. “Do you have a policy on corruption? Do you have a policy on nepotism, let me see it? Who are your board members?”

Each procedure was slightly different from the last and the requirements seemed to be ever-changing, he says.

“I got the sense that each party wanted to outdo the others with the biggest and best ‘due diligence’ exercise,” Drennan, the director of research development at Witwatersrand University in South Africa, tells The Scientist.

Drennan’s routine reflects a bureaucratic burden regularly…

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The challenge for African science

Panellists at the 2019 IBRO-SIMONS Computational Neuroscience Imbizo (isiCNI2019) debated and discussed the challenges faced by African scientists and science scholars, as well as the significant contributions Africa can make to the sciences in general.

The imbizo, which started in Cape Town on 7 January and concludes on 28 January, is an annual three-week summer school focusing on computational neuroscience and machine learning. It brings together international and local students under the tutelage of experts in the field, and is the only event of its kind on the continent.

This year’s school, co-hosted by the University of Cape Town (UCT), aims to promote computational neuroscience in Africa using a combination of lectures and hands-on project work.

In the…

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Katherine Johnson and 9 Other Black Female Pioneers in Science

These African-American women in STEM broke the racial barrier and skyrocketed to the top of their field.

Throughout history, black women have faced the uphill battles of both racial and gender biases, especially in male-dominated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. Even so, many overcome their adverse circumstances, making invaluable contributions to the scientific community, particularly in the United States Space Program. The issue, however, is that the contributions these brilliant pioneers made largely went unnoticed.

NASA scientists including Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson began to get some overdue credit, however, when author Margot Lee Shetterly released her 2016 tome, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black…

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Space Science capabilities earn South Africa global recognition

South Africa has won an extraordinary victory in space science, with the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) being selected by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to become the designated regional provider of space weather information to the entire aviation sector using African airspace.

This means that every aircraft flying in the continent’s airspace will rely on SANSA for the space weather information it needs to submit as part of its flight plan. 

Space weather, which can influence the performance and reliability of aviation and other technological systems, is caused by the Sun, the nature of the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere, and the Earth’s location in the solar system. 

SANSA, an entity…

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