UP alumnus receives prestigious medal in Science

Posted on October 25, 2010

The Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns (South African Academy for Science and Art) awards this medal annually for the best MSc dissertation submitted at a South African university in either the Zoological or Botanical Sciences. The title of his dissertation is Homeostasis: Humidity and water relations in honeybee colonies (Apis mellifera). His supervisors were Dr Vincent Dietmann, Prof Sue Nicolson and Prof Robin Crewe.

His dissertation showed that honeybee colonies are able to regulate humidity in the hive, in essence acting like the humidifiers that we use in our homes and workplaces. Although, rather than struggling with too low humidity as we often do in our homes, honeybee colonies struggle with excessively high humidity. In the process of making honey, bees evaporate an incredible amount of water from the gathered nectar. Michael showed that worker bees expel this humid air from the hive by using their wings for fanning the air much like an air-conditioning system in a building.

Michael enrolled for his MSc in Zoology after completing his BScEd (Sci) and due to his passion for education he is currently pursuing his career at the MTN Science Centre in Cape Town as a Science Educator.

Michael’s love for science also began at a young age. He was one of the first successful candidates who completed the UP with SCIENCE enrichment programme for senior secondary school learners in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. This project started more than ten years ago.

Approximately 50 learners who have a high potential and a keen interest in science are selected annually to take part in a three year programme (from Grade 10 to Grade 12). This programme includes Saturday classes once a month and a winter school once a year. The programme is aimed at increasing young people's knowledge of, interest and skills in science.

After completing the UP with SCIENCE programme successfully, candidates who enroll in study programmes of UP’s Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences receive free university tuition, provided that they meet the normal admission requirements. The free tuition is valid for most of the study programmes that are offered in the Faculty's Schools of Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Agricultural and Food Sciences.

For more information on the UP with Science programme, please contact Ms Helga Nordhoff on 012 420 2638 or 012 420 3767 or send an email to [email protected] or visit www.upwithscience.up.ac.za

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