Editorials 19.9.2013 05:50 am

Sandile should inspire others

South Africans can be justifiably proud of the achievement of PhD candidate Sandile Ngcobo and his colleagues at the CSIR in developing the world’s first digital laser.

We are not qualified to assess the importance of this breakthrough but we accept the verdict of Dr Igle Gledhill, president of the SA Institute of Physics, who likens it to the invention of the laser half a century ago.

As we point out elsewhere today, South Africa has a rather impressive track record when it comes to scientific achievements on the world stage, and beyond.

These range from the first successful human heart transplant, performed by Chris Barnard, to the invention of Pratley Putty, which has seen duty on lunar

expeditions.

While basking in all this reflected glory, let’s consider another challenge. How can we bridge the gap between these great accomplishments and the poor science results at our schools?

We don’t have any clever answers but we feel sure that Sandile Ngcobo’s example will serve as inspiration to many. By persisting long after others had given up the pursuit, he attained what seemed improbable.

That’s the way to do it.

 

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