Dr Bernie Fanaroff has dedicated his life and has made significant contributions to science in the sphere of astronomy. Photo: Antoine de Ras/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – Parliament’s science and technology portfolio committee has congratulated Dr Bernie Fanaroff on being awarded the 2018 lifetime achievement award by the National Research Foundation. 

This accolade is awarded to individuals considered to have made extraordinary contributions of international standard and impact to the development of science and in South Africa over an extended period of time, and for the manner in which their work has touched and shaped the lives and views of many South Africans, committee chairperson Lindiwe Maseko said. 

“Dr Fanaroff… has dedicated his life and has made significant contributions to science in the sphere of astronomy, where together with British astronomer Julia Riley they made a breakthrough in the classification of radio galaxies and quasars when they identified two classes of radio sources which now bear their names – Fanaroff-Riley class I and Fanaroff-Riley class II – sources as they are now universally known. 

He successfully managed the bid to host the world's largest scientific project – the Square Kilometre Array Telescope – and led the conceptualisation, development, and construction of its precursor the MeerKat," Maseko said. 

Fanaroff’s commitment to social justice saw him dedicate 19 years to the struggle against apartheid as an organiser and national secretary for the Metal and Allied Workers’ Union. 

In 1994, Fanaroff was deputy director-general in the office of former president Nelson Mandela, and was head of office for the reconstruction and development programme. 

He was a founding member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and is a visiting professor at Oxford University.  

– African News Agency (ANA)