Tamlyn Sasha Naidu, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand, recently wowed the Falling Walls Science Summit audience in Berlin with her groundbreaking research and won the main prize in the 2022 world finals with her presentation on “Breaking the Wall of Acid Mine Drainage”.
Naidu’s project tackles mining-related water pollution and land loss. She uses waste products from the refining and agricultural sectors to treat mining wastewater, resulting in a nutrient-rich sludge which can be used for hydroponic farming.
The Falling Walls Science Summit is a leading international interdisciplinary forum that shines a spotlight on the world’s most significant scientific breakthroughs and promotes dialogue between global science leaders from academia, business, politics, media and civil society to debate the potential of breakthroughs to solve our greatest challenges and shape a sustainable future. Held annually on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the conference aims to identify the next walls to fall in science and society that will ultimately change our world.
A total of 80 winners, selected from 1 850 entrants and representing 54 countries pitched their breakthrough solutions at an international science festival in Berlin from November 7 to 9.
With just three minutes to pitch their innovative ideas to the jury and the audience, contestants can’t go wrong.
Naidu’s pitch wowed the audience and the judges, who unanimously voted her as the summit’s overall winner.
Naidu is no stranger to local and international awards. She has had several local and international recognitions for her research and achievements, including winning first prize in the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining Young Persons’ World Lecture Competition in London in 2019.
In the Emerging Talents (Falling Walls Lab) category, the “Falling Walls Breakthrough of the Year” is awarded to students and early-career professionals for their innovative ideas that impact survival and sustainability.
Emma Horn, a PhD candidate from UCT, won second place in the summit’s Falling Walls Lab category for her “green” bio-tile innovation.
The summit saw young scientists from 53 other countries present groundbreaking solutions to address modern-day challenges such as climate change, water shortages, vaccine equity, global warming, and the tracking and removal of space debris.