Inaugural open day shows learners how scientists can change the world

Inaugural open day shows learners how scientists can change the world. Picture: File

Inaugural open day shows learners how scientists can change the world. Picture: File

Published Mar 19, 2024


“The impact of science extends far beyond the confines of our classrooms and textbooks. It has the power to transform lives, uplift communities, and shape nations' destiny.”

These wise words were shared by Professor Barend Erasmus, Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP), at the Faculty’s first Open Day with the theme, “Become a Scientist – Change the World.”

More than 600 Grade 11 and 12 learners from as far as the Free State and Limpopo Province, accompanied by their parents, attended the event to learn more about science and how the University makes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education more accessible for learners.

The Dean added: “To unlock the full potential of Africa, we need more than just dreams; we need scientists - brave, curious, and relentless in their pursuit of knowledge. And that's where you, as learners, come in.

“Here, within the walls of our University, lies a world of opportunity waiting to be explored. From Actuarial Science to Zoology and everything in between, the possibilities are endless, and the choice is yours.”

Learners got to witness science in action from all 13 of our departments’ exhibitions. This ranged from uncovering the mysteries of the Universe through Physics and exploring the wonders of space, time, and beyond.

At Zoology and Entomology, learners and parents were informed how their diverse studies can help build a sustainable future for the African ecosystem.

Research in food security, botanical medicines, and plant biodiversity conservation was showcased, and opportunities were provided to explore the wonders of the animal kingdom at Animal Science.

Learners were also treated to tours of our state-of-the-art facilities and exciting demonstrations, some of which included an experiment on how to approximate the number, a mobile planetarium, learning about drones and weather forecasting apps, trying out a 360-degree selfie photo camera, labelling an actual cow skeleton, an ice cream making demonstration, thrilling minerals and rock demonstrations at Geology, and learning how to extract DNA.

Alumni and industry members in many of the sciences offered by Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences also attended the day and shared their experiences and possible career opportunities with qualifications from the Faculty.

The dean encouraged learners with his final words, “Our continent, Africa, offers boundless opportunities, and we are at the forefront of harnessing its potential. But to do this, we need knowledge that transforms into action.”

Pretoria News