Pint of South Africa is thrilled to announce that the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Science has come on board as the host of a third Pint of Science event. The festival will take place over three evenings with ticket price at R50 and you can grab a pint and something to eat there. The talks will take place at the UCT Pub on Upper Campus and will focus on the following themes: Planet Earth and Atoms and Galaxies.

“UCT is delighted to be hosting a Pint of Science event on our campus in 2018. Our UCT students are producing ground-breaking research and it is wonderful for them to have the opportunity to present their findings in a relaxed environment.  We believe that as a community we have a responsibility to engage with the public to inform them about what our scientific discoveries and developments are and Pint of Science provides a wonderful platform to do this, said Katherine Wilson, Communication & Marketing Manager, Faculty of Science, University of Cape Town

The event aims to create spaces and moments for interaction between scientists and the public by providing a valuable opportunity to ‘bring the lab’ to the public and foster conversation -over a pint- on the latest research and findings in science.

Tickets can be purchased online for each of the three evenings at http://pintofsciencesa.wixsite.com/pintofsciencesa

Festival goers can look forward to the following speakers and topics:

UCT Event at UCT Pub | Upper Campus | UCT
Planet Earth | 14 May 2018 at 18:30
Naadirah MoolaA maze within maize

Maize, a staple food in our South African diets that hides a toxic secret. Fusarium verticillioides is a fungus responsible for a reduction in the quantity and quality of maize with respect to ear rot and accumulation of mycotoxins. These toxins have been associated with adverse health effects in both humans and animals. This topic looks at the role of plant defence and a biopesticide in managing this complex interaction.

Jore von HoldtIs dust really that big?

​Jore von Holdt will discuss aeolian dust emissions in the earth system

 Kolisa SinyanyaPhytoplankton: The microscopic photosynthesizers that are saving our planet

Microbe-nutrient interactions in the Agulhas Climate Array marine system

Atoms to Galaxies | 15 May 2018 at 18:30
Tanya HuttonA neutron walks into a bar..

​Despite existing for the majority of the age of the universe neutrons were discovered only 86 years ago. Subatomic particles, neutral in charge and just a little bit bigger than a proton, they are essential to the structure of matter as we know it. From atoms, to pubs, to power and to galaxies, we will explore just how critical neutrons are to the universe, and how we can use their unique properties throughout science.

Mashudu MokhithiMindsets and academic performance

Effects of mindsets in academic achievement: how a student’s mindset can affect their academic performance (in mathematics)

David GammonAre all carbohydrates bad?

​Carbohydrates have had bad press of late. Should we eat them or not? Should we tax them or ban them outright? This talk will try to define what we mean by carbohydrates, and how to tell if they are good or bad. It will also highlight some surprising places that you will find them, yes, right inside your own bodies, and how we might just owe our lives to their existence. There are some subtle, complex little carbs just crying out for recognition, or maybe involved in recognition

Atoms to Galaxies | 16 May 2018 at 18:30
Jessleena SuriOrnithology in the city
Ruan van MazijkDoes having more DNA change the way plants use water? Exploring how genome size alters plant physiology in the Cape

​The plant kingdom hosts an immense diversity of living forms and functions. Genome size varies especially among plants. Ranging from plants with very little DNA, to those with enormous amounts of (sometimes functionless) genetic material, plants display perplexing variation in genome size. This contrasts with other major groups of life, such as animals, which do not to the same extent.

What makes some plants have little DNA and others much more? Genetic and genomic research shows us how. But, Van Mazijk’s work focusses on the consequences of genome size in the plant body. The ecology of an organism can be affected greatly by its genome size. Simplistically, more DNA has to fit in bigger cells, making the plant body larger in some organs. This can radically alter how plants function—particularly when it comes to water-use! Van Mazijk is investigating these sorts of effects of genome size in a Cape plant group known as the Schoenoid sedges—a group of plants some of which have small genomes, and some have large genomes. However, he carries out this analysis with consideration for the evolutionary relationships within this group.

Inge PietersenThe future is here and it’s plantastic!

Plants form an integral part of our lives, providing us with food, medicine, and even cleaning our waters and the air we breathe, but these amazingly versatile organisms also have other amazing features, which allow us to use their machinery to form production systems to make biological substances. These can be used for medicinal or a wide range of other purposes, and these systems are referred to as plant expression systems, as the plants are used to express proteins encoded on foreign genes that are introduced into them.

Some of these include proteins which can be used to naturally enhance the flavour of food; important enzymes and proteins which can be used to treat or study diseases; and even some very cool particles such as virus-like particles and pseudovirions, which mimic the structure and mechanisms of naturally occurring viruses, and can be used as vaccines to prevent disease, or as nanoparticles delivery systems to target drugs to specific cells or tissues. This talk explores the methods and mechanisms by which we use plants as production systems, some of the products and utilities of the proteins expressed, and the relevance and potential of these systems for the future.

Pint of Science was founded in the UK and runs every May in more than 150 cities across 19 different countries.  For more information, visit http://www.pintofscience.co.za/