Learners inspired during National Science Week

August 17, 2017  — 
(Image: Northern Cape Tourism Authority)

Mathematics and science create myriad opportunities for future careers that can ultimately promote science tourism.

This was the key message of a recent Northern Cape Tourism Authority (NCTA) presentation to Kimberley learners.

“South Africa is now expanding into a new and exciting realm of tourism, one that aims to inform, educate and foster interest and appreciation in a vital field for humankind – science tourism,” said Sharron Lewis, CEO of the NCTA.

Lewis was speaking during National Science Week 2017, one of the Department of Science and Technology’s initiatives aimed at forging stronger links between scientific discovery and tourism.

Sutherland’s clear skies are among the world’s best for stargazing.

Sutherland’s clear skies are among the world’s best for stargazing.  (Image: Northern Cape Tourism Authority)

This year’s theme, “advancing science tourism”, resonated with the aims of 2017 as United Nations International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and presented an opportunity to showcase some of the country’s science-based attractions during August.

A weeklong itinerary run by the Kimberley-based non-profit Maths & Science Leadership Academy concluded with exhibitions at the town’s Diamond Pavilion Shopping Mall.

“We would like to commend the good work done by [the academy] to inspire, encourage and motivate learners to take maths and science subjects seriously in the school curriculum, as [the students will become our] future astronomers, scientists and meteorologists,” said Lewis.

Thanks to minimal light and air pollution, the Northern Cape has long been a sought-after destination for international and local astronomers and scientists to indulge in serious stargazing.

This is borne out by the establishment of the world-renowned Square Kilometre Array project near Carnarvon, and major telescopes belonging to the South African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town, which include one of the world’s largest, the single-optical Southern African Large Telescope, in Sutherland.