Episode 14: Modeling Meerkats!

with Prof Romeel Dave, Prof Lerothodi Leeuw and Nicole Thomas

Welcome to Season 2 of The Cosmic Savannah!

This week we recap what we have been up to during the season break, including an exciting trip to the Kruger National Park in South Africa! We were in Kruger for a workshop to discuss how best to combine simulations and observations in astronomy.

We caught up with the organiser Prof Romeel Dave from the Royal Observatory Edinburgh and Episode 8. As well as Nicole Thomas from the University of the Western Cape and Episode 9. We got to see how they are doing and what the workshop aimed to achieve. Nicole also discusses her exciting trip to the 2019 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting!

We’re also joined by Prof Lerothodi Leeuw from the University of South Africa. Lerothodi talks with us about the challenging interface between theory and observations.

Finally, we also get to do some game viewing in the incredible 2 million hectare Kruger National Park!

This week’s guests:

Related Links:
Romeel’s Quora Profile: https://www.quora.com/profile/Romeel-Dav%C3%A9
UWC: http://astro.uwc.ac.za/
Royal Observatory Edinburgh: https://www.roe.ac.uk/
MeerKAT: https://www.ska.ac.za/science-engineering/meerkat/about-meerkat/
UNISA: https://www.unisa.ac.za/

Featured Image: Modeling Meerkats, a tessellation of the SARAO/MeerKAT image of the galactic centre

Inter-Season Bonus: Soapbox Science

Season Two of The Cosmic Savannah is on it’s way! But in the meantime, our science-savvy listeners can get their fix at a very exciting live event happening soon in Cape Town!

Soapbox Science South Africa is happening on Saturday 28th September 2019 at the Pierhead V&A Waterfront in Cape Town from 12pm until 3pm.

It is a pop-up event where incredibly talented female scientists will stand on soap boxes and tell passers-by all about their jobs.

Speakers and organisers of Soapbox Science South Africa rehearsing at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Soapbox Science originated in London in 2011 and the events are now held in 13 countries around the world. This is the first year an event has been held in South Africa.

The speakers will be ten amazing women who are scientists in South Africa. They’ll talk to the crowd and passers-by about their work, bring things to show you, and play clever games that will help explain their research. You don’t need to know anything at all about science to enjoy it. It’s for everyone from kids, to teenagers and adults of all ages.

Science topics will range from astronomy to archaeology, forensics to atomic physics, gut bacteria to sea creatures, vaccines to renewable energy, and more!

Jacinta records the speakers’ brainstorming session at the Soapbox Science training session

The goal of Soapbox Science is to highlight the amazing science happening in South Africa, breakdown stereotypes about scientists and celebrate the incredible contribution that women are making in all fields of science.

The selected speakers are energetic, passionate, highly entertaining communicators and extremely talented scientists. Guaranteed to be a whole lot of fun!

We hope you can join us. Here’s all the details:

  • Where: Pierhead, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa. In case of wet weather, relocating to Workshop 17, Mezzanine area, Waterfront.
  • When: 28th September 12pm-3pm
  • Who: Everyone!
  • More information: website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Not in Cape Town? Check out the Soapbox website to see if there’s a Soapbox Science event near you!

Featured in this episode

Dr Lucia Marchetti, Chief organiser of Soapbox Science South Africa

Episode 13: The South African Astronomical Observatory

featuring Professor Petri Vaisanen

In our final episode for Season 1, we are joined by Professor Petri Vaisanen, Director of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO).

Petri discusses the path to his current role including his research on galaxy evolution and some of the exciting discoveries along the way.

Petri also explains his current role, his vision for astronomy in South Africa, and some of the exciting developments occurring at SAAO and around the world!

We are then joined by Allen Versfeld who runs the Urban Astronomer podcast and who does an excellent job of highlighting the astronomy in South Africa. You can find the Urban Astronomer podcast at https://www.urban-astronomer.com

The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT)

The European Southern Observatory’s Extremely Large Telescope foundations!

Featured Image: The SAAO Plateau in Sutherland, South Africa

This week’s guests:

Episode Links:
SAAO: http://www.saao.ac.za
SALT: http://www.salt.ac.za
ESO ELT: https://www.eso.org/public/teles-instr/elt/
Urban Astronomer Podcast: https://www.urban-astronomer.com