SOUTH AFRICAN
SCIENCE HEROES
AND INVENTORS

 

The truth is that South Africa is a nation of innovators. In fact, South Africans have been behind the creation of some of the biggest, world-changing inventions ever. Don’t believe us? Have a look at the list below. You might be surprised just how many geniuses hail from Mzansi.

1

THIN FILM SOLAR CELLS


Professor Vivian Alberts developed micro-thin metallic film at the University of Johannesburg in 1993 with funding from National Research Foundation. This technology has made solar electricity five times cheaper than the previously-used solar photovoltaic cells, making solar power a more affordable and infinitely more environmentally-friendly option than coal.

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2

TELLUROMETER


Known as a microwave distance-measuring device, the Tellurometer was invented by Durban’s Dr Trevor Lloyd Wadley in 1959. The Tellurometer emits an electronic wave, a remote station absorbs and re-sends the wave back in a more complex form, and the distance the waves travelled is measured. It is mostly used to survey rough terrain, especially between mountain tops.

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3

Cyber Tracker


Louis Liebenberg and a South African physicist and computer scientist, Lindsay Steventon, created the Cybertracker in 1996.

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4

COBB BARBECUE AND SOLAR CANDLE


Ken Hall originally designed his Cobb oven as an alternative to the paraffin stoves found in South Africa’s informal settlements.

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5

Q20


Q20 was invented in 1950 in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal by a Mr Robertson, as a product to displace water from the distributor caps on the old VW Beetle,
which was notorious for stalling in wet weather.

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6

THE KREEPY KRAULY


In 1974, Ferdinand Chauvier from Springs, South Africa, invented the swimming pool cleaning machine.

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7

HIPPO WATER ROLLER


The Hippo Water Roller Invention by Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker is used by women, children and the elderly to collect more water than using a single bucket.

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8

SMARTLOCK SAFETY SYRINGES


A group of designers at the Vaal University of Technology, William Blake, Paul Lambourn, Jose loureiro, Michael Moore, David Shiel, Mirko Tappero,
Henk van der Meyden and Alexis Wadman
invented the Smartlock safety syringe

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9

SPEED GUN AND SPORTS TRACKING TECHNOLOGY


Henri Johnson, an engineer invented the Speedball in 1992. The device accurately measures the speed and angles of speeding objects such as cricket,
golf, and tennis balls

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10

Pratley Putty


George Pratley invented Pratley’s Putty while trying to create glue that would hold components in an electrical box.

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11

DOLOS


In 1966, Eric Merrifield and Aubrey Kruger came up with the idea of a concrete structure that could protect the East London harbour breakwater from stormy seas.

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12

CATARACT SURGERY AND ROTARY EPITHELIAL SCRUBBER


Selig Percy Amoils, an ophthalmologist, refined the cryoextraction method of cataract surgery by developing a cryoprobe that was cooled through the Joule-Thomson effect of gas expansion.

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13

Computed Axial Tomography Scan or CAT


The Computed Axial Tomography Scan, or CAT, was developed by Cape Town physicist, Allan Cormack and his associate Godfrey Hounsfield.

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14

World’s First Digital Laser


Sandile Ngcobo, along with researchers at the CSIR designed and developed the first digital laser. This groundbreaking invention has secured a place for South Africa right at the forefront of world-class innovation.

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