WITS RADIO ACADEMY  |  Podcast , ±51 min episodes every 1 week, 3 days  |  Broadcast schedule  | 
The Science Inside is a weekly show that goes inside the science of major news events. We take a news story each week - from a missing plane to the world cup - and dissect the science angles involved. We indulge every scientific discipline, from biology to psychology, and incorporate the insights of scientists, journalists and researchers in order to tell interesting radio stories.

The Science Inside is presented by Bridget Lepere.
Production by Bridget Lepere.
Technical production by Kutlwano Gwinch Serame.

The show airs on Voice of Wits every Monday at 7pm.

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This week, we chat with Nano technologist Florence Lehutso, from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), as she delivers her teams’ findings on nano-pollution and the extent of pollution on our water sources if not evaluated and studied extensively.

In our final story, Wouter Le Roux from the CSIR unloads the results of his study where he discovered that water sourced from hand-dug wells in the community of Stinkwater is contaminated and unsafe to drink.

Lastly, on unscience, we find out how high-level mathematicians are tricked by some aspects of their knowledge about the world and as a result fail to solve primary school-level subtraction problems.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Implementing the NHI Bill

The Department of Health has set up a R500-billion fund for the implementation of the highly contested National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, which will give the majority of South Africans access to quality healthcare. However, many ask where will the money come from and how will it work, we find out from the Head of Health at SECTION27, Sasha Stevenson.

On unscience, we find out why a healthy diet is detrimental to one’s vision, as researchers from the University of Bristol examine cases of patients with unexplained vision impairment due to a poor diet.

Lastly, we hear from Professor Andrew Briggs, who is a health economist from the University of Glasgow, as he speaks about a similar financing system in the UK, the National Institute for Health Care Excellence (NICE) has worked and the lessons SA can take away from their experience.


Climatology professor, Francois Engelbrecht from the Global Change Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, unpacks a scathing report on the dramatic effects that a 2˚C increase in temperature has on climate change.

Unscience gets a little stinky tonight; we discover what role various gastrointestinal gases play and what their interactions with the microbiome in the gut is.

In our final story, we learn key lessons about disaster management, risk reduction and the complex interconnectedness between risk and resilience as the world gears up for climate change adaptation.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Feature Scientist - Thulile Khanyile

On the show tonight, we chat with molecular biologist, Thulile Khanyile who is a lecturer, social entrepreneur and PhD candidate in the HIV Pathogenesis Research Units in the School of Pathology. Her PhD is searching for an HIV vaccine that can mimic the broadly neutralizing antibody response of the Donor CAP256, which will help the body to selfheal and reject the HI Virus.

On Unscience, we look at how memories are stored and why the least important memory pops up at the most inappropriate times.

Later we kick back and relax as we get up close and personal with Thulile and find out about other interesting things she gets up to when she is not in the lab or classroom.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Honouring Women In Science: Dimakatso Gumede

Tonight we chat with Dimakatso Gumede of the Bioengineering and Integrated Genomics Research Group at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
She is one of a few specialising in stem Cell reprogramming in SA. She recently submitted her doctoral thesis on a rare genetic skin, lung and muscle disorder, which resulted in the breakthrough for treatment and medicating of various conditions. On Unscience, we learn about what the women of the Pimbwe tribe of Tanzania do when desperate times call for unconventional methods. Lastly, we wrap up the show in conversation with Dimakatso on growing up in Soweto, losing her mother, overcoming her loss and the importance multilingualism plays in communicating science.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Honouring Women In Science: Science Communication

In commemorating women’s month, the Science Inside dedicates the entire month to all South African women contributing to the various fields in science and science communication. We start of today’s show with those who once graced the Science Inside with their skills and talent. We get in conversation with Elna Shütz and Lutfiya Suliman who both presented and produced the show before. They share their highlights, challenges in communicating science, milestones in their careers and what they have they been up to since leaving radio broadcasting. On tonight’s unscience, we find out how cosmetic jewellery could double as a contraceptive while adding to the beauty aesthetic.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Disruptive tech

In tonight’s show, we hear from software businessman and tech innovator, Luyanda Vappie on how he and his business partner Motsholane Sebola’s innovation is disrupting modern day computing. They have built Prism, the world’s first personal computer that utilises laser for virtual peripheral input and output. On Unscience, we learn about a computer system that sheds some light on how imaging can adversely or positively affect our emotional wellbeing. Lastly, we chat to computer scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Yaseen Moolla about their biometrics systems and how they can be used to identify young children through the combination of technology and biology.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Climate change and Disaster Management

Tonight we unpack the African Centre on Philanthropy & social Investment’s dialogue on the prospects of mitigating risks associated with climate change, particularly as it pertains to disaster management and planning strategies in the likely event of a natural disaster striking. On Unscience, we chat about how eating insects rather than meat could save the Earth from further greenhouse gas emissions and save you money. In our final story, we look at how climate change affects various industries and how various approaches are being executed to address these threats.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Ugly Side of Beauty-Mica

Tonight’s show looks into a naturally found mineral used to add glimmer in our cosmetics. The mineral is currently mined by about 22 000 minors in India as a means to feed their families, but sadly some do not make it out alive. This week’s Unscience investigates how Bitcoin is causing more carbon dioxide emissions comparable to Vegas or Hamburg. Our final story uncovers an inherent condition where women of African descent are experiencing balding at a much younger age and University of Kwa-Zulu Natal‘s dermatology professor, Ncoza Dlova explains what the treatment of variant PAD13 in Central Centrifugal Alopecia is and what are the other factors driving it .

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Food Insecurity

Statistics reveal that 90% of South Africa’s food ends up in the landfill and on this show, we find out from the University of Free State’s researcher and diet professor, Louise Van Der Burg about what is driving food insecurity nationally and globally. Later in the show, we hear about a peculiar concept of preserving sperm to make it viable for baby making in space, in this week’s Unscience. Finally, we chat to Co-operative and Policy Alternative’s Centre’s coordinator, Jane Cherry about a vegetable garden set up to feed and supply underprivileged Wits students with fresh produce.


The South African National Blood Services Operations Testing Manager, Charl Coleman talks about how chemical biology researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, will convert blood type A into a universally acceptable type through the use of human gut microbes. On Unscience, we look at a chilling, rare but extremely distressing phenomenon, where patients were found conscious during CPR. Still on the bloody topic, University of the Witwatersrand Pathology and Haematology professor, Johhny Mahlangu unpacks hemochromatosis, a blood condition that is characterised by the oversupply of iron in the blood, which can be caused by ingesting iron supplements or through regular blood transfusions.


With mounting amounts of data production and consumption worldwide, this week we aim to understand the concept of ‘Big Data’ and what it means for us all. For a better and broader understanding, we speak to Terrence van Zyl from the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Witwatersrand University. In unscience we try to understand poly-dacty-ly, and how people with one or more finger can have more advantages than those considered ‘normal’... in the second story, Phumlani Nhlanganiso Khoza, from the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics who is the brainchild of the newly launched Scilinx Research laboratory and the Scilinx Studio tell us more about it’s Big Data research aims.

65 episodes

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