WITS RADIO ACADEMY  |  Podcast , ±51 min episodes every 1 week, 2 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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THE SCIENCE INSIDE - New one pill a day drug launched

We end of our final show for the year, by commemorating milestones in the health sector and its fight against HIV. We hear the story of HIV activist and nurse, Angela Motsusi, as she recounts her first diagnosis of HIV, overcoming stigma and living positively. We get into our first story for tonight, with head of HEAids, Dr Ramneek Ahluwalia, as he talks about the launch of the new one-pill-a day drug, dolutegravir. We discuss how the drug will reduce the impact of the HIV epidemic in South Africa. Finally, we discuss the possible nasty surprises and lessons that the newly discovered HIV subtype could have on the fight against HIV, with the head of the Centre for HIV and STIS’s, Dr Adrian Puren.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Feature scientist- Godiragetse Mogajane

On tonight’s show, we are in conversation with 21 year old, third year Accounting Wits University student, Godiragetse Mogajane. He is the founder of Goodie Tutors, a maths and science tutoring and call centre platform. His company prides itself in its 100% pass rate annually. He talks about their achievement and how he will revolutionise the education sector through his app.

On unscience, we learn about an app, which will help you look amazing, even if you cannot decide for yourself.

We wrap up our chat with Godi as he is fondly known, to hear what growing up as a nerd in Hammanskraal was like and where Goodie Tutors is headed in the future.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Anaerobic digestion

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is working on a study that will help municipalities manage wastewater through their municipal beneficiation project. The project aims to harness energy through a process called anaerobic digestion. They are also investigating how they can salvage biogases produced by human and bio waste, recover lost water in sludge and better manage wastewater. CSIR researcher Khuthadzo Mudzanani, talks about the practicalities of the research and its impact.

On Unscience, we look at an interesting study, which suggests that sleep deprived people are more likely to opt for foods and diets with a higher calorie count.

In our final story, we speak to the Head of Department of the Centre for Environmental Management, at the University of the Free State, Prof Paul Ober-holster. He chats about how they together with the CSIR have successfully implemented an algae-based wastewater treatment solution at the Motetema wastewater treatment works in the Sekhukhune District Municipality in Limpop

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Waste Water Remediation

South Africa is a water stressed country and to conserve the limited water resources, researchers realise that wastewater rehabilitation is necessary to supplement the already frail water infrastructures. Professor Miklas Sholz speaks to us about his research, which focuses on artificial wetlands reconstruction to rid communities such as the Alexandra Township of stagnant grey water. In the interview, he also speaks about ways in which the Jukskei River can be revitalised.

On Unscience we discover another way in which our brain tricks us into believing we knew what would happen the next moment. The study reveals that we actually do not have the ability to predict events, especially in that particular state.

THE SCIENCE - Feature scientist – Dr Lieketseng Ned

Tonight, we are in conversation with occupational therapist, Dr Lieketseng Ned from Stellenbosch University. She is the youngest lecturer within the Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies. She talks about her current research, which focuses on participatory visual methodologies to enhance community participation.

On Unscience, we look at something very unusual, the case of pet owner’s affection being the possible reason behind the owners losing their limbs, yikes!

Finally, we conclude our conversation with Dr Ned, as she speaks about her personal life and how her interests in indigenous knowledge and people with disabilities led her to research decolonising knowledge on health and well-being.


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 - Male breast cancer

New research confirms that men with breast cancer have lower survival rates than women, as men often delay seeing a doctor even when they notice unusual signs or symptoms in their body. Furthermore, men make up less than 1% of breast cancer cases and often receive treatment based on data collected in women. Professor Michael Herbst from CANSA weighs in on this conversation.

On Unscience, we explore the movies. We learn about how an artificial intelligence tool is able to detect spoilers on your behalf to stop them from ruining surprises in your favourite movies.

Finally, we speak to a paediatric oncologist as we further delve into the topic of cancer in young children. We discover what causes cancer in children and which of those cancers are more prevalent.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Food security and waste

Seventy percent of wastage happens within the food supply chain, yet Gauteng‚ the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal have the highest rate of young children who are underdeveloped. North West University Senior lecturer, Chantelle Witten, from the Faculty of Health Sciences unpacks how poor nutrition affects children’s growth and development.

On Unscience we discover that Mona Lisa was not genuinely smiling in Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting.

In our final story, the Disco Soup or ‘soup protest’ movement, raises public awareness by salvaging and cooking unsold or damaged vegetables at a their cooking session in Diepkloof Soweto

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.

72 episodes

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