WITS RADIO ACADEMY  |  Podcast , ±52 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 is broadcast on Voice of Wits every Monday at 7pm.

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South Africa has put its signature on the international treaty establishing the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) as an intergovernmental organisation tasked with building and operating the world's most powerful radio astronomy telescope. The treaty establishes the SKAO as only the second intergovernmental organisation dedicated to astronomy in the world, after the European Southern Observatory, and will ensure strong governance of the SKA project. We speak to the Department of Science and Technology to understand it better. In unscience this week, we explore the how two separate realities are possible, according to a new study in quantum mechanics. And finally, our second story explores how shoe wear can affect one’s health.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Featured Scientist – Collins Saguru

Our featured scientist for this Month is Collins Saguru who is a chemical engineer, a research fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand in the department of chemical engineering. He has developed an economical, environmentally sustainable and novel method of recovering and reusing precious metals found in the autocatalytic converters of petrol and diesel vehicles. On Unscience, we discuss an unusual ‘regular’ occurrence of ‘black snow’ in several towns in the Siberian region of Kuzbass. And in the news, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) pledges R27 million to boost South Africa’s space efforts, while we also look at the development of a pharmacy automation robot for dispensing chronic medicine.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Human Settlement

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has in the recent weeks held a showcase of the future roadmap of what human settlements could look like. The strategic framework recognises the demand and need for alternative and innovative technologies being in the built environment to help achieve citizens' right to adequate housing and improved quality of life. We speak to project’s lead researcher, Peta De Jager, as well as one of the participants, Sandiswa Qayi to find out more. In unscience, we discuss a new research discovery that some animals actually perform mathematical calculations to find their next meal.


In light of the challenges currently faced by the South African national power utility Eskom, we look at how scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found alternative ways of harvesting electricity from WIFI signals. In unscience, we discuss how new research findings suggest that the brain is able to subconsciously learn new vocabulary from a new language during the upstate of sleep. Lastly we spoke to Dr Kahesh Dhuness from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research about their underwater communication technology that is able to connect deep sea vessels to other networks wirelessly, using wet-end sonar transducers and arrays designed for specialised underwater applications.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Feature Scientist - Mpho Tshisaphungo

Our very first feature scientist for year is Mpho Tshisaphungo, who is the first female to head the space weather centre at the South African National Space Agency. She talks about how her career in space weather found her and how being the best keeps her on her toes. On unscience, we look at unconventional uses of poop and pee! In the news, we look at a new discovery by the Mars rover and its new uses and finally, the story of the controversial Chinese researcher, He Jianku who was fired for carrying out his gene- editing research theory on human babies

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Feature Scientist - Zamaswazi Tshabalala

It’s our very last show for the year and we close it off with a feature scientist, physicist, Zamaswazi Tshabalala of the CSIR (The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research).She specialises in nanotechnology applications that improve gas-sensing mechanisms. In the news we hear about the world’s first genetically-edited human twins and highly accurate atomic clocks that enable scientists to even measure gravity with intense accuracy. On Unscience we learn about high-tech lingerie that self-detaches by a voice command.
Lastly we wrap up the show with Zamaswazi telling us about her ambitions, her winning several CSIR research awards and more…


Tuberculosis remains one of the top 10 causes of death in the world, with South Africa being high on the list not only in terms of incidences but study of the disease. Prof Robin Wood from University of Cape Town explains how they are testing the air someone with TB breathes out, to see how transmissions can be lowered.In Unscience find out about an emotion called Schadenfreude.
Later in the show, we explore how TB interacts with HIV by speaking to Lucy Mupfumi, a PhD research fellow with the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership.


Turning salty water into drinkable water is one of the ways to address droughts like the one to hit Cape Town in recent times. Leslie Petrick from University of Cape Town explains the worrying health effects of desalinated water. Our Unscience is about how women on the contraceptive pill blink more. Later, Jemitias Chivavava and Benita Aspeling from UCT explain how dual desalination is used in industry for an interesting purpose.


This week we spend time with Dr Dyllon
Randall from UCT who was part of world first research where human urine was used to make building bricks. In Unscience in gets delicious with a mathematical formula for the perfect pizza. Later in the show we visit Cape Town's package free 'nude' stores to understand how it all works.

THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Feature Scientist - Natalie Benjamin-Damons

Our Feature Scientist this month is Natalie Benjamin-Damons, who has worked on improving the lives of children living with HIV through the use of physiotherapy. We speak to her about her work and journey as a scientist. In Unscience we ask ourselves whether lizards also have nightmares. Our science news finds out about jumping genes and who is donating blood in SA.

29 Oct THE SCIENCE INSIDE - Hyperloop

Elon Musk recently announced that the Hyperloop transport system will be unveiled in Los Angeles soon and able to travel at up to 250km/h. We find out how it works with Dr Geoffrey Beck from the Physics Department at Wits University and explore how South Africa's transport system could evolve with Prof Roger Behrens from the department of Civil Engineering at the University of Cape Town. Also on the show we chat human hibernation and gamma ray constellations in our news. Our Unscience finds out why birds help each other for their own benefit.


Young maths whizz Sbahle Zwane, has become popular on social media with his incredible skills. We speak to him and his mother as well as Professor Kate Cockcroft from Wits University about the origins of intelligence. In Unscience we find out about fainting goats. Later in the show, Dr Shirley Kokot explains how gifted children cope socially and later in life. In our science news we speak about life on Venus and the how the centre of the earth is squishier than previously thought.

46 episodes

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