14-Sep-11 5:00 AM  EDT

South African S&T Minister to visit US, Speak at NSBP conference

The South African Minister of Science and Technology, Mrs. Naledi Pandor, will be visiting the United States next week, and will be the opening keynote speaker at the annual conference of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) on Thursday, September 22 in Austin, TX. 
"Receiving Minister Pandor is a special honor for NSBP," says Charles McGruder, chair of NSBP's international affairs committee and a past-president of the organization.  "It is a culmination of many years of NSBP's international collaborations; from the Edward Bouchet Abdus Salam Insitute, to our involvement with physics and astronomy programs throughout the African continent, and especially our role in helping establish the African Astronomical Society and the African Physical Society."
Mrs. Pandor was appointed Minister of Science and Technology in May 2009.  During her tenure South Africa has invested heavily in science and technology, including the SKA/MeerKAT telescope projects, as well as programs in paleoentology, synthetic chemistry, drug discovery, computing, and space technology.   South Africa is bringing science to its people, including it rural citizens, by investing in wireless mesh technology, and furthermore is using S&T as a tool for economic development through introduction of smart farming and fishing technologies.  South Africa recently established the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA)  to promote the commercialisation of research and development outcomes.
In September 2009 South Africa launched its SumbandilaSAT microsatellite into a low-earth orbit, and in 2010 inaugurated a national space agency.  It will host the International Astronautics Congress in October 2011.
Under Mrs. Pandor's leadership, science has been a cornerstone of South Africa's diplomatic efforts.  The SKA project officially involves 8 other African nations, and the full African Union has endorsed the Africa bid for the giant radio telescope.  There is greater potential to involve more countries through the African Very Long Baseline Interferometry Network including countries like Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the United States. 
But most importantly, South Africa has invested in people as the next generation of innovators with a robust array of bursary, earn-while-learning, and merit awards.
The National Society of Black Physicists is a global professional society uniting African American, Afro-Caribbean and African physicists and astronomers in their pursuit of understanding matter and energy, and using that to benefit mankind. NSBP works very closely with the South African Institute of Physics (SAIP), the primary professional society of physicists and astronomers in the Republic of South Africa. The two organizations are collaborating on projects ranging from astronomy research and science communication, to teacher development and student outreach.

For additional information on this release, please contact:
NSBP Headquarters
(703) 536-4207
Source: Ministry of Science and Technology, Republic of So Website: http://www.dst.gov.za
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