Stellenbosch University
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Science Café at Woordfees 2023
Start: 10/10/2023, 18:00
End: 12/10/2023, 19:00
Contact:Wiida Basson -
Location: Die Khaya Café, 39 Ryneveld Street

Science Café Stellenbosch is an initiative of the Faculty of Science at Stellenbosch University to encourage discussions of scientific issues in the public sphere. Our talks are free but arrive in time to ensure a good seat!

Tuesday 10 October   18:00-19:00

On the origin of time: Are there things that we will never know?

On the Origin of Time presents Stephen Hawking's final theory about the origin of the universe and the subsequent emergence of life as we know it today. Could it be that the fundamental laws of physics were not cast in stone after the Big Bang, but co-evolved as the universe took shape? Dr Anslyn John will be in conversation with Prof. Yin-Zhe Ma on this topic, extraterrestrial life and what we will never know. They are both cosmologists and astrophysicists in SU's Department of Physics.

Wednesday 11 October 2023   18:00-19:00

Artificial Intelligence versus human consciousness

Inspired by the human brain, neural networks are the electronic engines that power the current revolution in generative artificial intelligence. Are we powering ahead towards a future controlled by super-intelligent systems? Or is there something different about human consciousness – such as intelligence, that spark of creativity and the soul – that cannot be quantified? Willem Bester is in conversation with Prof. Bruce Watson, Capitec Chair of Applied AI at SU , data scientist Dr McElory Hoffmann from Praelexis, and well-known Stellenbosch-based clinical psychologist Anton Böhmer.

Thursday 12 October   18:00-19:00

Those bugs that don't kill you (now), will maybe make you stronger?

Bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites have evolved to survive in a range of environments on earth. Lately, some of these “superbugs" have also started to show resistance to natural and human-made antibiotics. Do we face a return to the pre-1920s, with no effective drugs to fight infectious diseases? Prof. Ann Louw talks to Prof. Marina Rautenbach from SU's Department of Biochemistry, as well as to Prof. Andrew Whitelaw, head of the Medical Microbiology Division in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at SU, about how the scientific and medical fraternity are tackling this growing public health problem.