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Dave Pepler talks to specialists about hallucinogens, soil microbes and ancient star galaxies
Author: Wiida Fourie-Basson (Faculty of Science)
Published: 29/09/2022

​Hallucinogens, soil microbes and ancient star galaxies are some of the topics that the well-known nature lover Dave Pepler will tackle during this year's Stellenbosch Science Cafés.

Since Science Café Stellenbosch was presented for the first time during Woordfees in 2015, it has become a standard item on the programme. Over the years many interesting and sometimes controversial topics were covered, including climate change, why birds sing, the evolution of skin colour and artificial intelligence.

Science Café Stellenbosch is an initiative of SU's Faculty of Science to encourage conversations about scientific issues in the public sphere. This year's programme looks as follow:

Tuesday 11 October I 18:00-19:00  I  Plataan Café 

Hallucinogens for the treatment of mental health 

Hallucinogens, specifically those that derive from plants, have been used for thousands of years by indigenous cultures for social and religious rituals. Dave Pepler talks to Dr Heinz Mödler, anaesthetist and author of En daar was dagga: 'n Biografie, and clinical psychologist Louis Awerbuck, on the use of hallucinogens in the treatment of mental health issues. 

Wednesday 12 October  I  18:00-19:00  I  Plataan Café 

Fantastic microbes and where to find them 

There are more than a billion microbes in a teaspoon of soil – that is why scientists regard soil as a living organism. Dave Pepler talks to Prof Karin Jacobs from SU's Department of Microbiology about how the soil microbiome can be revived in the spirit of regenerative agriculture.  

Thursday 13 October  I  18:00-19:00  I  Plataan Café 

James Webb Space Telescope: what do we see and what does it mean? 

Since July this year the James Webb Space Telescope has been sending breath-taking images of antique galaxies dating back 13 billion years. Dave Pepler asks Dr Anslyn John from SU's Department of Physics what these images mean for science and humanity.  

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