Limitless: An Assembly with Dr Marais, a Mars One Finalist

“The sky isn’t the limit!”
That is one of the inspiring mottoes of South African physicist, Dr Adriana Marais, who visited our school on Monday, 31 August,  to hand out awards for the the Royal Society of South Africa’s national science essay competition.
Dr Marais is one of the 100 finalists for the Mars One mission, a one-way expedition to establish the first human settlement on Mars from 2024. She is a researcher focusing in quantum biology, and has been gaining international attention and praise, even being a recipient of the L’Oreal-UNESCO’s International Rising Talent Grant Award in 2015. We were incredibly lucky to have her share her goals with us in a short presentation, and were fascinated by the research and plans that she is working on. We were left feeling incredibly motivated, because if people are going to be actually inhabiting another planet within our lifetime, then almost any dream is possible.
Dr Marais handed out the certificates and prizes to the Grade 12 learners who had achieved amazing results for their science essays.
  • In the category, ‘Is anyone listening? How would you effectively communicate about environmental problems to young people in South Africa today?’, Roxanne Douglas was placed first, and Natalie Winter received a merit prize.
  • Kayla Arnold won first prize in the category, ‘2015 is the International Year of Light.  What new light technologies might help South Africa meet its development challenges?’
  • Michelle Langeveld won second prize in ‘Contagion! : How can we combat the Ebola virus epidemic and prevent it from spreading in South Africa?
  • Michelle Mitchell and Nicole Wentzel won merit prizes in the category, ‘Many South African scientists are involved in the research being carried out at the Large Hadron Collider at the Cern in Europe. Do you think the research findings will benefit humankind?’
Congratulations to the winners, and we wish Dr Marais good luck for all the future holds!