Join Port Elizabeth and MyPE in congratulating Mover and Shaker, Prof Maartin de Witt from NMMU:
Prof Maartin de Witt has been awarded the prestigious S2A3 Gold Medal by the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science, following in the footsteps of the likes of the late paleoanthropologist Prof Phillip Tobias, and NMMU’s own Prof Richard Cowling, a botanist who received the award in 2009.
Prof de Witt is the second Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) scientist to be honoured nationally for exceptional services to the advancement of science.
The earth stewardship scientist was recognised for his contribution both locally and internationally to this growing trans-disciplinary field of science.
Prof De Wit is an NRF (National Research Foundation) A-rated researcher and has been working to define the trans-disciplinary field of research in geology and mineralogy into a new discipline termed Earth Stewardship Science. He plans to launch the world’s first courses in Earth Stewardship Science from NMMU.
The concept of Earth Stewardship Science was birthed in Prof De Wit’s Africa Earth Observatory Network (AEON), which he founded at UCT 10 years ago, giving rise to hubs at universities across the country.
“This institute was set up by 18 scientists in different disciplines, from the humanities to hard physics. Our aim was to solve the planet’s future and emerging problems – this can only be done as a team.”
Prof De Wit said the Eastern Cape presented a unique “laboratory” for Earth Stewardship Science, with a range of problems to solve, including those affecting the coastline and wetlands, as well as poverty and rural development.
Prof De Wit, who was born in Holland and schooled in Ireland, completed his PhD in Geosciences at Cambridge University. From there, he spent four years at Columbia University in New York, conducting most of his field work in Chile, trying to understand the origin of the Andes and how this mountain range connected with Antarctica.
Submitted by: Roslyn Baatjies on behalf of NMMU
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