McDonald Observatory Co-Sponsors Lecture on ‘Scientific Development and the Democratic Process in South Africa’

19 April 2004

Event: Dr. Khotso Mokhele, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Research Foundation of South Africa (the equivalent of the National Science Foundation in the U.S.), will deliver a public lecture on "Scientific Development and the Democratic Process in South Africa." The event is free and open to the public.


When: 7 p.m., Friday, April 23, 2004.

Where: Avaya Auditorium (Room 2.302) of the ACES Building. (Maps of The University of Texas at Austin can be obtained here.)


Dr. Khotso Mokhele grew up in a poor, rural part of South Africa and with help of an incredibly determined mother and a missionary school, he earned a Fulbright Scholarship to The University of California at Davis from which he earned a Ph.D. degree in microbiology in 1986. Dr Mokhele heads the South African National Research Foundation (NRF — the equivalent of the U.S. National Science Foundation). The NRF funds basic research in South Africa and is a National Government agency.

Dr. Mokhele frequently appears on lists of the "Best and Brightest" members of the South African government. His job is to articulate the need for basic scientific research in a poor country which has incredible social problems an overwhelming AIDS epidemic and at least 40% unemployment. He is eloquent in articulating why South Africa needs scientific research and, through his involvement in the United Nations, he has become an advocate for scientific research in all of the Third World. Mokhele is one of the chief advocates for the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), one of the world’s largest telescopes, currently under construction in South Africa. SALT is modeled after the Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory.

Dr. Mokhele’s visit is sponsored by The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory, the Department of Astronomy, and the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

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