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Pan Macmillan

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5 scientific fields to keep an eye on in 2016, according to Innovation author Sarah Wild

InnovationInnovasieSarah Wild, multi-award-winning science journalist and science editor at the Mail & Guardian, has identified the five key scientific areas we should keep our eyes on in 2016.

“Science continues to shift the boundaries of what we think we know and 2016 will be no exception,” she writes.

The five key areas this year will be, in no particular order: SKA and MeerKAT, Lee Berger, gene editing, the Large Hadron Collider and Mars.

Wild’s book Innovation: Shaping South Africa through Science, also available in Afrikaans as Innovasie: Hoe wetenskap Suid-Afrika vorm, is a celebration of the science and innovation happening in South Africa right now, addressing real problems on the ground and helping people to live healthier, happier lives.

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Lee Berger

Palaeoscientist Lee Berger wowed the world in 2015, when he unveiled possible human ancestor Homo naledi and a treasure trove of skeletons in the Dinaledi Cave, in the Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng. Berger, a professor at the University of the Witwatersrand and National Geographic explorer-in-residence, was also responsible for the discovery of Australopithecus sediba in 2008 – another hominin.

While there has been controversy about the Homo naledi find – from the scientific community, with question marks over the researchers’ conclusions, and from South African society at large, where the announcement sparked a race row – there is no doubt Berger has remarkable talent. He makes finding hominin fossils, some of the most rare and precious artefacts on Earth, look easy.

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