Did you know that it was the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research who made lithium batteries a reality?
How about the CAT scan? Yes, that it is a South African invention too. It’s a little-known fact but according to the Sable Network, South Africa “is a world leader in everything from cell culturing to microsatellites and the technologies of flight.”
Let’s look at a list of other breakthroughs in science and medicine that South African’s can be proud of. How many were you aware of?
The world’s first digital laser was invented by doctoral candidate, and CSIR researcher, Sandile Nqcobo, and the former minister of Science and Technology cited it as a “testimony to the calibre of scientists that South Africa has.”
The laser is set to be used in the health sector, and its numerous applications could also be used to improve the communication sector.
Sandile Ngcobo, PhD, from South Africa, is the scientist who invented and developed the world’s first digital laser. pic.twitter.com/uLx0T8UHH6
— Facts About Africa (@OnlyAfricaFacts) November 29, 2015
Biomedical stem cell technology
The CSIR’s Gene Expression and Biophysics group designed the first induced pluripotent stem cells in Africa, which opened the door for researchers to investigate various diseases and cures. Stem cells could be used to restore sight or repair cells affected by heart disease, amongst other things. The possibilities are endless and are still being explored.
— Christine Gathoni (@IchuguChristine) February 10, 2017
The full-body x-ray scanner
The scanner was created by Lodox Systems, a South African company that created the full-body scanner from technology that was initially designed for the security sector – for the detection of stolen diamonds.
The use of the full-body scanner was written into the storyline of Grey’s Anatomy during the show’s ninth season when the Grace Mercy West Hospital installed the scanner in their new ER department.
Congrats South Africa’s Lodox Systems: makes world’s only high-speed full-body x-ray scanner, works with 10 times less radiation exposure. pic.twitter.com/zGCcBT8pru
— James Hall (@hallaboutafrica) October 21, 2017
A new method used in cataract surgery was created at the Baragwanath hospital in Soweto in the mid-seventies by a specialist in retinal diseases, Selig Percy Amoils.
Amoils received the Queen’s Award for Technological Innovation, and his cryoprobe was later displayed at the prestigious Kensington Museum.
SA’s Dr Percy Amolis invented the Retinal Cryoprobe used on Margaret Thatcher to repair a detached retina.
— IEC South Africa (@IECSouthAfrica) March 14, 2011
A well-known invention that most South Africans are aware of: the Kreepy Krauly. It was developed by Ferdinand Chauvier from Springs in the mid-seventies.
Basically a vacuum cleaner for a swimming pool, it collects debris and takes the hassle out of pool cleaning, leaving pool-owners with more time to relax next to the pool instead of cleaning it.
The world’s first commercially successful pool cleaner, the Kreepy Krauly, was invented by South African Ferdinand Chauvier in 1974.
Pool owners all over the world owe Chauvier a thanks for making the chore of pool cleaning suck less. pic.twitter.com/V5xKWb1oGG
— InfiniteFamily (@infinitefamily) October 5, 2018
Affordable solar power
Professor Vivian Alberts from the Universtiy of Johannesburg created a micro-thin metallic film – only five microns thick – used to make solar electricity five times less expensive.
The alloy interacts with most flexible services, and a semi-commercial plant was opened in Stellenbosch four years ago, solely for the production of the solar technology.
PTiP is the first in Africa solar panel manufacturer based in Stellenbosch and is run by Professor Vivian Alberts. https://t.co/346LafHs7C
— 110% Green (@WCGov110Green) September 6, 2016
The CAT scan
One of the most famous inventions to come of out of South Africa has to be the CAT scan or Computed Axial Tomography Scan. It was created by physicists Allan Cormack and Godfrey Hounsfield in 1972.
An X-ray source and electronic detectors rotate around the patient’s body and collect all the data needed to produce a cross-section of the body.
Also known as computed tomography, the CT scan was first invented in 1972. British engineer Godfrey Hounsfield and South African physicist Allan Cormack are credited with the invention.#Bayview #Radiology #FunFactsFriday pic.twitter.com/w8e6zEAb7A
— Bayview Radiology (@Bayview_Radio) September 14, 2018
George Pratley initially wanted to create a type of glue to hold electrical components and inadvertently created something much stronger.
It was developed in the late sixties, and even help sent man to the moon! Pratley’s Putty was famously used by Apollo XI during the Moon Landing to hold bits of the landing craft together. Yep, a South African invention made sure those astronauts returned home safe and sound.
Did you know that Pratley Putty a South African invention, was essential for key components of the space shuttle? pic.twitter.com/qpcoTTqqnL
— IAMHE (@MokenaMakeka) June 28, 2015
Oil from coal
Sasol – previously know as the South African Gas Distribution Company – was founded in 1950 when the government realised that our country had oil reserves.
To this day, Sasol remains the world’s first and largest oil-from-coal refinery and produces approximately 40% of all fuel used in South Africa.
Sasol is home to the worlds first and largest oil from coal refinery. Situated in Sasolburg it produces 40% of South Africa’s fuel.
— GlasgowScienceCentre (@gsc1) June 11, 2010
Dr Chris Barnard famously performed the world’s first heart transplant in 1967 on Louis Washkansky, who volunteered for the groundbreaking surgery.
The success of the first heart transplant turned Dr Barnard into somewhat of a celebrity on the international scene, and he performed ten more transplants throughout his career.
This is the Theatre where Dr Barnard & his team did the actual transplant. At exactly 5.58am on the 3rd December 1967 – The recipient Louis Washkansky underwent a successful transplant. He lived for 18 days after the transplant but then passed away in the hospital from pneumonia pic.twitter.com/zn34ve8qVQ
— Leanne Manas (@LeanneManas) December 1, 2017
Smartlock safety syringe
The three-piece single-use syringe was specially designed in 1999 by several doctors at the Vaal University of Technology to provide increased protection against needle-stick injury.
In the era of Ebola, Hepatitis and HIV, the safety syringe has saved countless lives.
Have you ever heard of the Smartlock Safety Syringe? It’s a syringe with an added safety mechanism to prevent accidental needle-stick injuries. This amazing invention can be accredited to a group of 8 students from Vaal University of Technology. #SouthAfricansInMedicine pic.twitter.com/lGCEZ4chxV
— #NMCHBringsHope (@_NMCH_) January 11, 2018