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From social media to social health

- By Refilwe Mabula

Photonics, the sciences of light has contributed significantly to the technological sector. Through “cellnostics”, cellphones are now used as mobile diagnostic platforms.

Professor Andrew Forbes, Head of the Structured Light Laboratory in the School of Physics, spoke about this technological development during his address at the annual Principals' Function. 

Principals from top performing schools in and around Gauteng attended a function at the Wits Club on Thursday, 30 July 2015.

The Wits School’s Liaison and Marketing hosted the event aimed at strengthening relationships with top performing schools.

During his lecture titled the Power of Light in the Palm of your hand, Forbes explained the essence of light in the world as well as how the science of light is contributing towards technological development. 

“If you have a sophisticated photonics attached to your phone, gathering light, and is connected to a wealth of databases which could help to analyse the data which you have collected. 

“There are applications which you can download and point to your skin and it will analyse the rash which you have and compare it to a database of rashes,  suggest what it is and which medications to take for it and it will also check with your doctor whether it is true or not.” said Forbes.

Urging principals to send their students to Wits, Forbes explained to the principals that photonics is an attractive field of study for both students wanting to pursue a photonics career in industry or academics.

“Bring your students to Wits and we will train them.”

Forbes recently received the Special Photonics Award by the National Science and Technology Forum.

Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Adam Habib, who also addressed the principals,  said that Wits is not only attractive because of its high academic rankings, but also because it produces the largest amounts of leaders.

“One of the reasons we produce the largest amounts of leadership figures whether in the corporate  world or not is that we are both cosmopolitan and diverse. We have students of all racial backgrounds and cultural background and about 12 percent of our students are international students.

“This kind of cosmopolitan of diverse environment is absolutely fundamental because if you want to create great graduates, it is not about what they learn in the classroom but what they learn outside the classroom and the fact that they need to grapple with the cosmopolitan world, ” said Habib.