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World-class isotope lab opens at Wits


Facility for high-precision experiments in geosciences, medicine and palaeosciences

The new, ultra-clean, metal-free Wits Isotope Geoscience Laboratory, based in the School of Geosciences at Wits, is a boon for scientists from a wide range of disciplines. It allows them to perform high precision, contamination-free experiments aimed at separating elements and isotopes from a range of natural materials.

“Instead of shipping our samples to Europe at a huge cost, scientists in Southern Africa will have a world-class facility on their doorstep,” says the lab’s Director, Wits graduate Dr Grant Bybee (BSc 2008, BSc Hons 2009, PhD 2013).

High precision analysis of elements and isotopes is extremely important in geosciences, but also used in medicine – for example in the diagnosis of cancer and bone diseases – and in palaeosciences for establishing the origin, movement patterns and diets of now extinct animals, including our human ancestors.