Inaugural and Senate lectures
The rite of passage to become a professor in a university has for hundreds of years included the test of having to profess your knowledge to a lay audience and fellow academics. Indeed, the origin of the title 'professor' comes from the need to profess, or declare publicly, one’s knowledge.
In a world of rapidly increasing quantities of knowledge, more and more specialisation takes place. One danger of this trend is that knowledge becomes isolated or ‘siloed’ and therefore fails to benefit from collective thinking and cross-pollination of ideas. It is in this context that we must see the challenge of professing knowledge with the general public and the larger academic community. It is no simple matter. It requires an ability to conceptualise highly technical and abstract matters and to express them in commonly used language, often through analogy, allowing people who have not had the privilege to grapple with the subject for extended periods to quickly grasp the elements at play.
The Inaugural Lecture is thus a platform for newly appointed professors to share their brilliant discoveries, innovative ideas and deep insights with the public and the larger academic community. Additionally, these events allow for random connections to be made that are so beneficial for the creative process we call science. Professionals and academics gain a unique opportunity to engage across knowledge boundaries for the benefit of humankind. Wits University is a proud host of such an inaugural lecture series. Our esteemed professors carry extensive knowledge capable of driving Africa towards improved social justice and a knowledge economy.