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Recharged after science gathering


Chemistry postgraduate meets Nobel laureates

Chemistry PhD student Funeka Nkosi (BSc 2012, BSc Hons 2013) was one of five young South African scientists nominated by the Academy of Science of South Africa to participate in the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany in June this year. These annual meetings call together about 30 Nobel laureates to meet the next generation of leading scientists from all over the world, and foster an exchange of knowledge among disciplines.

“It’s a rare, lifetime opportunity for young scientists,” she said on her return. “This meeting has changed my life. I am inspired, motivated and more knowledgeable and educated.”

Nkosi’s research concerns the performance of lithium-ion batteries, which are used in cellphones, laptops, cameras and electric cars.

She is working on improving the cathode materials in such batteries – specifically manganese-oxide-based materials, which have advantages in terms of performance, cost, environmental impact and local ore reserves.

Listed among the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans, she is already a role model, having started the Green Girls Stem Foundation to support young women in science.