Discoveries in a time of pestilence: new findings and the future of exploring human origins in South Africa

ESRF Webinar
Start Date
25-02-2022 14:00
End Date
25-02-2022 15:30
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Coordinator contact(s)
Anne-Françoise Maydew

Scientific contact(s)
Patrick Bruno

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#ESRFscience Live Online Seminars

"Discoveries in a time of pestilence: new findings and the future of exploring human origins in South Africa

Friday, February 25th, 2:00 p.m.

Presented by Professor Lee Berger, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa

The global pandemic has left many areas of science in disarray. With international travel curtailed, laboratory spaces and field sites unsuitable due to transmission risks, many research projects have ceased, with scientists often adopting a “wait until we get back to normal” attitude. However, as we find ourselves nearly two years into the pandemic, and as new variants of COVID-19 arise, it is becoming clear that science must adapt to this “new normal”.

In this talk and discussion, Professor Berger will explore his team’s experiences during COVID-19, how they prepared for the pandemic in advance, and how they invented solutions for working in a COVID-19 world. These novel approaches have not only allowed his teams to keep working during even the height of the pandemic, but have resulted in spectacular new discoveries related to human origins. He also explored what he perceives as the many potential opportunities that have arisen due to these global changes, many of which may have surprisingly long-term positive impact on scientists living and working outside of the global North.


Funding: The organisation of this online seminar series is supported by STREAMLINE, a European project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870313.