Rhodes to honour Turok, Brenner and MhlopheDate Released: Tue, 8 April 2014 13:00 +0200
RHODES University will confer honorary degrees on three outstanding South Africans during graduation later this week.
- South African-born Dr Sydney Brenner, who was awarded a Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine in 2002;
- Author, poet and actress Gcina Mhlophe; and
- Mathematical physics expert Professor Neil Turok.
They will be honoured at separate ceremonies in Grahamstown.
Brenner will receive a Doctor of Science degree for his involvement in the coelacanth genome sequence project with Rhodes academics.
Completed in 2012, the first results were published recently in the international journal, Nature.
Mhlophe will be honoured with a Doctor of Literature degree while Turok will receive a Doctor of Laws for his contribution to mathematical physics.
Brenner has been directly involved in genetic code and human genome breakthroughs since the 1950s when he worked with the English molecular biologist Francis Crick on elucidating the genetic code.
Born in Germiston in 1927, Brenner went to Oxford University in 1952 after completing his medical degree at Wits University the previous year.
"By then I had already decided that I wanted to pursue a research career and that I needed to go abroad because I would rather be a small frog in a big pond than a large tadpole in a big pond. South Africa was also very isolated then and the politics were not acceptable," he said in his 2001 autobiography.
Mhlophe - a celebrated South African storyteller, author, poet, actress, playwright and director - has travelled the world, sharing her stories and poetry and has been writing and performing on stage and screen for 24 years.
She has received four other honorary doctorates from the London Open University, University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of Pretoria and the University of Fort Hare.
Turok is currently the director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, in Ontario, Canada.
A Rhodes statement said they were recognising Turok's substantive scholarly contribution in mathematical physics - which was particularly pertinent in light of the country's ongoing efforts of working to enhance capacity in maths and science as well as simultaneously beginning to make impressive strides globally in physics and astronomy through the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.
Source: Daily Dispatch