Watch the Space! Expanding Our Imaginations and Our World

Watch the Space! Expanding Our Imaginations and Our World 2016-11-10T17:04:41+00:00

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Science Talk
Presenter: Dr Adriana Marais, Foundation for Space Development SA, South Africa
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maraisDr Adriana Marais
Foundation for Space Development SA, South Africa
Presenter

Dr Adriana Marais, theoretical physicist and aspiring extraterrestrial, believes that we are living at a unique point in the history of life on Earth. Developments in science and technology are taking place at an unprecedented rate, and the expansion of our society beyond this planet is within reach. In her presentation she talks about her research in quantum biology and the origins of life, the technology required to sustain terrestrial life on Mars and the various projects aiming to send crewed missions there. She describes how the establishment, and potential discovery of evidence of, life on Mars, would be one of the most profound possible contributions of science to humanity. Adriana studied theoretical physics and philosophy at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (SA). She completed her MSc summa cum laude in quantum cryptography at the University of KwaZulu-­‐Natal (UKZN), and was awarded her PhD in quantum biology at the same institute in 2015. She is a member of the Quantum Research Group established by Prof Francesco Petruccione at UKZN, doing research in quantum biology, studying quantum effects in photosynthesis as well as the origins of prebiotic molecules and life itself. Adriana has been recognised by the Mail & Guardian as one of 200 Young SA achievers (2014), she was one of 15 recipients worldwide of a L’Oreal-­‐UNESCO International Rising Talent Grant for Women in Science (2015) and she is the 2016 Royal Society of SA Meiring Naude Medal awardee for a young researcher. This year she attended the prestigious 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting as one of 400 most qualified young physicists selected worldwide, and has recently attended the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico, to present her research on quantum astrobiology, and hear Elon Musk’s keynote “Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species”. Since childhood, Adriana has dreamed of living on another planet, and is currently one of the 100 Mars One Project astronaut candidates in the running to move to the red planet in 2026. She hopes one day to continue her research on Mars. She believes that education comes with the responsibility to share knowledge, and while still on Earth, is actively involved in the promotion of science and space exploration as Special Project Coordinator for the Foundation for Space Development SA, an exciting initiative of which is the Africa2Moon project. She is grateful for the platform she has as a Mars One candidate to inspire school children, teenagers and adults around South Africa and abroad to get excited about science, believe in their dreams and remember Nelson Mandela’s words “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.
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