South Africa has made remarkable contributions to the world of science and innovation. From groundbreaking medical advancements to everyday household inventions, South African inventors have left their mark on the global stage. Here are seven South African scientific inventions that you probably didn’t know about.
In 1972, physicists Allan Cormack and Godfrey Hounsfield invented the CAT scan, also known as the Computed Axial Tomography Scan. This revolutionary imaging technique uses X-rays and electronic detectors to generate cross-sectional images of the body.
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Founded in 1950, Sasol (formerly known as the South African Gas Distribution Company) pioneered the production of oil from coal. As the world’s first and largest oil-from-coal refinery, Sasol is the world’s first – and largest – oil-from-coal refinery and it provides 40% of the country’s fuel.
In 1967, South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first heart transplant. The operation was a success and the patient, Louis Washkansky, lived for 18 days after the surgery. Barnard’s achievement made him a global celebrity and helped to pave the way for future heart transplants.
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Professor Mashudu Tshifularo made history in 2019 by performing the first-ever transplant of 3D-printed bones for reconstructive middle ear implants. The patient, a 40-year-old man with a skull defect, received a 3D-printed bone implant that was created using his own cells. The surgery was a success and the patient was recovering well.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) developed the first induced pluripotent stem cells in Africa. This breakthrough in biomedical research facilitated the study of various diseases and potential cures, including cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
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Lodox Systems, a South African company, has developed the world’s only full-body X-ray scanner that can produce high-quality images in just 13 seconds. The scanner is also safer than traditional X-ray systems, emitting up to 10 times less radiation.
The Lodox Critical Imaging Technology was initially developed for use in diamond mines to prevent the smuggling and theft of diamonds by mineworkers.
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The digital laser was developed by doctoral candidate Sandile Nqcobo and CSIR researcher Professor Andrew Forbes. The laser works by using a computer to control the shape and size of the laser beam. This makes it possible to create a wide variety of laser beams, each with its own unique properties.
South Africa has created many scientific inventions that have made a big difference in the world. They have a long history of being innovative and making important discoveries. The scientists and inventors from South Africa keep making valuable contributions to the world.