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Professor Diane Hildebrandt – co-Director for the research Unit Material and Process Synthesis at Unisa

This week we talk to Professor Diane Hildebrandt, who is the co-Director for the research Unit MaPS (Material and Process Synthesis) at Unisa, South Africa. We discuss some of the prominent features in her role to improve process efficiency by developing systems that are cheaper to build, cheaper to operate and less harmful to the environment, as well as her work on converting biomass from household and farming waste into energy. We highlight some of the gender challenges that she encountered in her scientific career, primarily stemming from pervasive stereotypes dictating society’s conventional expectations of girls and women. We note the need to promote creative applications of mathematics in schools to encourage girls to take up the subject as a precursor for a career in the STEM disciplines and the job market of the future. We acknowledge that for Africa to develop we need to have highly trained engineers and scientists to compete in the global village. Tune in for more…

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