A student conducting a chemistry experiment at the Wits Science Stadium. The university has psycho-social programmes to identify and nurture learners from disadvantaged high schools who show promise in science and mathematics. Photo: Tanyaradzwa Nyamajiya

The Science Inside brings chemistry of another kind to campus via VoW FM airwaves. Photo: Wits Vuvuzela

By Pheladi Sethusa and Paul McNally

Wits campus radio station, VoW FM (90.5), debuted a pioneering science show called “The Science Inside” last night.

The show  aims to teach listeners about science in new and interesting ways. The show produced by The Wits Radio Academy with funding from The Department of Science & Technology, takes major news events and goes into the science behind them. 

According to presenter Paul McNally, the show is committed to science education in a climate where South Africans consider knowledge of political parties superior to chemistry (and by extension corruption-uncovering journalists are deemed more worthy than science journalists). This is a perception the show hopes to chip away at, as our science and maths education was ranked second last in the world last year, just ahead of Yemen, according to a World Economic Forum Report. 

In the pilot episode Deejay Manaleng explained how a pepper spray was dropped in a girls’ bathroom. The gas escaped across the toilet and up to the ceiling. She giggled at the memory of her running out of the toilet cubicle of a packed club spluttering and coughing. She starts to cackle when she explains how each girl – for the rest of the night – squeezed into the cubicle, pulled down her pants and burnt her ass. “They were screaming,” she laughed into the microphone.

The episode with Deejay then focused on chemical weapons in Syria – a macabre and bloody topic – but the pepper spray story helped ease the tension before investigating the technology behind complicated killing machines. One of the experts on the show cited pepper spray as the world’s simplest chemical weapon.

Next Monday the show will look at the science inside South Africa’s ARV shortage. Tune in live every Monday at 6pm or stream/download the Science Inside podcasts on soundcloud.