This book describes how dedicated people in the Faculty of Natural Sciences succeeded in building a proud faculty with an illustrious past.

Book tells faculty’s century-old story

A prestigious publication telling the inspiring 100-year-old story of the Faculty of Natural Sciences on the NWU’s campus in Potchefstroom was recently published.

Compiled by experienced historian Dr Elize van Eeden, the book, “ ‘n Bekroonde nalatenskap: Die Fakulteit Natuurwetenskappe van die NWU oor 100 jaar”, was introduced to faculty staff and guests at a special event.


During this event, Prof Kobus Pienaar, the dean of the faculty, expressed the hope that this story would inspire the current and future staff and students and support them in their work.


“Readers can expect to read about how enthusiastic people managed to deliver great scientific contributions and equip their students. They succeeded in building a proud faculty, often in difficult times and despite many obstacles.”


Former deans of the Faculty of Natural Sciences attended the event during which the faculty’s history book was introduced. They are Prof Pieter Stoker (1977 to 1982), Prof Carools Reinecke (1983 to 1985), Prof Jan Geertsema (1990 to 1998), Prof Daan van Wyk (1999 to 2006) and Prof Kobus Pienaar (current dean). With them is Prof Elize van Eeden, the editor and author of the book.


Travel back in time


The faculty was established in 1922, but its roots date back to 1869, when the School of Theology of the Reformed Church in Burgersdorp was established. Later on this school became part of the Potchefstroom University College and, from 1951, the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education (PU for CHE). It has been part of the NWU since 2004.


Kobus said the faculty was never isolated and had in the past housed training programmes in fields such as pharmacy and engineering, even before full faculties developed later on.


Character of its own


He said researching the events revealed how the school had developed its own school of thought, rooted in typical natural sciences thinking, including the primacy of data-based conclusions and the precision associated with the mathematical sciences.


“The faculty was always research driven and the development of an own value system of service, dedication and the importance of a subject philosophy was especially clear,” Kobus said.


Share the story


“The current faculty has a particularly proud past that has to be shared, especially with alumni, employees and academics nationally and internationally.”


Writers and researchers in the 18 subject fields and five research entities contributed to recording this history.


During the event a copy of the book was presented to Prof Fika Janse van Rensburg, the acting campus rector, as well as to representatives of various institutions. An electronic version of the book is available free of charge at http://hdl.handle.net/10394/20995.


For a printed copy of the book, contact Lizelle le Roux at 018 299 2301.



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