A senior scientist – the only one practising her specific discipline in the country – was the lone representative of the scientific community at last week’s National Orders ceremony, The New Age reports.
Dr Patience Mthunzi said that being honoured with the Order of Mapungubwe “came as a surprise and I still aspire to invent great things in my life as a scientist.” Having obtained her PhD from Scotland’s St Andrews University, Mthunzi is a senior scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) National Laser Centre.”I am resolutely pushing myself even further for the love of science. Laser technology and its beneficial use for mankind makes me tick. I am more determined than ever to continue on this track,” she said. Her speciality allows her to separate sick cells from healthy ones non-invasively, using near-infrared laser sources. This holds promise for treating degenerative diseases such as cancer. The Order of Mapungubwe, The New Age says, represents ingenuity and excellence and is awarded for exceptional achievement, exactly what the country’s only practising PhD in biophotonics has done. “I am driven by passion and interest and have only one message for my fellow scientists and researchers: ‘Put your heart and soul into your work’,” Mthunzi said.