Alex Oelofse, a recent Michaelis graduate was part of Seamester 2018
6 Aug 2018 - 10:45
Photo: Tenzin Philips - Broken Glass
Alex Oelofse, a recent graduate, was fortunate to be a part of Seamester 2018, South Africa’s class afloat organized by the Head of Oceanography at UCT, Prof. Isabelle Ansorge. Seamester takes place on the SA Agulhas II, a scientific research vessel owned by the Depart of Environmental Affairs. Prof. Ansorge started the program to give students studying in the field of marine sciences the opportunity to have hands on experience on a research vessel, as well as a broad spectrum of learning material and lectures from experts in their various fields from multiple universities across South Africa.
Alex’s involvement was running a Foldscope program with the students as part of the ‘Art at Seas’ program. He gave students an introductory lecture on photography and gave each student their very own Foldscope. The Foldscope, designed by Manu Prakash and Jim Cybulski, in layman’s terms is a foldable microscope made on origami principles. It allows the viewer to collect samples, place it in slides and observe it at 140 times magnification through their mobile phone cameras. He ran a daily practical sessions where he guided students through the assembly process and sent them off on their personal adventures to find samples for their slides, which they would then photograph. It was truly fascinating to explore a world in such magnification.
Students brought some interesting samples, including bee wings, cheek cell swabs, broken glass, blue cheese and the list goes on. All the students had the opportunity to print and exhibit two of their best photographs, which was displayed for one day onboard the vessel for everyone to admire.
Being involved with Seamester and ocean study was an extension of Alex’s undergraduate concerns in his art making, which focused on global warming and environmental issues.