Cape Town Escapades with Foldscope!

To the many Foldscoping thrills ahead of me in Cape Town!

If you were to tell me a year ago that I’d be in Cape Town for a quarter off my university studies, I probably would’ve looked left and right, then accepted my ignorance by saying “Uhh, what? Where exactly is Cape Town, and what’s there for a materials science student like me?” Because 1) my geography isn’t that great, and 2) aren’t there specific study abroad programs that are geared for busy engineers?

Encountering the King Protea (Protea cynaroides) – South Africa’s lovely national flower – at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Well, it was no April Fool’s Day joke when I flew across the globe from California to Cape Town, South Africa on April 1st, and in the 3 weeks that I’ve been here I’ve just repeatedly been saying: WOW.

Wow, because I’ve been kissed by an elephant in Johannesburg, learned new regional dances with UCT students at Molly Blackburn Hall, visited the Slave Lodge and District 6 Museum by the city center, went hiking up Chapman’s peak to marvel at the vast azure sea overlooking a crescent-shaped land, ventured back in time with ancient fossils at the Cradle of Humankind Heritage site, and just today saw penguins sunbathing down at Boulders Beach! Absolutely incredible, so much to take in.

And one of the greatest things I’m looking forward to in conjunction with my explorations of Cape Town are the several workshops that I’ve been putting together for a while now. In the 3 months that I’m here in Cape Town, I’m excited to work with Dorit Hockman at the University of Cape Town (UCT), the Cape Town Science Centre, an NGO IkamvaYouth, and Dr. Lydia-Marie Joubert and the Water Institute at Stellenbosch University.

Joining expert Foldscoper Dorit and her eager Biology students at UCT Health Science’s Anatomy Building
Butterfly wing scales under the Foldscope (courtesy of UCT Lecturer Dorit Hockman)

Additionally, even the random friends I’ve been meeting in my spare time have all been excited by Foldscoping magic! Foldscoping fun makes for great new friends, and there’s so much to be inspired by here in beautiful Cape Town. So remember Grace, look up and take it all in!

Hiking along Yellowwood Trail and surprising unsuspecting friends with the magic of Foldscoping

I’ll try to blog more for what’s ahead during my time here in Cape Town with a diverse and quirky group of Stanford students. And as always, I’m grateful to be a Prakashazoan in my research lab back at Stanford!

My one-of-a-kind Stanford-Cape Town study abroad cohort!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    Looking forward to your explorations. The microinsect life is quite unique in those regions.

  2. RebeccaKonte says:

    Grace, this is so awesome!!! I am so excited that words are escaping me a little haha, but the experiences you described so far sound so interesting — I can’t wait to see what comes next.

  3. dorithockman says:

    So excited for more Foldscope adventures together!

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