Prof. Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, an internationally recognised palaeobiologist, was the winner of the science and technology category and the overall winner of the Shoprite Checkers / SABC 2 Woman of the Year Award in 2005. She is an outstanding scientist who has earned international acclaim as a professor of palaeobiology. Her innovative research on the microstructure of fossil bone has led to a significant advancement in the field and to a better understanding of the biology of a variety of extinct animals – from the world renowned mammal-like reptiles of South Africa through to dinosaurs and early birds. Her work has been recognised locally and internationally, and in a field where there are very few women she has achieved several awards in recognition of research excellence.
Prof. Chinsamy-Turan uses the biological signals recorded in the bone microstructure of modern animals to interpret the microscopic structure of bones of extinct animals, leading to a better appreciation of their growth and biology. Her pioneering work of using bone microstructure to develop growth curves and interpretation of biological signals of extinct animals such as lifestyle adaptations, age and longevity has formed the basis of much of the current research of many palaeobiologists in this field. Professor Chinsamy-Turan has published extensively in highly reputable international journals, as well as in the popular media. In June 2005 she published the first book devoted entirely to fossil bone microstructure entitled “The Microstructure of Dinosaur Bone - Interpreting Biology through Fine Scale Techniques” (John Hopkins University Press, USA). In April 2008 her first children’s book entitled “Famous Dinosaurs of Africa” (Struik, SA) was launched by the Minister of Science and Technology at Scifest Africa – the biggest science festival on the continent.
Prof. Chinsamy-Turan is highly committed to promoting science in South Africa and she plays a pivotal role in stimulating interest in science among the general public and particularly among previously disadvantaged communities, women and girls. Her role within high-ranking bodies in science – NRF (National Research Foundation), SAASTA, Academy of Science of South Africa, and SAWISE - has assisted her in raising the profile of women in science and contributed significantly towards development of research capacity in South Africa.
She says since winning the award her profile and status as a scientist has been raised among the general public, and in so doing, raised the profile of science in society. “Winning the Award gave me a fantastic platform to talk about science; for example, I have had access to large numbers of people, especially through radio and TV interviews, as well as through the printed media, and I have therefore been able to communicate more effectively about science, and career opportunities in science.”
Her message for nominees is that winning the Award is an exceptional public recognition and acknowledgement of what one does in terms of upliftment of society, and it gives a tremendous boost to all future work that you do.
In terms of her own future Prof. Chinsamy-Turan says she plans to continue to be a professional scientist working at the forefront of her discipline, as well as to contribute meaningfully to developing South Africa’s scientific and technological community.
Three finalists have been announced in each of the five categories of the 2012 Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award.
The names of the judges who will select this year's Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year, have been announced.
As the 2012 Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year Award enters its judging phase, the winners of 2011 tell of how they are utilizing the prize money received from the Shoprite Group of Companies, to enhance their work and build a better future for the people of South Africa.
Women of the Year Office
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