“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, you can be that generation.” – Nelson Mandela

This quote by former President Nelson Mandela speaks to the idea that we all have the potential to create positive change in the world and that it often takes a collective effort to do so. It’s a reminder that we shouldn’t wait for someone else to step up and make a difference, but rather we should recognize our own power and take action to create a better future for ourselves and those around us.


Technology & Innovation


University of the Witwatersrand and iThemba LABS

What sets Edward Khomotso Nkadimeng, 30, apart is his ability to bridge the gap between academia and industry. He has a keen understanding of how to apply cutting-edge research to real-world problems, which is essential for success in any industry.

Edward’s work has already garnered attention from industry leaders and has been featured in government press releases and national research foundation profile interviews. Edward’s work can revolutionise the way we approach technology and innovation. He is actively involved in technology transfer projects for the Technology and Innovation Platform (TIP) at iThemba LABS.

TIP is aimed at establishing expertise in radiation detectors for accelerator-based sciences and expanding its applications outside of the nuclear and particle physics community. When it comes to supervising and coaching students, Edward had the opportunity to teach students from all academic levels at the School of Physics, Wits University, and co-supervising postgraduate students in the framework of the ATLAS experiment. “

Increasing investment in research and development will be critical, whether through government funding or private-sector partnerships,” he says. “There must be an ongoing effort to improve access to technology and digital infrastructure, particularly in underserved areas. This could involve expanding broadband coverage and providing more affordable devices to improve digital literacy and skills.”

I hold a diverse educational background in the field of physics, with a post-doctoral fellowship, a doctorate, and an honours degree from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. I completed my doctorate in Experimental Particle Physics at the same institution between January 2019 and April 2022. Prior to that, I earned a Bachelor of Science Honors degree in Physics between January 2018 and December 2018. I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Physics and Chemistry from the University of the Free State in Qwa-Qwa between January 2012 and January 2016, where I maintained an average of 70%. My academic journey has provided me with a deep understanding of physics, from the fundamental principles to its most advanced applications. It has also given me the skills necessary to excel as a post-doctoral researcher in the field of experimental particle physics, where I work on cutting-edge research projects related to technology and innovation.

  • Appointed to co-convene the official ATLAS TileCal Phase-2 LV and LV DCS working group (2020-2023) 
  • Appointed to coordinate South Africa’s contribution of the Low Voltage power supply project to CERN (2020-2023) 
  • Recipient of the Carnegie Foundation Postdoctoral award for young researcher (2022) 
  • Recipient of the South African Institute of Physics conference prize for best PhD oral presentation (2021) 
  • Interviewed and profiled by the National Research Foundation for Youth month: Scientists (2021) 
  • Qualified as ATLAS experiment author for ATLAS papers (2022) Selected to participate and present a poster at the Global Young Scientist Summit (2022) 
  • Achieved a pass result for the ATLAS Final Design Review by introducing the latest design of the Electronics for testing control tasks (2020) 
  • Recipient of the IEEE Award for Nuclear and plasma sciences, a program funded and managed by the Department of Science and Technology (2018) 
  • Elected to the South African Institute of Physics Student Representative Forum (2021-2022) 
  • Elected to the Student Representative Council: Academics (UFS) (2017-2018) 
  • Global leadership for change executive member on the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (2017)

One childhood memory that has spurred me to achieve success is my early fascination with computers. I vividly remember spending countless hours tinkering with computer hardware, trying to build a high-performance machine that could handle the latest games. This passion for technology and problem-solving has stayed with me throughout my life and has been a driving force behind my achievements in the tech industry.

As I reflect on my life and the lessons I’ve learned, I would advise my younger self to not be afraid to take risks and try new things. It’s natural to feel comfortable with what we know and resist change, but if we want to grow and progress, we must step out of our comfort zone and embrace new challenges. By taking risks and exploring new opportunities, we expand our horizons and develop the skills necessary to achieve our goals and reach our full potential. It’s important to not let fear hold us back from pursuing our dreams.

Another piece of advice I would give to my younger self is to focus on building strong relationships. Success in life is not just about what we know or what we can do; it’s also about who we know and how well we can work with others. Investing time and effort into building strong relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and mentors is essential. These relationships enrich our lives, open doors to new opportunities, and provide support when facing challenges along the way.

Lastly, I would urge my younger self to prioritise their physical and mental health. Your health is your most valuable asset, and it’s essential to prioritise self-care in your daily routine. Taking care of your physical and mental health should be a priority. Regular exercise, healthy eating, and restful sleep are crucial for maintaining good physical health. If you’re struggling with mental health issues like anxiety or depression, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Neglecting your well-being in pursuit of other goals can harm your overall quality of life, so take the time to care for yourself as it’s the foundation for everything else in your life.

To achieve greater innovation and technological advancement in South Africa, several key areas will need to be addressed over the next five years. Firstly, increasing investment in research and development will be critical, whether through government funding or private-sector partnerships. Secondly, there must be an ongoing effort to improve access to technology and digital infrastructure, particularly in underserved areas. This could involve expanding broadband coverage and providing more affordable devices to improve digital literacy and skills. Thirdly, developing a thriving tech startup ecosystem will be crucial in promoting entrepreneurship and creating opportunities for funding and mentorship. Finally, South Africa should prioritise sustainable and socially responsible innovation, by focusing on advancements that address pressing social and environmental challenges such as climate change, inequality, and healthcare.

View previous winners from 2018 to 2022

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