History of the Science Centre

The Potchefstroom Campus Science Centre was launched on 7th May 2005 by Min M Mangena, Minister of Science and Technology.

The Launch of the National Science Week 2008 was organised by the Centre and Minister Mangena conducted the launch. More than three thousand persons attended the launch that was broadcasted on National TV and by radio stations.

The Centre annually presents the National Science Week for the Dr Kenneth Kaunda Educational District in cooperation with the North West Education Department.
The Centre executes programs financed by Department of Science and Technology. 

The programmes include the manufacturing of innovative, creative experiments suitable for use in science centres. Examples are a solar telescope, a car in traffic simulator and a very strong electromagnet (1 T). The magnet has about 6 km copper wire on the coil!

Another programme executed since 2009 is the Astro physics Quiz. The Quiz for North West province is executed by the centre. In 2010 Grade 7 learners from 36 schools in the province participated in the Quiz. The provincial winners from the nine provinces compete in a final round.

The Centre serves as basis for the development of experiments for other centres in SA. Since 2007 apparatus originating in the NWU Science Centre on the Potchefstroom campus were supplied to science centres in KZN, Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape provinces and even across border to the Science Centre at Maseru in Lesotho. The latest addition was a Science Centre on the Mahikeng campus of NWU. This Centre was launched on 30 August 2010 by the Honourable Minister Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology.

Since 2008 ten volunteers were hosted by the Centre. The volunteers are graduates who could not find jobs after graduation. They are paid monthly stipends by DST. These volunteers assist the Centre’s staff in all duties and are given opportunities to further their studies. One volunteer of the first intake is at present enrolled for a PhD in Chemistry.

The Centre is twinned by the Science Centre at the University of Gvle in Sweden. Staff of University of Gvle annually visits NWU Science Centre for about a month and vice versa. These visits are made possible by the Swedish based Linneaus-Palme Foundation. (We have a mutual logo that can maybe inserted here.)

The activities of the Science Centre are governed by an Advisory Board that meets annually. This Board, chaired by the Dean Faculty of Natural Sciences is constituted by University staff, DST executives and provincial representatives.

The policy of the Centre is to be creative and innovative. New experiments are continuously developed in cooperation with Instrumentemakery and staff of the Faculty of Engineering. The Potchefstroom Science Centre is currently run by Mrs Zelda Friesling. 


The Mahikeng Campus Science Centre was established by Prof. JJA Smit with financial support from the DST and NWU. The Centre was officially launched on the 30th August 2010 by the then Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor. The Mahikeng Science Centre is currently run by Lerato Molebatsi.