Dr. Adriana Marais
Space Mining, Going to Space
Theoretical physicist, Head of Innovation at SAP Africa and aspiring extraterrestrial with the Mars One Project
Adriana studied theoretical physics and philosophy at the University of Cape Town. She completed her MSc summa cum laude in quantum cryptography at the in the Quantum Research Group, University of KwaZulu-Natal, and was awarded her PhD in quantum biology at the same institute in 2015. She continued as a postdoctoral researcher studying quantum effects in biology as well as the origins of prebiotic molecules and life itself. Since the beginning of 2017, she has joined the corporate world, in the role of Head of Innovation at SAP Africa, driving digitisation and innovation on the continent.
Adriana has been recognised by the Mail & Guardian as one of 200 Young SA achievers (2014), she was one of 15 recipients worldwide of a L’Oreal-UNESCO International Rising Talent Grant for Women in Science (2015) and she is the 2016 Royal Society of SA Meiring Naude Medal awardee for a young researcher. During 2016 she was selected as one of 400 most qualified young physicists worldwide to attend and speak at the prestigious 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, as well as one of 20 worldwide selected to attend & speak at the Women's Economic Forum in theWomen’s Forum Rising Talents Programme. She is one of 100 astronaut candidates in the running to move to the red planet in the next decade with the Mars One Project. She hopes one day to contribute to the establishment, and potentially detection of evidence of, life on Mars- one of the most profound possible contributions of science to society.