oa South African Journal of Science - Reflecting on the nature of knowledge - leader

Volume 115 Number 5-6
  • ISSN : 0038-2353
  • E-ISSN: 1996-7489



February 1905, George Potts (1877–1948) was appointed the first professor of natural science at Grey University College, Bloemfontein, then a constituent college of the University of the Cape of Good Hope. He had been trained in dairy agriculture in England and obtained a PhD in botany from the University of Halle (1902).1 A council member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science since its foundation in 1902, Potts was president in 1914 of Section C (bacteriology, botany, zoology, agriculture, forestry, physiology, hygiene and sanitary science). In his presidential address to Section C that year, Potts reflected that ‘…to anyone acquainted with university education, BA denotes a man of literature and education, a man of culture, but by contrast, when a BSc is given by the same University it implies a barbaric Goth, a technical expert, a mere specialist, more or less respectable, but not admissible into the cultured caste’2.

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