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    Discovery in a time of pestilence - lessons from the future for exploration during the pandemic
    (Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), 2021) Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
    Prof Himla Soodyall in conversation with Prof Lee Berger. The global pandemic has left many areas of science in disarray. With international travel curtailed, laboratory spaces and field sites unsuitable due to transmission risks, many research projects have ceased, with scientists often adopting a “wait until we get back to normal” attitude. However, as we find ourselves nearly a year and a half into the pandemic, and as new variants of COVID-19 arise, it is becoming clear that science must adapt to this “new normal”. In this talk and discussion, Professor Berger explored his team’s experiences during COVID-19, how they prepared for the pandemic in advance, and how they invented solutions for working in a COVID-19 world. These novel approaches have not only allowed his teams to keep working during even the height of the pandemic, but have resulted in spectacular new discoveries related to human origins. He also explored what he perceives as the many potential opportunities that have arisen due to these global changes, many of which may have surprisingly long-term positive impact on scientists living and working outside of the global North.