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George Neser in 1973

GO Neser

1901 - 1988

The Doyen of science education in South Arica
Co-Author of school books and the Afrikaanse Kinderensiklopedie

George Oloff Neser was born on 18 June1901 in Poortjiesfontein, district Hanover in the Karoo. He matriculated from the Hoër Jongenskool in Paarl and studied at the University of Stellenbosch (BSc, HPOD and BEd, all cum laude), where he was a member of the "Studenteraad" and chair of "Die Wetenskaplinge Vereeniging". In 1926 he started as science teacher at Hoër Volkskool in Graaff-Reinet. Three years later he accepted the position of senior teacher at Hoër Jongenskool in Paarl, where he remained until 1958.

In 1940 he was married to Ruth Dodds, a music teacher at the girls school, in 1940. They had two daughters: Anne and Elizabeth. G O Neser died on 1 November 1988.
Memberships and activities:
1929 - 1949, full member of the American Chemical Society
1930: Science Editor of Die Unie
From 1939 member of Suid-Afrikaanse Vereniging vir die Bevordering van die Wetenskap
Member of the Archeological, Botanical and Astronomical Societies
1959 President of the Cape Science teachers Association and founder of Die Wetenskaponderwyser - The Science Teacher
He organised sports events for the school and was chair of the Plattelandse Skole-atletiek-unie.
He co-authored school books and contributed to the Afrikaanse Kinderensiklopedie (children's encyclopaedia)

Quote: you have a brilliant future behind you
Billy Middleton to Neser

Awards and Honours:

First to be awarded the Medal of Honour (Erepenning) of the South African Alliance of Science teachers (Federasie van Suid-Afrikaanse Verenigings van Wiskunde- en Wetenskaponderwysers), 1971
First to be awarded the Academy Award for the advancement of Science, 1975.


Natuur- en Skeikunde vir Senior Sertifikaat, 1937
Skeikunde vir Senior Sertifikaat, 1939
Gekoordineerde Algemene Wetenskap, 1968
Basiese Senior Natuur- en Skeikunde, 1969

Neser cartoonFrom the Boy's High School Annual 1957:

In 1930, he ground his own parabolic mirror for a big telescope...
He has devised many a useful gadget and pieces of apparatus for the science laboratory. The sundial in front of the school - his designs and construction. The sundial at Arbeidsgenot, Langenhoven's home, was constructed and erected by him, on request. Indeed a man of many parts.
His best subjects were Mathematics and Science, but imagine my surprise, when on turning the pages of the 1917 and 1918 Annuals, I came upon his contributions written not in prose but in verse:

Thoughts of home

When the day of toilsome labours,
Long has had its curtain drawn,
And the moon's, 'mid silvry splendor'
Does the sky above adorn.
And my spirit sore depressed,
By the happ'nings of the day,
Seems to quit the dim surroundings
And goes wandring far away.
Far o'er mountains, valley river,
To the sweet parental home,
Where in childhood's happy hours
Once my infant feet did roam.

Click photos to enlarge
First to receive the Academy Award for the advancement of Science, 1975
First to receive the Academy Award for the advancement of Science, 1975
Erepenning vir wetenskaplike vordering, 1975
van die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns
Presenting his naughts and crosses - machine in 1954
Presenting his 'Naughts and crosses' - machine in 1954
A sundial for Langenhoven
1973: A sundial for Langenhoven at Oudtshoorn
From left: D.v.d. Riet Wooley (Chief Astronomer), G O Neser, Sarah Goldblatt (Langenhoven's former assistant and executioner of his will), Jannie de Villiers, (Rector of Stellenbosch University) and Bun Booyens


Cartoon found in Boy's high School Annual 1957 * * * Information from a book on the Neser family written by J.M. Neser (Pretoria) in 1994 on G.O. Neser (submitted by Charl J. Neser) * * * Photos provided by Anne Labuschagne, G O Neser's daughter, September 09
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