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Change the world


Geosciences academic Dr Gaathier Mahed has just published a 70-page popular book entitled “Mad Scientist” to inform high school students and the general public about what scientists do and their perspective on things.

He tells part of his story of almost failing science at high school and then completing a BSc and MSc in Environmental Science and later a PhD in Geology and shares his views on the world around us through the lens of an earth scientist.

“It actually started out as individual blogs and poems that I have written over the years, whilst overseas and travelling, as well as along with a friend of mine. His idea was to inform the public about geoscience in general and I decided to take it to the next level with the book”, Gaathier says.

He is already completing another book on climate change and is busy with "Memoirs of a mad scientist".

His passion in life is to “find practical solutions to the problems we have and communicate these solutions to the public in the simplest way possible”.

Gaathier used to do stand-up comedy and worked multiple jobs while at university, including promotions and sales. He also worked in consulting and start-ups and even went on TV to pitch for venture capital money for a drilling firm!

He trained in multiple labs globally and had to learn a number of languages including German, Arabic, Dutch and a little French at one stage.

Gaathier’s research at the university is on groundwater science in general, with a focus on the interface between ecology and hydrology. He is also interested in sampling as a science as well as oil and gas and mining impacts on groundwater.

Gaathier was voted one of the Brightest Young Minds in South Africa for the year 2010, Mail and Guardian top 200 Young South Africans to take to lunch for 2011 and a World Islamic Economic Forum Global Young Fellow for 2013.

He received a Nelson Mandela Alumni Society Rising Star Award in 2017 and was also admitted into the Royal Society of South Africa. Gaathier was awarded the Science Faculty Excellent Teacher award for 2018.

“Mad Scientist is on Amazon for 99 American cents - the cheapest option - and the money generated will go back into his research. (

Contact information
Dr Gaarthier Mahed
Executive Deputy Dean: Faculty of Science