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Dr Adriana Marais

Dr. Marais studied theoretical physics and philosophy at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (SA). She completed her MSc summa cum laude in quantum cryptography at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), and was awarded her PhD in quantum biology at the same institute. She continued as a postdoctoral researcher in the Quantum Research Group established by Prof Francesco Petruccione at UKZN, doing research in quantum biology, studying quantum effects in photosynthesis as well as the origins of prebiotic molecules and life itself. 

Since the beginning of 2017, she has left academia for 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 recipients 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. 

Since childhood, Dr. Marais has dreamed of living on another planet, and is currently one of the 100 Mars One Project astronaut candidates in the running to move to the red planet in the next decade. She hopes one day to continue her research on Mars. 

She believes that education comes with the responsibility to share knowledge, and while still on Earth, is actively involved in the promotion of science and space exploration as Special Project Coordinator for the Foundation forSpace Development SA, an exciting initiative of which is the Africa2Moon project. She is grateful for the opportunity she has, as a Mars One candidate to inspire school children, teenagers and  adults around South Africa and abroad to get excited about science, believe in their dreams and remember Nelson Mandela’s words “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.