South Africa is a country on the southernmost tip of the African continent, marked by several distinct ecosystems. South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost sovereign state in Africa. It is confined on the south by 2,798 kilometers of coastline of Southern Africa extending along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, on the north by the adjacent countries of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and on the east by Mozambique and Swaziland, and surrounding the kingdom of Lesotho.
South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area, and with close to 53 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. South Africa has a miscellaneous economy, the second largest in Africa after Nigeria. It also has a relatively great GDP per capita compared to other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa ($11,750 at PPP as of 2012). Despite this, South Africa is still troubled by a relatively high rate of poverty and unemployment, and is also ranked in the top 10 countries in the world for income inequality, measured by the Gini coefficient. Several important scientific and technological developments have initiated in South Africa.
The first human-to-human heart transplant was performed by cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard at Groote Schuur Hospital in December 1967, Max Theiler developed a vaccine against yellow fever, Allan McLeod Cormack pioneered x-ray computed tomography, and Aaron Klug developed crystallographic electron microscopy techniques. With the exception of that of Barnard, all of these advancements were recognised with Nobel Prizes. Sydney Brenner won most recently, in 2002, for his pioneering work in molecular biology. The Nobel Prize is an yearly, international prize first granted in 1901 for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace. An associated prize in Economics has been granted since 1969.