The Eskom Expo International Science Fair, held in Johannesburg this week, celebrated the accomplishments of young scientists from South Africa and around the world.
According to Eskom, over 300 learners from SA attended the expo, and 23 full bursaries, valued at up to R450 000 each, were awarded to the winners. Other prizes included cash, tablets, laptops and work exposure opportunities.
Mologadi Motshele, acting CEO of the Eskom Development Foundation, praised the young scientists for their hard work and innovation.
She emphasised the increasing role of young women in the STEM fields, saying gender should never be a barrier to making a significant impact on society.
Siemens, Innomotics, Siemens Energy, Babcock International, Ekurhuleni Drums, Trisim Logistics, National Institute for Theoretical and Computational Sciences and several universities were among the prize sponsors for the event.
There were four special awards in the categories of best female, best development, best energy and best innovation projects.
Likitha Chundru, a Grade 11 learner from Bryanston High School, received the best female award and the Meiring Naudé Award for her project that focused on increasing the germination and growth of non-legume plants using Rhizobium bacteria.
The best development award went toAmogelang Mampane from Soshanguve Automotive School of Specialisation, who presented a project that showcased his technical knowledge of electric cars.
Keerthana Nair from Bryanston High School in Johannesburg won the best innovation project award for developing a method for detecting tuberculosis in sputum.
The best energy award went to Sithembile Hlehliso and Kabelo Sekoere from Senakangwedi High School in the Free State. The pair presented a project that investigated ways to improve the efficiency of solar panels.
Lethabo Molobi from Zinniaville Secondary School was awarded the University of Pretoria/Dr Derek Gray Memorial Award for the research project: "Can humans recognise text produced by AI chatbots?”
This award includes the Derek Gray Gold Medal, attendance at the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar during Nobel Week, and a three-year study bursary in the sciences or engineering at the University of Pretoria.