Young SA scientists gear up for international fair

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 25 Aug 2023
Learners receive awards at the Umthatha regional science fair.
Learners receive awards at the Umthatha regional science fair.

The Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF) will kick off in October, after a tour across the country that included regional science fairs in each province.

The ISF is the main event of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists initiative, and will take place in Johannesburg, from 3 to 6 October.

Eskom says over 300 learners from SA and the world will participate, with an online attendance option for those unable to be there in person.

Learners from Namibia and Mozambique attending the ISF are being funded by sponsor Siemens.

Eskom explains the ISF empowers and nurtures talent in underrepresented communities, exposing the youth to new STEM technologies, celebrating young scientists and creating a platform to showcase their talents and innovative projects.

Fredy Mashate, Eastern Cape provincial coordinator for Eskom Expo, says: “We believe the development of young scientists is an ongoing process, and closely related to scientific research. We are keen to see and support a continuous development pathway for our young scientists, as they continue on their research journey.”

Prior to ISF, innovation and research projects from learners in grades four to 12 were shown at regional science fairs across the country.

At the Cape Town version, Cannons Creek School student Claire Woolfaardt won the highly-commended prize for her project on xenotransplantation in the biomedical and medical sciences category.

Cannons Creek School pupils took several other awards, with Hannah Erskine winning a silver medal for her project in the social sciences category, on testing human ability to identify artificially intelligence artwork. The bronze medal and best junior award in the computer sciences and software development category went to Aidan Lang and Daniela Lima Rodriguez, who developed a recycling chatbot.

Other standout projects include the best female category winner in the Mthatha regional science fair, won by Nyanga High School student Lisakhanya Maliwa, who created a small-scale solar-powered water purification system that uses plasma technology.

Vuyiswa Thuto Bakadela and Lina Michael Nodali from Zinyosini Senior Secondary School won best innovation for their idea of building roads using recycled building material mixed with tar.

“Eskom Expo contributes to the strategy to foster skills development and STEMI at the school level,” says Parthy Chetty, Eskom Expo executive director.

“This event not only provides a platform for young scientists to exhibit their innovations, but also exposes them to a realm of career prospects in diverse scientific fields.

“The projects showcased by learners serve as a testament to the potential of our future. We extend heartfelt congratulations to all the medal winners and offer our sincerest wishes for even greater achievements at the much-anticipated Eskom Expo International Science Fair.”

In addition to bursaries and scholarships, learners stand a chance to be selected to present their projects at international science fairs in the US, Asia, Europe and across Africa.