Six young Eskom Expo scientists, who presented their innovative research projects at international science fairs in Tunisia and Beijing, have returned home, after each secured

medals in their respective categories.

Keerthana Kishor Nair (Grade 12 at Bryanston High School) and Alexia Hilton Smedmor (Grade 10 at Parktown High School for Girls) competed at the International Festival of Engineering, Science and Technology in Tunisia from 22 to 28 March.

Nair placed in the top 10 of the best performers, achieving a gold medal, while Smedmor received a silver medal.

Nair developed a cost-effective testing device for real-time detection of tuberculosis. Smedmor’s project utilised four different fuel cells as a nature-based technology to bring about environmental remediation to producing energy.

The latest accolades follow their award-winning performance at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair in 2023.

Further east, Nyakallo Nonjabulo Mbongo (Grade 11 at Welkom-Gimnasium High School) and Kiyara Tami Swartbooi (Grade 12 at Port Rex Technical High School in East London), along with Steffan Thielen and Rohan van Loggerenberg (Grade 12 at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch) competed at the Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition (BYSCC) in China from 28 March to 1 April.

Thielen and Van Loggerenberg were awarded gold medals, while Mbongo and Swartbooi received silver medals. Mbongo was also awarded the second prize for the Yanqi Innovation Competition, and received a cash prize of about R5 200.

The four young scientists developed innovative projects ranging from a smart water management system, to a soil restoration, inoculated biochar, to a project that demonstrated an in-depth understanding of an artificial neural network – a model used in machine learning.

Mbongo said: “I am deeply honoured and grateful for the awards I have received. Witnessing the scale and competitiveness at BYSCC was truly eye-opening, especially seeing the remarkable projects presented by other participants.

“This experience reinforced the belief that hard work indeed yields results, and emphasised the importance of pursuing our passions wholeheartedly.”

Mologadi Motshele, acting CEO of the Eskom Development Foundation, comments: “Congratulations to all the young scientists who showcased their exceptional talents and innovative projects at the recent international science fairs.

“Your achievements highlight the immense potential that young minds hold in shaping the future of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI).

“It’s crucial to continue nurturing young scientists from a tender age, providing them with the support, resources and encouragement they need to explore their interests and pursue their passions in STEMI fields.”

The Eskom Expo for Young Scientists is a national science fair, where students showcase their projects centred on their own scientific investigations, or propose solutions to societal challenges.

Upcoming international tours include the Indonesia International Science, Technology and Engineering Competition in Bali; the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in the US; and the Buca International Music, Science and Engineering Energy Fair in Türkiye.

Registration to take part in the 2024 Eskom Expo is open. South African learners in grades four to 12, along with TVET college students (NC2 to NC4) can register their research projects by visiting the expo website.

Source ITWeb:

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