Young scientist Christiaan Bauman from Hoërskool Waterkloof in Pretoria has won the fourth prize in the engineering category at the 2019 Taiwan International Science Fair.
Bauman, 16, impressed judges with his project, ‘Mine Safety – The Robotic Way’, which addresses a serious problem experienced world-wide: the lives of miners and civilians being threatened or lost in sub-terrains such as caves. Bauman built and programmed a robot that can be sent into these subterranean spaces where it can detect life forms, map the space and provide rescuers with other critical data.
On being awarded the fourth prize in his category, Bauman says, “I am thankful for receiving the fourth prize; the science fair was a lot of fun. I made friends from New Zealand, Taiwan, Russia, the USA, Canada, and Turkey. It was a lot of fun interacting with learners from other countries I learned a lot about them and their cultures.”
Bauman showcased his science project at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF) in October 2018 and won his place to represent South Africa at the Taiwan fair after being nominated by a panel of academics and professionals. He impressed judges with his ingenuity, depth of knowledge and mastery of inquiry methodology.
“I would like to continue working on my project in the future because I have a lot of new ideas that I would like to pursue,” says Bauman. “Science is a universal language and it teaches you to think creatively and outside of the box. The best part about a science fair is that it teaches you how to think and not what to think.”
Bauman was joined on the tour to Taiwan by Michael Dennis, 18, from Potchefstroom Gimnasium, who also won his place to represent the country at the 2019 Taiwan International Science Fair. Dennis investigated water pollution and developed a management tool for modelling water pollution levels. High levels of phosphates in water bodies are not only toxic, but upset the delicate balance of the ecosystems. Dennis’s modelling tool will enable the management of these phosphate levels.
Dennis plans on furthering his project, and add some of the recommendations he received at the Taiwan fair. He encouraged other promising young scientists to get involved in Eskom Expo.
“I guarantee they will be hooked. I remember my first regional expo – our coordinator was Lydia Maputle and she had such passion, and makes it so much fun that you can’t help but be part of the group – making friends and enjoy the science,” he says.
Eskom Expo Executive Director, Parthy Chetty says, “We are really proud of young Christiaan, who has competed with some of the brightest learners in the world and walked away with yet another accolade. Christiaan is one of many thousands of learners across the country to benefit from the Eskom Expo for young scientists, which creates a platform to grow future scientists and engineers for the country.”
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