Eskom Expo honours Western Cape young scientists

Cooking food without electricity is possible, using a solar oven, which would be of extreme convenience for people who don’t have access to electricity and could save those who do have electricity some money.

This is one of the findings of Nicke Lategan from Hoërskool Bloemhof, who won an Eskom Award for Best Female Project – one of four such awards.

The Eskom Award for best Energy Project went to Benjamin van Niekerk from Laerskool Lochnerhof. He compared electric and internal combustion engine vehicles as to their practical, economic, and environmental impacts. He found that at present there is very little difference.

“These projects demonstrated the kind of research approach that the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists endeavours to cultivate amongst school learners,” says Cecil Ramonotsi, CEO of the Eskom Development Foundation. It is part of Eskom’s broader strategy of skills development, investing in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and innovation (STEMI) subjects at school level.

Other Eskom special awards went to:

  • Best Development Project: Aidan Gebbie from the South Peninsula High School researched the sustainability of a numerical simulation and its ability to generate wealth. He used the principles of mathematical game theory to create a numerical system to test self-sufficiency of a general system involving bodies that work in favour and against a system. This simulation is a widely observed general scenario that can be applied to many real-world instances.
  • Best Innovation Project: Joaline Delport from Hoërskool Hermanus found that reed coffins decomposed most effectively and can take the place of wooden coffins in future.

One of 45 gold medals awarded went to Aaliyah Sonnie from Pinelands High whose project proved that one’s socio-economic status is not a determinant when it comes to global warming awareness, and that greater action towards preventing global warming is closely linked to greater awareness of the issue.

“What is of interest to learners and encourages them to follow a specific field of research, will always be fascinating. How the times they are living through motivate them to consider solutions to those challenges is an inspiration to us adults,” says provincial coordinator of the Eskom Expo, Lyndon Manas.

The standard of entries was particularly high this year according to Lyndon. This was despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent disruption of regular schooling.

It did not stop school learners from entering excellent research projects for the country’s oldest and most prestigious science fair. A wide range of subjects was covered, ranging from engineering to energy. But top of the list was social sciences.

The Western Cape awards event is one of nine provincial events leading into the final Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF), which will be held on 8 October. The ISF will include participants from 35 regions in South Africa and some African countries.

Now in its 41st year, the Eskom Expo is endorsed by the Department of Public Enterprises, Department of Science and Innovation, the Department of Basic Education and has also received recognition from the Presidency. It sees learners presenting their scientific research work to judges, professionals from the private sector, academics, scientists, educators, learners from other schools, parents as well as other interested members from the general community.

Watch the awards ceremony here.

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