Honourable mentions for young SA scientists in high-tech Hong Kong science fair

Two young South African scientists have received honourable mentions after showcasing their technological advancements in the 2021 Virtual Global Youth Science and Technology Bowl (GYSTB) Science Fair in Hong Kong.

Eskom Expo for Young Scientists silver medal winners Kavya Kaushik, 17, a Grade 11 learner at Bryanston High School in Johannesburg and Catherine Kies, a Grade 10 learner at Hoër Meisieskool Bloemhof in Stellenbosch competed virtually against top young scientists from 26 different countries in the highly competitive science fair.

Kaushik, 17, had developed a machine learning model that accurately detects and classifies cardiac arrhythmia beats. This is a critical field of research in artificial intelligence that will assist healthcare workers with making a quick and accurate diagnosis of the type of cardiac arrhythmia.

Kies had developed a hand prosthesis that is operated via the myoelectric impulses from a person’s arm. This entails moving one’s arm, and the exact movement is replicated by a mechanical claw. Kies used various methods and materials to develop the hand prosthesis with remarkable accuracy. The 15-year-old has contributed to a growing body of research on prosthesis control using muscle impulses.

Both learners had been guided by academic staff from the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, as well as specialist mentors in the respective fields before participating in the virtual fair. This was particularly important, because it not only provided them the competitive edge, but also empowered them with new knowledge and skill sets.

Eskom General Manager of Risk and Sustainability, Andrew Etzinger congratulated the duo on their performance in the fair, saying the exposure that results from receiving an honourable mention is quite beneficial, as our local learners proved that girl scientists are influencers in more ways than we realise.

“They influence not only other girls, but generations to follow. Often their perspectives of science, that is the study of the natural world, include a sense of humanity that is greatly needed. This is one of the reasons why Eskom Expo is a leading programme for Eskom – which aims to invest in the development of young scientists and engineers, while encouraging more learners to take up science-orientated subjects and careers,” said Etzinger.

Registration is currently open for participation in Eskom Expo’s 2021 virtual provincial science fairs. Learners in grades 4 to 12 can register and upload project documents, including an abstract, research plan and project report by clicking here. By clicking on the Resources tab on the website, learners can access valuable resources and easy-to-use templates that will assist them with their research projects.

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