SA teens to compete in high-tech Hong Kong science fair

During Youth Month, two South African teens will represent South Africa at the 2022 Global Youth Science and Technology Bowl (GYSTB) Science Fair to be held in Hong Kong, from 10 to 12 June 2022.

The GYSTB is an online international student science project competition in biology, chemistry, physics and engineering in Hong Kong. The competition is a showcase of global youth scientific achievement and innovation, which aims to promote science and technology, provide a platform for global youth to develop their creativity and scientific mindsets, and facilitate the exchange of scientific ideas, interests and abilities among young scientists all over the world.

Nicolaas Moolman, an 18-year-old Grade 12 learner at Hoërskool Volksrust in Mpumalanga’s Gert Sibande region, and Jaco Jacobs, a 17-year-old Grade 12 learner at Outeniqua Hoërskool in the Western Cape’s Eden Karoo region have been selected by the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists to represent the country virtually at the event.

Moolman’s research addressed both food shortages and the control of alien plants. He investigated whether invasive plants could be used to prevent microbial spoilage of fresh food products. Microbial spoilage of fresh food is a global problem, which not only comes at a high cost, but, if controlled, could prevent millions from going hungry. On the other hand, invasive alien plants are taking over natural habitats and threatening local bio-diversities. The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment defines invasive alien plants as those species that are exotic and non-indigenous to an ecosystem. This research project was chosen for the Hong Kong Global Youth Science and Technology Bowl because of its global appeal.

Jacobs investigated automated inflation and pressure regulation for recreational and professional cyclists. Jacobs was selected to compete in the GYSTB because of his extensive knowledge and flair for engineering design, and his understanding of the variables that affect cycling performance. His fourth prototype 3D printed design automatically adjusts tyre pressure, while moving. Using an air release valve that is designed to work with a servo motor, the prototype has a mountable housing for the electronics. The young scientist wrote the code that enables the device to manage incoming data, such as low pressure, and adjust the tyre pressure accordingly.

Eskom Group Executive for Government and Regulatory Affairs, Nthato Minyuku, congratulated the young scientists on their achievement and said: “through Eskom Expo for Young Scientists South Africa’s future innovators get to participate and compete in international science fairs while still learners at school level”. “Not only will this contribute to their personal development and global exposure, it also gives our youth an opportunity to raise the South African flag high in this prestigious international competition,” further stated Minyuku.

The Eskom Expo for Young Scientists is funded by the Eskom Development Foundation, whose Chief Executive Officer, Cecil Ramonotsi, explains: “The primary aim of the Eskom Expo is to encourage our youth to get involved in science, technology, engineering, maths, and innovation, thus expanding the country’s skills base. Therefore, we are encouraged by the aspiring scientists’ representation of the country at the Global Youth Science and Technology Bowl Science Fair as this is in line with the Eskom Development Foundation’s objectives.”

Young scientists from all over the world will compete for the grand prizes. The awards ceremony will stream live at 14:15 on 12 June 2022 via Facebook. Click here to watch.

Registration to take part in the 2022 Eskom Expo is open. Learners in grades 4 to 12, along with learners from TVET colleges that are in NC2 to NC4, can register their own research projects by visiting our website. Learners can register their project by clicking here. To access resources and easy-to-use templates, click here.

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