A group of exceptional young scientists from South Africa were awarded after successfully showcasing their scientific research at the Grand Final of the Indonesia International Science, Technology and Engineering Competition (ISTEC) in Bali.
The four learners, who were all awarded medals, had won the opportunity to present their research projects at the ISTEC from 10 to 14 May 2023 while competing at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF), which was held in December 2022.
Luke Boswell, a Grade 9 learner at Pearson High School in Port Elizabeth, was awarded a gold medal for the research project entitled, “Investigating the performance and output of the Savonius, Darrieus and Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines”. Boswell created his own miniature wind turbines to determine which type of wind turbine, performing at different wind speeds, produced the most power. He said: “It was an honour to win a gold medal at the ISTEC. When I first joined Eskom Expo, I never thought I would make it this far, and winning this medal signifies more of what’s to come with the Expo in the future. The ISTEC was such an amazing experience, other than the competition itself, I got to meet so many new people and make memories that I will never forget.”
Another gold medal winner at the competition, was Matthew Crouch, a Grade 10 learner at Paul Roos Gimnasium in Stellenbosch, who showcased his research project, “The use of UV Light to delay ripening and prevent decay of plums”. Crouch sought to delay the ripening process using Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) treatment, which extends the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables. “It was a good competition to work towards. I learnt so much about the different cultures in Indonesia. I’d like to encourage future young scientists to be curious about everything and not afraid to ask questions. Be passionate about what you do and look at negative results or failures as growth experiences on a journey to ultimate success,” he said.
Zariah Parker, a Grade 10 learner at Star College Cape Town, was awarded a silver medal for the research project, “A solution to Styrofoam pollution: The effectiveness of turning Styrofoam waste into an adhesive”. Parker used different solvents to test which one makes an efficient homemade glue. “Taking part in this science fair has been an amazing experience and it has granted me with many new opportunities. I had lots of fun, learnt many new things, tried new foods, met wonderful young scientists, saw amazing views and made unforgettable memories. Future young scientists should remember that science is not just a collection of facts and formulas; it is a journey of wonder, curiosity, and relentless pursuit. Embrace the beauty of the unknown, relish in the joy of discovery, and let your passion for science light your path.”
Another silver medal winner was Ndzhaka Mukela Siweya, a Grade 12 learner at Khanyisa Learning Centre in Giyani, Limpopo, who showcased his research project, entitled, “Does weight affect piezoelectric output on shoe insoles?” Siweya used three different tests to measure the voltage produced and the durability of the shoe sole to find a sustainable power source to keep the lights on. He said: “I was in disbelief when I heard my name being called to receive a silver medal. A surge of joy flowed through me and I was so grateful. Taking part in the competition was an educating experience, because under the engineering category, learners could incorporate computer science projects, so I learned a lot. I will surely do the same on my next Eskom Expo project.”
Sumaya Nassiep, the CEO of the Eskom Development Foundation, extended her warm congratulations to the young scientists for their remarkable achievements. “As the funder of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, we wish to recognise the dedication, passion, and hard work of the medal-winning learners. Their exceptional accomplishments at the ISTEC highlights the significance of their contributions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and innovation (STEMI). It also emphasises the importance of the Expo nurturing a strong interest in STEMI among learners,” she said.
Encouraging more future young scientists to explore the STEMI fields, Nassiep underscored the potential for future breakthroughs and advancements that could positively impact society. Her words served as an inspiring call to action, inviting young minds to embrace the wonders of STEMI and pursue their scientific passions with enthusiasm and determination.
Registration to take part in 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 projects by clicking here.