SA young scientists to compete in Regeneron ISEF in the USA

Seven of South Africa’s finest young scientists will travel to Atlanta, Georgia in the USA to represent the country at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and the Broadcom Masters International Programme from 7 – 13 May 2022.  Learners will showcase their scientific brilliance following their achievements in the 2021 Virtual Eskom Expo International Science Fair.

The selected projects that are entered in the competition, range from research into the aerodynamics of Formula 1 cars, to an efficient cost-effective diagnostic system that can autonomously detect respiratory diseases. More detail is provided on the learners and their projects, below:

 

LEARNER PROJECT

Dashayin Gilbert

Grade 12

Curro Durbanville

Stellenbosch, Western Cape

 

 

Dashayin, a Formula 1 racing enthusiast combined his passion with his problem solving aptitude to investigate the aerodynamics of the cars used. After investigating a number of variables, Dashayin has made several significant findings that help us understand the factors that contribute to improving the aerodynamics of Formula 1 cars.

Audrey Hunn & Sarah Hackland

Grade 10

Protea Heights Academy

Stellenbosch, Western Cape

Audrey and Sarah investigated a comparison between two rocky shore ecosystems on different coastlines along the Southern African coast. Their current research is an important benchmark for future research, due to the long term effects of global warming on the species diversity, abundance and composition at these sites.

Sachin Mohan

Grade 12

Horizon International High School

Gauteng South

Using digital sound analysis, Sachin designed an efficient cost-effective diagnostic system that can autonomously detect respiratory diseases. Sachin’s investigations provide us with new insights into how physical indicators such as sound, temperature and oxygen saturation can be translated into digital data through the re-design and digitisation of traditional tools used by medical professionals.

Michael Shepstone

Grade 11

Somerset College

Stellenbosch, Western Cape

Michael’s research was spurred by the necessity of having clean and sterile environments in health care facilities, specifically after our experiences with COVID-19. Michael’s engineering solution is an automated mechanism capable of cleaning HVAC systems and other flat surfaces in areas and environments where humans cannot.

 

Kutlwano Tshatiwa

Grade 12

Gabonewe High School

Bojanala, North West

Kutlwano used millions of images to test two methods of model training, i.e. a custom model and a knowledge distillation model. He found that knowledge distillation techniques outperformed the custom model in terms of accuracy.

Ra’ees De Witt

Grade 12

Curro Hermanus

Stellenbosch, Western Cape

 

 

Ra’ees found that paracetamol prevalence (state of dissociation) and presence (number of unionised drug molecules) were greatest when the gastric fluid is most acidic. Ra’ees has made several recommendations on how to mitigate the negative effects of gastric pH on the bio-performance of pharmaceutical drugs such as pre-treatment with organic acids.

The group will be joined in the USA by Chaylin Myburgh, originally from Newton Primary School in the Northern Cape, and now attending Kimberley Girls’ High School, who was selected to represent South Africa in the Broadcom Masters International Programme. Although Chaylin will be expected to present her project to the other finalists, the programme is more focused on individual development and leadership. For these reasons, the Eskom Expo panel felt that Chaylin was an excellent candidate.

Chaylin’s project aimed to compare two solar water heaters, mostly made from recycled materials – one with an aluminium can and the other with a steel can – to determine which can heat water the fastest. With the extension of the project, a silicone bottle and glass jar were added to determine whether these materials would allow water to heat faster. It was found that aluminium cans allowed water to be heated the fastest. This could potentially be used when designing new solar water heaters.

“Eskom, being the funder of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, which is the largest science fair in South Africa, is proud to be driving a national initiative that is cultivating young scientists. We are proud of these aspiring scientists who do not only have the opportunity to witness the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution but are becoming active participants as the development unfolds.

All the participants have excelled in their fields of research and are now given an opportunity to represent South Africa, and to present their research projects on the international stage. I am confident that they will represent South Africa honourably and make the country and Eskom proud. We wish them well in the competition,” concluded Nthato Minyuku, Eskom Group Executive for Government and Regulatory Affairs.

The 2022 Regeneron ISEF will be held as a hybrid event (physical and virtual), with a judged competition and the awarding of Grand and Special Awards for in-person and virtual finalists. Our young scientists will compete alongside 1 748 learners from more than 75 countries for nearly R126 million in prizes, including bursaries and various gadgets. All of the ceremonies and major panels will be live- streamed via the Science for Society website.

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