Young scientists shine at Johannesburg regional expo

The Johannesburg regional finals of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists saw a number of promising researchers from the region display their science and innovation research projects.

A total of 152 learners from the region gathered at the Wits University Flower Hall on 23 July to showcase their innovative science, engineering and social investigations, while 55 judges who are educators, specialists and scholars in the various competition categories and Eskom Expo enthusiasts evaluated and gave scores to the 120 projects that were on exhibition.

This regional expo was one of 35 regional expos planned in all provinces across South Africa – the first Eskom Expo physical science fairs since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the most number of entries were seen in the Engineering category with 48 entries. There were also a significant number of entries in Biomedical and Medical Science category, along with the Energy category.

Eskom Expo Johannesburg Regional Science Fair Director, Jane Wasonga said: “The learners showed great excitement by seeing their hard work finally being exhibited at the regional expo. The region was further excited to note the large number of entries from female learners, a testament to the fact that we are well on our way to developing female scientists in the country.”

A total of 21 learners received bronze medals, while 31 received silver and 10 received gold. Learners from Parktown Girls High School received the most number of gold medals and medals overall.

World-renowned pulmonologist Dr Emmanuel Taban, named one of the 100 most influential Africans of 2020 by London-based New African magazine, was a special guest at the event. Dr Taban successfully used a procedure known as flexible fibre-optic bronchoscopy on critically ill COVID-19 patients. He used the technique to suck out mucous that collected in patients’ air passages, enabling them to breathe.

Dr Taban, who holds three medical degrees, awarded the gold medal winners at the expo with signed copies of his book, “The Boy Who Never Gave Up: A Refugee’s Epic Journey to Triumph”. He also pledged a bursary to a previously disadvantaged learner which will be awarded by his foundation, The Emmanuel Taban Foundation.

The Eskom Special Award winners at the event were:

  • Best Female: Anika Kumar from Bryanston High School
  • Best Innovation: Liam Greyvenstein and Nathan Jansen from Curro Krugersdorp
  • Best Energy: Brenden De Greef from Crawford International Ruisig
  • Best Development: Mosa Motselebane from Parktown Girls High School

Eskom Development Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Cecil Ramonotsi, said: “As the funder of Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, it has been a welcoming return to form to be able to host a physical expo in the region this year. It was impressive how learners, especially previously disadvantaged learners and girls, were able to develop such innovative projects while still at school, giving assurance that the future is in good hands. Eskom is investing in young scientists through Eskom Expo, which forms part of a broader Eskom strategy of skills development, investing in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) at school level.”

Nthato Minyuku, Eskom Group Executive: Government and Regulatory Affairs, said: “Eskom is committed to nurturing South Africa’s brightest young minds through regional science fairs, where they are able to present their innovations and exposed to the diversity of career opportunities in the scientific world. Eskom Expo remains one of our flagship corporate citizenship initiatives, through which we actively develop the innovation potential, presentation skills and competitive edge of our young scientists. Congratulations to all medal winners who we trust will make even greater strides at the Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF).”

Learners in the region who advance to the ISF, which will be held virtually in October, will compete against the best performing young scientists around the country. At this prestigious event, learners chance to win prizes and bursaries, along with scholarships and various opportunities. Learners also stand a chance to be selected to showcase their research or innovation in an international science fair in the United States of America, Asia, Europe and the rest of Africa.

For more information on the Johannesburg Region, contact: Jane Wasonga jane@exposciencejohannesburg.co.za or 082 857 0890

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