Two teenage boys recently travelled to Taiwan to represent South Africa at the 2019 Taiwan International Science Fair, after showcasing science projects of exceptional quality at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF).
Michael Dennis with his project on modelling and managing water pollution levels.
Michael Dennis (18) from Potchefstroom Gimnasium and Christiaan Bauman (16) from Hoërskool Waterkloof were selected by a panel of academics and professionals following ISF, which was held in Gauteng in October last year. These young boys impressed the judges with their ingenuity, depth of knowledge and mastery of enquiry methodology.
Dennis investigated water pollution and developed a management tool for modelling water pollution levels. High levels of phosphates in water bodies are not only toxic, but also upset the delicate balance of the ecosystems. Dennis’s modelling tool will enable the management of these phosphate levels.
Christian Bauman with the robot he designed to detect life forms in underground spaces.
Bauman addressed a serious problem that is experienced worldwide: the lives of miners and civilians being threatened or lost in underground tunnels or caves. The group of 12 boys and their football coach who were trapped in a cave in Thailand presents a recent example. Bauman programmed and built a robot that can be sent into such subterranean spaces where it can detect life forms, map the space and provide rescuers with other critical data.
Eskom Expo Executive Director, Parthy Chetty, says, “The aim of Eskom Expo is to get learners engaged in the sciences through research. What we are seeing with these two young scientists is that they have taken their work to a much higher level, which is comparable to industry standards.”
The Taiwan fair is taking place 28 January to 1 February in Taipei. South Africa participates in this fair as it offers learners an opportunity to present their research to their peers from other countries as well as promoting cross-cultural communication and educational exchange.
“Eskom has invested in the Expo for Young Scientists for over two decades because we feel this is the perfect avenue to grow future scientists and engineers for the country. The projects done by these two young learners point to the bright future we can create for our youth and our country,” says Pieter Pretorius, Chairperson, Eskom Expo Board of Directors.