Young SA scientists competed in global science competition

Seven South African scientists competed in the world’s largest pre-college science competion during May in the United States of America.

Seven of South Africa’s finest young scientists travelled 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 Saturday May 7 to Friday May 13.

This comes after their scientific brilliance were portrayed by their achievements in the 2021 Virtual Eskom Expo International Science Fair. Five of these scientists hail from schools in Bolander’s distribution areas.

The selected projects that were entered in the competition, ranged from research into the aerodynamics of Formula 1 cars, to an efficient cost-effective diagnostic system that can autonomously detect respiratory diseases.

“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,” said Nthato Minyuku, Eskok 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.

The young scientists competed alongside 1 748 learners from more than 75 countries for nearly R126 million in prizes, including bursaries and various gadgets. For updated competition results or live streams from the event, visit, www.societyforscience.org/isef

All the participants got the opportunity to present their research projects on the international stage. Details on their research projects are as follows:

Grade 10 pupil at Somerset College, Michael Shepstone’s research was spurred on by the need for clean and sterile environments in healthcare, especially more so, after the Covid-19 pandemic. He came up with an automated mechanism capable of cleaning heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and other flat surfaces in areas where humans cannot clean.
Ra’ees De Witt, in Grade 11 at Curro Hermanus studied the effects of gastric PH on the bio performance of pharmaceutical drugs. He found that paracetamol prevalence and presence were greatest when the gastric fluid is most acidic. He made several recommendations on how to mitigate the negative effects of gastric pH, such as pre-treatment with organic acids.
Grade 11 pupil, Dashayin Gilbert from Curro Durbanville, is a Formula 1 racing enthusiast and combined this passion with his aptitude for problem-solving to investigate the aerodynamics of the cars used. After he investigate a number of variables, he made several significant findings which aids in understanding the factors that contribute to improving the aerodynamics of Formula 1 cars.
Grade 9 pupil, Audrey Hunn joined forces with fellow pupil, Sarah Hackland, from Protea Heights Academy, to investigate comparisions between two rocky shore ecosystems on the different coastlines along the South African Coast.
Sarah Hackland, also in Grade 9, at Protea Heights Academy, Brackenfell, together with Audrey Hunn, in their research in studying the ecosystems and their comparisons, along the South African coastlines, found their research to be an important benchmark for future studies, due to their long term effects of global warming on diversity of species, abundance and composition at these sites.