National prize takes whizz kid to Sweden

Mkhululi Ndamase

A KIRKWOOD High School pupil will soon be jetting off to Sweden to represent the country after winning a national science competition.

Hein Joubert, 18, won the prize for the best electronics and electrical engineering project and was awarded the Eskom gold medal and Derek Gray Memorial Award for Engineering in Grade 10-12 at the Eskom Science Expo.

The prize is a trip to the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar in December.

“I am happy to be … chosen as the winner. There were a lot of [entrants] from other countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Mexico and other African countries,” Joubert said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

To get to the national competition, Hein beat more than 350 pupils from 30 schools at the regional Eskom Science Expo at Nelson Mandela Metro- politan University (NMMU) in August.

Joubert faced stiff competition from more than 700 other hopefuls from around the continent in the final round of the competition. “I built a radio-controlled tank. I can drive it around and move the gun around but it cannot shoot. It does not shoot because I do not want to shoot anything,” Joubert said.

The Grade 12 pupil said his passion for engineering started at a young age. “After I matriculate I want to do mechanical engineering.”

Prof Rosemary Gray of NMMU, who presented the awards to Joubert, said he showed great potential. “His mechanical engineering design and development are excellent, enabling him to build a model tank with three main movements, forward and reverse, turning of the turret, and vertical movement of the gun.

“The judges were impressed with his utilisation and manipulation of … component parts and his understanding of mechanical principles.”

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