Young scientists triumph at expo

The winners of gold medals at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists are, front fro m
left, Dina Levin, 13, of Theodor Herzl, Allison Derrocks, 17, of Collegiate High School, Caroline
Boschoff, 16, of Cape Recife, and Daniel Holmes, 13, and Ethan Hoyle, 12, both of Grey Junior School.
Picture: Werner Hills

Determination and a deep desire to find solutions for vulnerable communities who are susceptible to shack fires paid off for Daniel Holmes, winner of the Eskom Best Energy Efficiency Project award.

The Grade 7 Grey Junior School pupil was recognised for his “saltwater lamp”. It is seen as a safe alternative to candles, paraffin lamps or illegal electrical connections, to ensure no one – especially students – is left in the dark.

“A third of South African households have no electricity,” Daniel said. “The primary cause of shack f i re s is the denial to access to safe electricity. “On average, 10 shack fires occur per day in the country, with people dying in the process.

“Therefore, I would like to offer a safe alternative to candles, paraffin lamps or illegal electrical connections to allow students to continue their studies at night.”

The Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair aims to inspire young scientists and researchers.

Eskom’s mission is to develop young scientists who are able to identify and analyse a problem, find solutions and communicate the finding effectively.

In August, a regional expo competition was held at Nelson Mandela University, where a group of 31 inquisitive young minds from various schools in the metro were chosen to represent the region in Gauteng in various categories such as science, engineering, and technology innovation.

The Port Elizabeth regional Eskom expo team then attended the International Science Fair event at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Johannesburg last week, where they achieved great success.

The young scientists from the metro obtained five gold, six silver and 11 bronze medals. Theodor Herzl Grade 7 pupil Dina Levin won a gold medal in the mathematics and statistics category and worked on a project known as Beauty and the Golden Ratio. Dina, in her project, calculated the golden ratio percentage of 22 faces of people and surveyed opinion of their attractiveness. Results showed that those closest to the golden ratio were actually not perceived as being the most attractive.

“I am so excited,” Dina said after winning the award. “I did not really expect this. I thought it was a tough competition because there were a lot of clever people. “But yes, I am happy.”

Mandilakhe Gqolana, 16, in Grade 10 at Paterson High School, won a bronze medal in the mathematics and statistics category for a project that has to do with Pythagoras’s theorem in music.

Paterson High School teacher Kenneth Prins said: “We are all excited. We foresee Mandilakhe having a bright future in engineering. He is willing to learn and he is always positive.”

The other winners included Samantha Woods, of Collegiate High, who walked away with a bursary from Stellenbosch University, and Allison Derrocks, also from Collegiate, who was nominated for interviews to attend an international science fair.

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