Liesl Ah Shene
MOVE over Einstein, Hoërskool Framesby pupil Luan Staphorst is this year’s winner for the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists Science Fair, which was held in Johannesburg recently.
“I am so honoured and humbled – I have taken part for many years and never did I ever imagine winning the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.
“I still cannot believe that I have achieved this,” the Grade 12 pupil and head prefect said.
Staphorst received the Dr Derek Gray Memorial Award for his project titled: “Insomnia, music and maths – are we on the same note?”
The budding scientist said his research project looked at the effects of various musical styles and genres on sleep patterns, cognitive functions and concentration abilities.
Staphorst was also awarded with a trip to Sweden in December this year, where he will represent Africa at the Nobel prize-giving ceremony
“I suppose it will only really sink in when I’m on my way to Sweden. Till then, it is still such an abstract idea.
“I have been blessed by participating alongside some of the greatest young minds in the world – I simply cannot believe that I am the winner, it does not make sense,” he said.
Staphorst first took part in his Grade 7 year at Lorraine Primary School.
His class had to do an expo project as part of their natural science syllabus.
His science teacher, Alex Cooper, asked those whom he thought worthy, to participate at the regional finals.
“From there I have never stopped participating and I have competed since 2008: a total of six times at regional finals and five times at the international finals,” he said.
Luan said he loved science as he “enjoys the road to discovery.
“But I enjoy making use of that discovery even more, especially in helping others – otherwise it is of no value,” he said.
As for competing, Staphorst said he enjoyed every minute of it.
“It is an amazing experience that teaches you so much – from research methodology to referencing, from self-discipline to presentation skills.
“It enriches your life in every possible way, especially through the people you come in contact with – teachers, pupils, parents and professors to name a few,” he said.
Even though his parents did not want him to compete in his matric year, they were extremely proud.
“I remember my parents crying when I called to let them know
“They did not even want me to participate during my matric year – yet I competed and achieved the top award,” he said.
For his gold medal, Staphorst received a Kindle reader and a Kindle case.
He also won a special memorial gold medal and a PSP console for the Dr Derek Gray Memorial Award.
The young boff also won a Shox-Maxi speaker for being part of the science quiz’s winning team.