Bright sparks win awards

2014-08-18 00:00

NEARLY 400 pupils presented a record 331 projects at this year’s Eskom Expo for Young Scientists held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s sports hall last Friday. Winning regional projects will be selected to go forward to the national Eskom Expo for Young Scientists to be held in Cape Town in October.

Over 150 judges awarded 38 gold medals, 55 silver and 81 bronze, as well as a number of special awards.

The Eskom Energy Award for Best Project was added to the gold medal won by Tyrique Byroo, (14), a Grade 9 pupil from Star College Boys’ High, for his project “It’s a Berry Bright Future”.

“I wanted to address the three big problems facing South Africa — cost effective energy, the food crisis, and unemployment,” said Tyrique, who experimented with fruit and vegetable dyes in sensitised solar cells to see which would speed up the flow of electrons in the cells. He found that pomegranate dye created the highest voltage.

Star College Girls’ High Grade 10 pupil, Koyal Dhunlal (15), won gold and the Eskom Best Female Scientist Award for her mathematics project titled “Strike”, which calculated how to get the perfect strike in tenpin bowling.

“Everyone thinks it’s by striking the front pin in the triangle, but it’s not. I worked out the parabolic function and the correct technique required to roll the ball.”

Chase Rayment, (12) a Grade 7 pupil from Kloof Senior Primary, won a silver and a Best Category Physics Project Award for his project “Can Humans Live on Mars?”

“I was fascinated with space and then read an article about life on Mars and decided to take it a step further,” he said.

This included creating a scale model of a human colony on Mars, all under oxygenated transparent domes.

A silver medal was awarded to Sthandiwe Msomi (14), a Grade 9 pupil from New Forest High, who tested levels of Vitamin C found in orange, lemon, and mango juice.

“I wondered which was the healthiest so decided to investigate,” said Sthandiwe. Using an indicator consisting of cornflour and iodine she measured the levels of Vitamin C present and found the lemon juice had the highest level.

Thameshan Govender (15), a Grade 10 pupil at Glenwood Boys’ High, won a silver medal for his project “The Efficiency of Energy Supplements on Athletes”. Thameshan found that while energy drinks were good for short distances, protein-based supplements provided greater staying power over longer distances.

Among the pupils at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists held at UKZN were (from left) Lungelo Mngomezulu, Sthandiwe Msomi, Estelle Ponusamy, Thameshan Govender and Chase Rayment.

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