SA pupil wins international science prize

2012-06-28 10:07

Johannesburg - A South African matric pupil has won first prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, in the United States, Beeld newspaper reported on Thursday.

Chené Mostert, aged 17, from Ladysmith High School in KwaZulu-Natal, won the award for her toothbrush sterilising device.

She won R17 000 and an invitation from the American Dental Association to return in December to patent her invention.

"I take part in the Eskom expo for young scientists every year, and earlier in 2012 I was looking for an idea for a project," she said.

"While I was brushing my teeth one night, I noticed the toilet next to the basin, and remembered reading that cold, wet places are ideal breeding places for bacteria.".

Headed for medical school

She gathered 150 toothbrushes, had them tested and found more than 100 different types of bacteria growing on the bristles.

"I realised there was nothing on the local market for cleaning toothbrushes, so I designed a plastic box with a rotation system in which toothbrushes can be stored and cleaned."

The box contains hydrogen peroxide and four plastic tubes, in which the brushes are placed, and when the user turns a handle, an internal scrubbing brush is activated.

Mostert hopes to enrol in medical school in 2013, and wants to eventually become a paediatrician.

  • makenawn - 2012-06-28 10:17

    Good news in million years, not crap from politics

      Preshen - 2012-06-28 12:04

      she is Fit also

      rob.baggaley - 2012-06-28 12:47

      Enroll @ medical school ! I hope so, but I believe it is very difficult for a minority to be enrolled in medical school these days.

      Ally - 2012-06-28 17:56

      Rob, one of the US universitites would probably snap her up and shower her with scholarships. Why would she apply locally?

  • Mogale - 2012-06-28 10:17

    nice 1, tnx 4 that inovation, we really needs fresh minds like hers. big up young lady...

  • sharon.houghton.984 - 2012-06-28 10:20

    Very well done!

  • jcoetzee1975 - 2012-06-28 10:23

    Toothbrush sterilising is hardly at the cutting edge of science. What should be applauded is the creative mind, not the actual idea.

      wbschorn - 2012-06-28 10:36

      You my man are FAIL

      Heibrin - 2012-06-28 10:47

      Actually the idea is worth applauding: a toothbrush sterilizer that is hand operated fits perfectly for third-world countries, where people more often than not don't have access to electricity, in doing it like this a person is able to purchase (or receive via UNHO) a cleaner and the required liquid, and take it back to their (non-electric) home for use. Or think of travelers who are on the road, and want to keep their toothbrush clean. Many, many applications.

      Billy - 2012-06-28 11:11

      lol! sucks that you didnt think of it does it. hahaha

      jason.mcdonahugh - 2012-06-28 11:15

      jcoetzee1975 You are such an idiot, please return to your cave and mate with your sister.

      gungets.tuft - 2012-06-28 11:31

      They want to patent the invention. Makes it a success as I see it. Which part of "show me the money" don't you understand?

      dimitripappas - 2012-06-28 12:05

      Agreed. When I read this article, to think she won a first-place international science prize for figuring out that you can sterilize a toothpaste with hydrogen peroxide... I mean ok, sure, thinking outside the box -- but hardly rocket science

      Provence - 2012-06-28 12:08

      Maybe after medical school she can invent a toothpaste that transmits brain cells into politicians without them knowing this.

  • Jaco - 2012-06-28 10:24

    you go girl.

  • reitz.devilliers - 2012-06-28 10:26

    Well done, and a great inspiration to other young people out there. Proving to every person out there thinking they don't make a difference, that it could really be done if you dream big enough.

  • kentse.millicent - 2012-06-28 10:33

    Wow! Am sure the parents are beaming with pride! Congaratulations!!!

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-06-28 10:33

    Some good news for a change. Well done girl. Congrats.

  • Adele Boucher - 2012-06-28 10:49

    Congratulations. you give us hope for the future.

  • Rachael - 2012-06-28 10:56

    Clever girl!

  • lskosana3 - 2012-06-28 11:00

    Go girl!

  • pberchu - 2012-06-28 11:02

    Well done...Africa needs more brilliant minds like you. Thanx for the patent...U have put SA on the map.

  • Mark - 2012-06-28 11:03

    Brains and a beautiful smile. Well done.

  • Dawn Campbell Gibson - 2012-06-28 11:09

    You go girl!!! Good luck with Med school.

  • galmzala - 2012-06-28 11:11

    wow that is so sweet and encouraging, well done gal. strange when there is good news few comments I wonder why?mmmmm

      mmvulana - 2012-06-28 11:21

      There'd be more comments only if we all read the news...

  • eva.walle.75 - 2012-06-28 11:12

    Hope she gets into medical school!

  • mmvulana - 2012-06-28 11:14

    What an awesome invention, i got a feeling there'll be an international smile at stranger day soon because with less bacteria your teeth will a lot brighter and we'll all wanna show off lol...well done!

  • martin.britchford.5 - 2012-06-28 11:20

    Nicely done, congrats Chene. I dont posess the witchcraft to put little knoppies above the "e" or perhaps its cos i never took up typing and it is right under my nose lol

  • MattQ4 - 2012-06-28 11:28

    Another Inspiring African !!!

  • kaMazibuko - 2012-06-28 11:33

    Wow!! First the dude with the "no water bath" innovation and now this girl....proud to be south african right now

      Jaco - 2012-06-28 11:41

      Agreed. Amongst all the obstacles and challenges we face in our country shines these beacons of light. Let’s focus on that rather than the negative. Congrats to both these inspirational students.

  • victor.freeman.39 - 2012-06-28 11:40

    Finally something positive again from Ladysmith. Chuffed.

  • ted.muusha - 2012-06-28 11:40

    Brilliant! We are seeing a brainy new generation coming up. Only last week or so, one young guy invented a waterless bath. At this rate one student is going to invent a method to make abominable politicians and bigots disappear altogether! Good luck with Med School. Job offers are assured, so take your time girl.

  • Shaka - 2012-06-28 11:40

    Thumbs up for Chene. Well done indeed. You've made South Africa smile.

  • KingPro - 2012-06-28 11:41

    Clearly her textbooks were always delivered on time...

      Ally - 2012-06-28 18:00

      She would have done it without textbooks ... in fact, Chene thinks outside the book

  • gautam.ranjit.5 - 2012-06-28 11:47

    YAy for S.A...however, isn't hydrogen peroxide a seriously potent chemical? And doesn't Phillips have a toothbrush that uses UV light to kill bacteria on their toothbrushes

      poshm.mis - 2012-06-28 11:52

      I think the reason she won the prize is because her idea is better than Phillips`UV light.

  • Tony Becker - 2012-06-28 11:47

    It is so refreshing to have read this news. I just hope that she can fulfill her medical dream as she may be a little too white for med school submission.

  • warwick.railton.7 - 2012-06-28 11:55

    Now that's something and someone to be proud of.

  • tshiamo.stevens - 2012-06-28 12:04

    Shame to the older folk who do nothing but twiddle their thumps.

  • K9LAKHAN - 2012-06-28 12:05

    ingenious. Welldone Chene and Ladysmith! ( Great moral boost for South Africans ) ( Good news24 report, which highlights on Education , that is inline with the UN millenium goals of 2015 )

  • Pixie86 - 2012-06-28 12:05

    can we just celebrate this great achievement by a brilliant young south african and leave out the textbook and politician issue please. Yerr, you guys are irritating.

  • Freddyvdm - 2012-06-28 12:08

    HOT and Clever and South African ,thank God good news 4 a change not just anc junk,well done

  • swavka - 2012-06-28 12:17

    10 South African scholars were chosen to represent SA in Pittsburgh. So these youngsters aren't just pretty faces.

  • Sapna Maraj - 2012-06-28 12:17

    You people are seriously pathetic. This article calls for positive comments! Its sad that even great news of a fellow South African progressing incites comments on SA's lack of service delivery and the pet race card! tsk tsk tsk!

      fanie.gerber.98 - 2012-06-29 08:11

      I agree! Who are these brain dead individuals from the shallow end of the kiddie gene pool(the one with all the wee in it, amongst other things), who are giving comments a thumbs down?

  • flaming.oven - 2012-06-28 12:22

    Love it..... You go girl....... Well done!!

  • michelle.michaels.3348 - 2012-06-28 12:25

    Well Done !!!!!!

  • thabo.mokoena.92 - 2012-06-28 12:30

    Congrats n all the best Chene. Every south African Is proud of u. But, hold on. Not takin anything away from great inspiring story. This article was reported on sunday times 4 days ago. Yes I said it 4 days ago. Why news24 always so late with great stories but always quick to report crap?? Yes 4 days ago. Go check Sunday times page 12

      Jellyarse - 2012-06-28 17:41

      Quite right Thabo - nothing original on News24 other than Ctrl C, Ctrl V! As for the invention, my Mommy used to stick our toothbrushes in a bucket of Jik water at night along with the toilet brush and the one she used for scrubbing the insides of the cooking pots. Didn't have to turn any handles and my teeth are also really white!

  • bafana.khoza.16 - 2012-06-28 15:27


  • Zeezoh - 2012-06-28 15:48

    wow i feel proud to be south africaN

  • mpumi.mokgomo - 2012-06-28 16:30

    wow gal you did us proud....

  • raycoog - 2012-06-28 17:52

    Hate to say it folks, but this is not a ground-breaking announcement--for a couple of reasons. First, as has been noted, we've known for years that toothbrushes harbor microorganisms, and there are already several methods available to reduce those germs (keep toothbrush in a ziplock baggie, brush teeth and store toothbrush away from the commode, UV light, etc). Secondly, there are 200 known microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, yeasts, fungi, etc.) in the human mouth and all of them are supposed to be there. I haven't seen Chene's research, but I am willing to bet that most, if not all, of the 100 germs found on her dirty toothbrushes are included on the list of 200 that are already in the mouth. I'm a little surprised that the American Dental Association is excited about this project, but after practicing dentistry in Colorado USA for nearly 30 years, I've noticed that a lot of what they do does not make much sense. All that being said, I do admire the ingenuity of this bright student. Perhaps she could use her intellect to solve SA's reverse discrimination problem.

  • Quantronium - 2012-06-28 21:53

    One step at a time!!!

  • nkosingiphile.cofu - 2012-06-29 05:57

    This is the very good news in this week , considering the Limpopo book fiasco. Our media must prioritise such stories. We need to turn such young inventors into celebrities ,so as to make education cool.

  • thandazab - 2012-06-29 06:23

    Yeeeey! So proud of u little Miss!! N thanx for makin our little town shine! May God continue to bless u!

  • Mthenjwa - 2012-06-29 07:39

    Oh thank you god sum realy great news in news 24 weldone kid gud job oya don't enrol in S.A medical schools try uk and usa

  • Mthenjwa - 2012-06-29 07:39

    Oh thank you god sum realy great news in news 24 weldone kid gud job oya don't enrol in S.A medical schools try uk and usa

  • Dane.Billionaire.Prinsloo - 2012-06-29 09:03

    This is awesome news :-)

  • ben.louw.5 - 2012-06-29 14:51


  • SunblushStarfish - 2012-07-02 20:44

    This is wonderful, what an achievement. Well done young lady and all the best for your future. So good to see the youth of South Africa doing something constructive with their lives - she is a great role model.

  • SunblushStarfish - 2012-07-02 20:46

    To the drols and trolls on here who have nothing good to say, why don't you all just shut your fat useless gobs. I don't see any of you winning any awards or doing anything worthy of accolades. The only thing I want to do is shove a steriliser in your mouths and brains.

  • Jazzy - 2012-07-02 21:22

    Well done, Chene - hope you make millions!