Young scientists show off their work

2017-08-01 06:01
Katinka Wilkinson of Herschel Girls’ School Claremont will showcase her flywheel at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists that will be held at the UCT Sports Centre next week.

Katinka Wilkinson of Herschel Girls’ School Claremont will showcase her flywheel at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists that will be held at the UCT Sports Centre next week.

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Two learners from Claremont will showcase their work at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists that will be held at the UCT Sports Centre from Wednesday 9 to Friday 11 August.

The expo will see thousands of young scientists from across the country, who have mastered scientific investigative methods and have used their creativity to invent a new scientific project. They are competing for a spot in the finals taking place in October.

Katinka Wilkinson of Herschel Girls’ School participated in the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles in May. She had won a gold medal for her project in the Cape Town Eskom Expo for Young Scientists competition last year and was sent to the Eskom International Science Fair in Johannesburg to represent Cape Town where she won another gold medal. Her project researched the different methods of energy storage that can be used to replace a battery. She created a flywheel energy storage system using rotational kinetic energy.

Silindile Nyathikazi, spokesperson of the expo, says the prototype has relatively high efficiency. She says tests showed that the device could deliver more than 80% of the stored kinetic energy into the resistor load.

Junho Ko, a Bishops learner, won a competition and represented South Africa at the International Energy, Engineering and Environmental Science Fair in Texas in April.

Ko says: “Eskom has given me an opportunity to embrace my idea and to express my little idea to improve it to potentially change our community.

“I am extremely excited for the upcoming Cape Town district expo, which will enable young South African scientists to showcase their projects and all the effort they have been putting into their projects even in tough school semesters.

“Being a young scientist is just more than a title. This is a great opportunity, which ultimately challenges many students to open up their creativity, which is hard to come by in the 21st century in many parts around the world.”

His mother, Eunhee Ko, says Juhno is dedicated to his science work and is confident that the project will be a success. She says he is even spending less time at home trying to work hard on it.

Expo executive director Parthy Chetty says at this year’s much-anticipated regional finals an increase in the number of schools participating in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists is expected.

“Last year saw a 43% increase in school participation and with this year’s strategy geared towards expansion in this area, particularly for rural and no-fee paying schools, this number is expected to ­increase.

“Increasing the participation of schools in the Eskom expo is central to our long-term strategy, which is also a national initiative of government. We aim to increase participation in science and mathematics-related activities, using the exciting scientific inquiry method. Greater exposure to science, technology, engineering, mathematics (Stem) and innovation activities from a young age is a critical driver for transformation of our economy and the creation of a better world for all.”

He says this year the expo extended its relationship with the Kenya Science Fair to now start sending a team to participate in other African countries with the aim to bring more countries together to share experiences in Stem education.

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