The graceful flight of a butterfly inspired a learner of the Eunice High School to undertake a research project on the movement of these insects.
Amy Pastors watched a butterfly fly past and asked herself if the grace and beauty on display was really as simple and effortless as it looked.
Hers was just one of 100 such projects showcased at the Free State Eskom Expo for Young Scientists awards ceremony that was held virtually on Thursday, 26 August.
The butterfly project earned Amy the Eskom award for best female – one of four awards.
The participants hoped that their projects would be recognised by the judges with a gold medal, one of the four Eskom special prizes or a coveted ticket to go through to the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF), which will be held on 8 October.
The standard of entries was particularly high this year, said provincial coordinator of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, Nicho Swartz.
This was despite the pandemic and the consequent disruption of regular schooling.
A wide range of categories were covered, ranging from agricultural sciences to social sciences. Top of the list, though, was the biomedical and medical sciences category.
Eskom special prizes included the following:
- The best development project, on a bio-degradable plastic, was submitted by Robert Booysen of the Kgauho Secondary School in Botshabelo.
- The best energy project was created by Sowaibah Ali and Fatimah Anwary of the Ficksburg Secondary School, who displayed their kinetic sail generator which produces renewable energy.
- A gold award went to Impaq home schooler Relebohile Mosea from Bloemfontein for showing that an antiviral encapsulated in a robotic capsule can be developed with features such as drug delivery, diagnostics and detection of the virus.
- Category winner Helene Fourie proved that plants can grow in oxygen- and water-poor environments if certain conditions are met.
The Free State awards event is one of nine provincial events leading into the final Eskom Expo for Young Scientists ISF.
The fair will involve participants from 35 regions in South Africa and some African countries.