Two teenage boys have won their places to represent South Africa at the 2019 Taiwan International Science Fair after showcasing science projects of exceptional quality at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF), Eskom said over the weekend.

Michael Dennis, 18, from Potchefstroom Gimnasium and Christiaan Bauman, 16, from Hoërskool Waterkloof were selected by a panel of academics and professionals following the ISF, which was held in Gauteng in October 2018. The teens impressed judges with their ingenuity, depth of knowledge, and mastery of inquiry methodology, the power parastatal said in a statement.

Michael Dennis, 18, from Potchefstroom Gimnasium. Photo: Supplied

Dennis investigated water pollution and developed a management tool for modelling water pollution levels. High levels of phosphates in water bodies were not only toxic, but upset the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Dennis’s modelling tool would enable the management of these phosphate levels. 

Bauman addressed a serious problem experienced worldwide – the lives of miners and civilians being threatened or lost in sub-terrains such as caves. A recent example was the group of 12 boys and their football coach who were trapped in a cave in Thailand. Bauman programmed and built a robot that could be sent into these subterranean spaces where it could detect life forms, map the space, and provide rescuers with other critical data. 

Christiaan Bauman, 16, from Hoërskool Waterkloof. Photo: Supplied

“The aim of Eskom expo is to get learners engaged in the sciences through research. What we are seeing with these two young scientists is that they have taken their work to a much higher level, which is comparable to industry standards,” Eskom expo executive director Parthy Chetty said.  

The Taiwan fair would take place from January 28 to February 1 in Taipei. South Africa participated in this fair as it offered school pupils an opportunity to present their research to their peers from other countries, while promoting cross-cultural communication and educational exchange.

“Eskom has invested in the expo for young scientists for over two decades because we feel this is the perfect avenue to grow future scientists and engineers for the country. The projects done by these two young learners bears testimony to the bright future we can create for our youth and our country,” Eskom Expo board of directors chairman Pieter Pretorius said. 

-ANA, editing by Jacques Keet

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