Young sci­en­tists cre­ate so­lu­tions for to­day’s prob­lems

Vuk'uzenzele - - General -

YOUNG SCI­EN­TISTS want to be ac­tively in­volved cre­at­ing so­lu­tions to some of so­ci­ety’s ma­jor prob­lems through science, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion.

Kamo­gelo Rakgetse, a Grade 11 learner at Abra­ham Serote Se­condary School in Tafelkop, Lim­popo, has built a model of a mag­netic power sta­tion that is able to pro­duce elec­tric­ity us­ing free po­ten­tial en­ergy from mag­nets.

Rakgetse said his de­sign, the Ma­glev Power Sta­tion (de­rived from ‘mag­netic lev­i­ta­tion’), orig­i­nates from an ap­pli­ca­tion ex­ploit­ing the prin­ci­ple of mag­netic in­duc­tion be­tween ma­te­ri­als with dif­fer­ent per­me­abil­ity.

“The tech­nol­ogy al­lows the drive shaft to lev­i­tate in a sta­ble and safe way, with­out the need for ex­ter­nal power and at a cost that is lower than fos­sil fuel-gen­er­ated power,” he said.

His idea was sparked by the cur­rent over-re­liance on fos­sil fu­els such as coal and oil to pro­duce elec­tric­ity.

“Th­ese are fi­nite re­sources that will even­tu­ally run out and be­come too ex­pen­sive fi­nan­cially and en­vi­ron­men­tally to re­trieve. I want to of­fer an al­ter­na­tive and eco-friendly power source,” he said.

Caro­line Boshoff is a Grade 9 pupil at the Port El­iz­a­beth-based Cape Re­cife School for learn­ers with spe­cial needs. She has epilepsy which means she strug­gles with her school work and finds it dif­fi­cult to read and write. De­spite this, Boshoff loves science and that her re­search can be done prac­ti­cally rather than the­o­ret­i­cally. She has cre­ated a pro­gramme to es­tab­lish the learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties of chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties and de­velop tools to help them.

“I be­lieve that ev­ery child can be suc­cess­ful. We just need the right foun­da­tion and the right op­por­tu­ni­ties,” she said.

Boshoff con­ducted a sur­vey among learn­ers from eco­nom­i­cally priv­i­leged and un­der­priv­i­leged groups, and those liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties. Her find­ings showed that chil­dren from un­der­priv­i­leged back­grounds, and es­pe­cially those with dis­abil­i­ties, strug­gled and took longer to reach their de­vel­op­men­tal mile­stones.

Her pro­gramme is called Sakha Isizwe Ngem­fundo (build­ing the na­tion through ed­u­ca­tion) and it in­cludes amongst other tools (all in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa) a work­book for the chil­dren, a par­ent/teacher in­struc­tion man­ual, an ed­u­ca­tional games CD and a range of ed­u­ca­tional toys.

Boshoff and Rakgetse were amongst the 611 fi­nal­ists of the Eskom Expo In­ter­na­tional Science Fair held re­cently.

The Min­is­ter of Science and Tech­nol­ogy, Naledi Pan­dor, said at the event: “You all re­mind me of the late OR Tambo, who would’ve cel­e­brated his 100th birth­day this year. As an avid stu­dent and teacher of math­e­mat­ics and science, Tambo would’ve been proud to­day. You demon­strate that our na­tion can and will be a great achiever in science and tech­nol­ogy.”

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