Science boffin heads abroad

Chase Newel and his project titled, The design and testing of an ankle induction coil cellphone charger. He is flanked by his parents, Valerie and Frank Newel.

Gabrielle Gess, a Grade 12 pupil at St Cyprian’s School in Oranjezicht, is among three Cape Town pupils selected to take part in the Intel International Science Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Gabrielle will be going to America to present her project on how honey bees survive during dry months. It is based on determining the availability of pollen sources for honeybees on deciduous fruit farms during summer.

She is looking forward to her trip abroad. “I am really excited, I am proudly representing South Africa, my school, my friends and especially my parents, they gave me a lot of support,” she said.

The fair will be taking place from Sunday May 13 to Saturday May 19.

Pupils had an opportunity to present their projects ahead of their trip at Bishops in Rondebosch last Tuesday.
While Gabrielle’s project was environmental, the projects of her fellow participants, Frank Smuts and Chase Newell, had technological and engineering themes.

Frank, a Grade 12 pupil from Parklands College, spoke on Schlieren Photography, which is used to measure the density of air flow.

He said the trip will be his first abroad.

Chase, a Grade 12 pupil from Pinelands High School, displayed an ankle induction coil cellphone charger.

“The more an individual walks or runs with the device attached to your ankle, the more energy is used and that energy charge can be stored and used for later purposes to charge your devices,” said Chase.

The talented Grade 12s said they were inspired by Grade 9 Rustenburg Girls’ pupil, Zara Nijzink-Laurie, who won a silver medal at the Taiwan International Science Fair in February.

Her research was based on the barriers to using menstrual cups among school girls.

“There are girls in underprivileged communities who don’t have access to pads or tampons so they miss school every month because they are menstruating, so I just thought that I should do research on the benefits of menstrual cups,” said Zara.

Olga Peel, a regional science director who worked with the Eskom Cape Town Expo for Young Scientists 2018 to select these pupils, said: “They can expect nine or more judges in one day which is heavy. They can expect to have a lot of fun because the part of going there is not only serious but to enjoy the country that you are going to.”