Cape Town - Professional scientists have described the innovative alternative energy project of a 17-year-old Camps Bay High pupil as so “outstanding”, it could be compared to that of a university student.
Danielle Jacobson, of Bantry Bay, was awarded a gold medal and won the top award in one of the largest categories at the annual national Eskom Expo for Young Scientists. At the award ceremony, her project, titled “The use of nanotechnology in the optimisation of microbial fuel cells”, also won three additional special awards including a R1 500 cash prize for her school.
Regional Science Fair director of the Eskom Cape Town Expo for Young Scientists Olga Peel said Danielle’s project was among the top achievers in the country.
“During the Cape Town expo, the judges remarked on her work as amazing and outstanding. Her project is of an exceptionally high standard for a pupil in Grade 12.
“Even though she had assistance with the experimental work, the concept and ideas came from her. It was really among the best for her category,” she said. Peel said Danielle’s project included in-depth investigations which set her apart from other pupils.
Danielle was among more than 800 top pupils who were chosen to represent their regions and showcase their projects to a panel of judges which included professional scientists and teachers.
It was the second time she had participated in the finals at the expo.
“It was a challenge because I was finishing my project during my (mock) matric exams. I missed a lot of school while attending the international expo so I spent so much time catching up with my school work. I learnt that it’s all about prioritising the things that matter,” she said.
Danielle said she planned to study environmental engineering in the US next year.
In May she was awarded a scholarship from West Virginia University at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair – one of the largest international pre-college science competitions for pupils in Grades 9-12, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Her father, Dan Jacobson, a researcher at Stellenbosch University, said the standard of Danielle’s projects had always exceeded their expectations.
“When I explain her projects to my colleagues at the university, they think it belongs to someone at university level. When I tell them it’s my 17-year-old, they can’t believe it,” he said.
She will hear next month if she has been selected to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles next year. - Cape Times