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Young scientists to jet off to Tunisia to compete in science fair

Eskom Development Foundation. image: file

Eskom Development Foundation. image: file

Published Jun 22, 2022

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Two young South African scientists will be jetting off to Tunisia to compete in an international science fair.

They will be competing at the International Festival of Engineering Science and Technology in Tunisia with their research. The festival will be held in Monastir, Tunisia, from June 24 to 30, and is organised by the Tunisian Association for the future of Science and Technology.

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The Eskom Expo for Young Scientists selected Kutlwano Tshatiwa, a Grade 12 learner at Gabonewe High School in Madikwe, North West, and Ethan de Wet, a matric learner at Curro Durbanville in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, to represent South Africa.

The Eskom Development Foundation said Tshatiwa was selected to participate in the festival because of his vast knowledge and experience in machine learning.

“He is a resourceful, quick learner and is mostly self-taught, making him a suitable participant for this science fair because of the fast pace and high standards. The young scientist used millions of images to test two methods of model training, ie a custom model and a knowledge distillation model. He found that knowledge distillation techniques outperformed the custom model in terms of accuracy,” the entity said.

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De Wet’s project was selected for international participation because the innovation is an example of how an industry dependent on natural resources can become eco-friendly.

“Using 3D printing technology with biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA), he designed and constructed speaker enclosures that could replace standard wooden ones. De Wet conducted in-depth research on the physics of sound, such as sound pressure level, distortion, and the audio spectrum. This, together with his knowledge of sound engineering, helped him design and 3D print an affordable and efficient speaker enclosure. The significance of his study is that the speaker enclosure is eco-friendly, cost effective, and gives the consumers greater flexibility to 3D print such enclosures themselves, using his designs,” the Eskom Development Foundation said.

The extended nine-day programme aims to be unique, educational and fun, and will include various trips and excursions to discover Tunisian culture.

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“Eskom is proud to be the funder of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, a platform which continues to enable learners not only to develop themselves but to also make a positive contribution to the country through scientific knowledge,” Eskom Development Foundation chief executive Cecil Ramonotsi said.

@Chulu_M

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