May 2015
Contents / home
Learners to link up with astronaut
Shared Sky, shared wisdom
"Talking science" competition
A meeting of minds
Young scientists take on Australia
Learners unveil project in Beijing
Introduction to crystals
Young Science Communicators' Competition
SAASTA inspires class of 2015
Meet Prof. Nox Makunga
Top young achiever's journey
Wonders of water at Scifest Africa
Learners work with particle physicists
Meet SAEON's new education officer
Light comes out of the darkness
In the news
Upcoming events
It's a fact!

Bright young scientists take on Australia

  Hamandishe Mathivha (left), Rochelle Dowding from Zimbabwe (second from left), SAASTA's Zinzi Madiope (second from right) and Danielle Vellema on the Wollongong/Kiama Coastal Walk in Sydney, where they saw the world's largest blowhole spouting water more than 20 metres into the air
  The learners admire the dome at the Australian National University
  The group of learners outside the Research School of Chemistry Lab, where they attended a career guidance presentation hosted by the Australian National University
The two top achievers in grade 11 in the 2014 National Science Olympiad, Hamandishe Mathivha and Danielle Vellema, soaked up science, technology and culture while attending the Australian National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) as part of their prize.

The NYSF, which was held in January this year, mixes science-related activities with social events and early career networking, giving participants from all over the world an understanding of what science-related careers are possible after completing high school.

Other highlights of the trip included visiting laboratories at scientific research facilities for five consecutive days to learn more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. "Talking to different scientists from various fields was a big highlight for me. It's an experience you don't get to have every day," says Hamandishe. "It was really cool to hear about the diverse career opportunities in science."

Technology of the future

Danielle says it was amazing to see the technology being developed at some of the facilities. "Some of the projects they are working on are just amazing – it's clearly the technology of the future," she added.

The two learners were intrigued to learn more about the engineering of the Curiosity rover, a car-sized robotic motor vehicle exploring Mars, and they listened to the communications from Neil Armstrong during the first moon landing.

About 200 learners attended the forum, with the majority coming from Australia and a number of international learners from countries such as Fiji, New Zealand, Germany, Canada and many more. Hamandishe hails from Venda in Limpopo and Danielle from George in the Western Cape.

The two South African learners were chaperoned by Zinzi Madiope, a project officer at SAASTA. "The NYSF definitely gave the two learners insight into what they want to do in the future," says Zinzi. "Even though they had always been considering a career in science, attending the conference helped them realise the endless career opportunities available in science."

Zinzi says that her favourite part of the educational trip was the networking. "We met people like the director of the NYSF, Damien Pierce and Manager of Operations, Sandra Meek, which means that I now have a database of scientists from all over Australia."

Even though the two-week NYSF programme was intense, the South Africans had an opportunity to tour the city of Sydney, where they saw such famous landmarks as the opera house and harbour bridge.

By Daphney Molewa, SAASTA