October 2015
Contents / home
Global science engagement project
National Science Week activities
Science breaks barriers
Hydrogen fuel cell technology
Science that no classroom can teach
SAASTA empowers community
New CEO takes over reins at NRF
Hydrogen awareness website
Work shadowing at SAIAB
Field school for students
Meet Dr Zikhona Tetana
Improving technology education
Weather stations in schools
Street science
Space science appreciation
International Year of Light
Monitoring river health
Sasol Techno X prizes
In the news
Upcoming events
It's a fact!

Science that no classroom can teach

This year's London International Youth Science Forum was attended by 470 learners from 65 countries. Among them were four budding scientists from South Africa – Jeremy Wilkinson, Ulrich Wagner, Fatimah Hajee and Lesibana Thabiso Rammutla.

As the top performers in the 2015 National Science Olympiad in grade 12, with an aggregate of over 70% achieved in Physical and Life Sciences, these four learners jetted off to London to attend the residential forum at Imperial College. They were accompanied by Lithakazi Lande, project officer at the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA).

From left: Jeremy Wilkinson, Ulrich Wagner, Fatimah Hajee, SAASTA's Lithakazi Lande and Lesibana Thabiso Rammutla
The learners explore London's vast and magnificent Natural History Museum

The forum was founded in 1959 with the aim of giving learners a deeper insight into science and its applications for the benefit of humankind. This year's theme was Science the universal endeavour, which calls for international collaboration and discussion to tackle the issues that face the world today, such as energy, food and water security, climate change, biodiversity and potential pandemics.

The two-week event was packed with lectures and demonstrations from leading scientists, as well as visits to research centres, scientific institutions and organisations, including world-class laboratories and universities. One of the highlights was a lecture by Professor Fiona Watt, director of the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at King's College, London. She talked about ways in which stem cells are being used to treat diseases that are currently incurable.

Lord Robert Winston, who is internationally recognised for his gynaecological surgical techniques that improved fertility treatments in in-vitro fertilisation, talked about communicating science to the general public in a responsible manner so as to eliminate misconceptions in issues surrounding emerging technologies. Lord Winston is a professor of science as well as a medical doctor and television presenter.

Science Forum Bazaar

The National Science Olympiad winners had an opportunity to showcase projects that they have been working on, or avenues of science which they have a passion for, at the Science Forum Bazaar. They were also treated to special visits to Cambridge and Oxford universities, Rolls-Royce and the Haematology and Blood Transfusion Departments in London.

"The two weeks I spent at the forum were incredible. I learned about science on a level that no classroom can teach, and I've come to understand the importance of forming networks to enhance and develop potential scientific work or discoveries. My time there cannot be described in words, and although I try to convey the excitement, joy and friendship, I simply cannot do it justice," said Lesibana Rammutla.

The forum provides an unforgettable learning experience and is strongly recommended for those learners who have a deep passion for science.

The National Science Olympiad is organised by SAASTA, who will once again give four top science students an opportunity to attend the next Youth Science Forum in London from 27 July to 10 August 2016. Visit our website to download the 2016 National Science Olympiad entry form.

Daphney Molewa, SAASTA