SOME of the Eastern Cape’s top young science brains will battle later this month for the chance to win a coveted “golden ticket” to compete against the best in the world in Britain in June.

Dubbed the Pop Idols of science, the regional finals of FameLab 2016 will be held at the University of Fort Hare at the end of the month.

Organised by the British Council in partnership with the South Africa Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) and others, the competition hopes to break down stereotypes that science is boring.

British Council South Africa director Colm McGivern said the national winner would be a brilliant young scientist who could best “tell a story, inspire an audience and prove that science is fun”. “Good science communication is vitally important in South Africa, not just for the talented scientists who want their work to be known, but also for those who can work with brilliant ideas to create solutions to real-world problems.”

The competition is open to scientists aged 21 to 35 who are involved in disciplines such as technology, engineering, medicine, biology, chemistry, physics and maths.

Many of the world’s top young scientific brains have entered competitions in over 25 countries in the hope of becoming national winners and making it to the international finals at the Times Cheltenham Festival in the UK in June.

Contestants are given three minutes to present a scientific topic to a panel of expert judges in an accurate, interesting and entertaining way that the lay person can understand. “Science should be useful and can only be so if the public is able to engage and understand,” says FameLab. “Unfortunately, scientific concepts and findings are not always communicated all too well to the public.”

SAASTA science editor Joanne Riley said FameLab provides young scientists with the opportunity to meet other passionate scientists from diverse disciplines.

Expert training for the heats at Fort Hare will take place on February 29 at the university with the regional finals taking place on March 1. Video submissions can be made. Further details can be obtained from The national finals will be held on May 4 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Source: Daily Dispatch

  • Click HERE to find out more about FameLab.

Mr Moloko Matlala talks to the SABC about the National Science Olympiad