Mars Talk at Science Expo Rivets Learners

Discover UKZN

Mr Divashen Govender, chats with learners at the
FFS Expo for Young Scientists.

The 306 learners at the FFS Expo for Young Scientists were fascinated to learn that there will be internet on Mars.

They heard this from keynote speaker, Mr Divashen Govender, a BSc graduate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, who is on the short list of 100 people from around the world vying for a place to travel to Mars on a one-way ticket in 2026!

All the numbers were up at this year’s expo – held on UKZN’s Edgewood campus in Pinetown – with 223 projects on display and 23 schools participating.

The award for the Best Senior Project went to Nicholas Fowler in Grade 10 at Hilton College, for his project: Machine Guidance is Economically Viable.

The award for Best Junior project was won by Dani Jansen van Rensburg, a Grade 8 learner at Hillcrest High School for her project Cu at the Taxi Rank. Dani was also last year’s winner in the category.

And in the ever-popular Micro Steam Car Challenge, Wingen High School at Shallcross took the top three places. The winner was Kairon Govindasamy whose car travelled 872 metres on 20 ml of methylated spirits. He bought the flame-powered steam turbine micro car in kit form from UKZN and built it up. He would not reveal the secret of his success, saying only that he had worked for three months preparing for race day.

Said Andrew Channing, Managing Director at FFS Refiners: ‘We believe that a country’s future is linked to the development of science and technology among high-school learners as this is where our scientists and engineers will come from.  We are proud to be sponsors of the FFS Expo for Young Scientists as in so doing we are encouraging young learners to consider a career in the science and technology fields.’

FFS Refiners, an innovative Durban-based company, is the largest supplier of industrial heating fuels in South Africa. The company markets products for a wide variety of uses, including glass making, brick making, steam raising in boilers, billet re-heating, baking, incineration, laundry, road-mix heating, lime kilns, sand and stone drying.

FFS Refiners currently has over 250 customers who collectively consume more than 300 000 tons of fuel oil per year.

FFS Refiners is  sponsoring about 25 of the top achievers on a four-day tour in October of various sites of scientific interest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, including the Drakensberg Pumping Station, Wits University Planetarium, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s National Laser Centre, Pretoria Zoo, Tswaing Meteorite Crater, Sterkfontein Caves, and SciBono in Johannesburg.

For more information on the expo, contact: Professor Bice Martincigh on 031 260 1394 w or Mr Logis Pillai on 083 798 2951.

Chris Hoare