About 75 youngsters from five schools which are part of the Umkhumbane Schools Project, attended a National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) Share ‘n Dare Programme held at UKZN’s Science and Technology Education Centre (STEC).
The programme was initiated as part of the NSTF-BHP Billiton Awards to enable the award winners to be ambassadors for Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation (SETI), as well as role models for the youth, during the year they receive their awards.
The awards, the flagship project of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF) since 1998, promote and reward excellence in scientific research, technological innovation, education, capacity building and science communication in South Africa.
The 2015 ambassador for the programme is Professor Azwinndini Muronga, who is an Associate Professor of Physics and Director of the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto Science Centre. Muronga, currently the leading Theoretical Physicist in South Africa, is a passionate speaker, determined to stimulate and encourage the youth to study science. He has devoted himself to this programme of outreach and popularisation of science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Two presentations that were delivered on the day. The first one was presented by Dr Tanja Reinhardt of UKZN, who gave an overview of the various courses of study offered by the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science. Reinhardt was followed by Professor Muronga who gave an exciting scientific demonstration. The audience saw a brave volunteer sit on a bed of nails without getting hurt and then were amazed when Muronga blew up a large plastic bag faster than another volunteer.
Muronga encouraged learners to look for entrepreneurial opportunities in the Science field. Learners enjoyed the presentation and asked many questions, such as: What is a Theoretical Physicist? Why is the earth not getting closer to the sun?
Words: Thembane Mlambo