A grade nine learner from Cape Town has become the first young South African scientist to walk away with a top prize in a category at the Taiwan International Science Fair held recently.
14-year-old Heidi Bottcher from Fish Hoek High School was selected to attend the science fair last year at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists and International Science Fair after winning a special prize and medal in one of the categories. She was then handpicked by the Expo’s international selection committee to represent South Africa in Taiwan.
Heidi’s winning entry investigated what really attracts boys and girls in the Social and Behavioural Sciences category. She conducted a survey using questionnaires and based on the data received from the 399 respondents at her school, found that confidence and humour were the most attractive characteristics that attract the opposite sexes.
Heidi, who plans on studying psychiatry after finishing high school, says she is motivated to pursue this career because she feels there aren’t a lot of good psychiatrists out there. “A lot of people don’t finish this course because it takes so long to qualify, so generally, I find that there are not a lot of good psychiatrists out there. I also just want to help people so I’m always looking at ways of doing that.”
More prize winners from the Eskom Expo will represent South Africa at various international science fairs such as the London International Youth Science Forum and the International Environment Sustainability Project Olympiad as the year progresses.
[Images – Supplied]