Two SA scientists bag awards at Taiwan International Science Fair

Two exceptional pupils who earned an opportunity to exhibit their scientific proficiency at the 2024 Taiwan International Science Fair following their convincing performance at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, last year, have received awards in Taiwan for successfully showcasing their research.

Johannes Jacobus (Jaco) Deysel, a Grade 11 learner at Hoërskool Jim Fouché in the Free State’s Bloemfontein region

Johannes Jacobus Deysel in Grade 11 at Hoërskool Jim Fouché in the Free State’s Bloemfontein region was awarded the Fourth Award in the Computer Science and Information Engineering category; while Lethabo Molobi, a Grade 12 learner at Zinniaville Secondary School in the North West’s Bojanala region, was awarded the Fourth Award and the Viewer’s Choice Award in the Behavioural and Social Sciences category at the science fair.

The pair displayed a convincing performance at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair, last year, where they presented impressive research projects.

Deysel exhibited his research project at the Taiwan fair, entitled Breaking a Caesar Cipher/Vigenère Cipher Encryption for Secure Data Communication, which is aimed at identifying vulnerabilities in ciphers while exploring factors influencing the strength of an encryption system.

The passionate Deysel said receiving recognition at a prestigious international science event was a tremendous honor for him.

“Being surrounded by some of the brightest minds of our generation was an experience that will forever resonate with me. Moreover, I had the opportunity to see the most beautiful places, while learning about many unique cultures and traditions, which greatly enriched my perspective in many ways.”

Deysel encouraged aspiring young scientists to continue being curious. “You are allowed to disagree and seek your own answers or solutions. Do not allow others to tell you that you ‘can’t do it’, because you can. You are capable of so much more than what people tell you, so don’t take negative feedback to heart; use them as your driving force,” he said.

Molobi’s research titled: From Human Intelligence to Artificial Intelligence Chatbots: Modern Day Writing, focused more on whether you could tell the difference between AI-generated text and human-generated text, in a school setting.

Expressing her excitement, she said nothing made her happier than seeing her hard work pay off.

She said taking part in the science fair was an incredible experience for her.

“I learned a lot from the other participants, and also about different countries and their cultural practices because I interacted with many students from all around the world. Having been exposed to Taiwanese culture, the language and the people was an experience I will always cherish.”

Molobi encouraged aspiring young scientists in the local community to make thoughtful selections when choosing a project category for their participation in the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists. She emphasized the importance of commitment to a chosen research project, advocating for continuous effort and refinement.

From Eskom’s Development Foundation, Mologadi Motshele congratulated the pair on their achievements, by noting how proud the power utility team was for witnessing the pair competing on a global stage and receiving recognition from 630 young scientists from 27 countries.

“Eskom’s commitment to investing in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation (STEMI) through the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists remains unwavering. The Expo is an excellent way to support and nurture the next generation of scientists and engineers, and creates a solid foundation for the development and progress of our country.”

Registration to take part in Eskom Expo 2024 is open. Learners in grades 4 to 12, along with NC2 to NC4 learners from TVET colleges can register their projects by visiting

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