Physical Sciences Grade 12 students learn from MIT students

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The year started a week earlier for 60 grade 12 physical science students who participated in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) / Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (Isasa) / St John’s College Science Enrichment Program.

Learners from independent schools in South Africa, Swaziland and Namibia completed the program led by six MIT students. The program has been designed around three main axes, in particular neuronal and cognitive sciences, computer science and research methods under the general theme “The brain: natural and artificial intelligence”.

Learners were exposed to a range of activities including the study of sets of problems normally presented to MIT undergraduates in their studies and the practical aspects of designing and constructing structures against constraints. of real world time and budgets.

Jeanne Trickett, professor of physics at St John’s College, said: “They built and programmed robots and discussed the importance of developing entrepreneurial skills. A visit to IBM’s research lab and Tshimologong district in Braamfontein turned out to be a highlight for many. Exposure to cutting-edge concepts such as quantum computing has opened our students’ eyes to the breadth of possibilities that await them and to the understanding that disruptive innovation occurs at the nodes (intersection points) of our fields of science, art and humanities.

Trickett said Assistant Vice Chancellor and Research Director at University of Wits Prof Zeblon Vilakazi captivated his audience by discussing Stem Career Development (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Engineering importance of collaboration and networks in the development of new technologies.

“A strong theme underlying all the discussions was the importance of cherishing what makes us human, and therefore, the importance of developing strong ethical codes to guide our scientific endeavors. “

Tricket noted that the team appreciated the energy and deep curiosity of Isasa’s students and the humble learning they gained from visits to the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, and the Cradle of the humanity.

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