Penang duo are maths wizards of SEA

(From left) Wai Kern and Raymond with their teacher Chung Sze Hui, 34, proudly showing off the award and prizes that they won.

TWO years of dedicated hard work proved fruitful for two local SMJK Heng Ee students when they took first place in the 11th Regional Congress Search for Seameo (South-East Asia Ministers of Education Organisation) Young Scientists 2018 competition in the mathematics category.

Wong Wai Kern, 17, who is in Form Five, said he and his partner Raymond Chow Yin Hong were surprised to have won as it was a very difficult competition.

“We submitted our project which was an algorithm to determine atmospheric concentrations of PM10 pollutant.”

Raymond, 17, said the algorithm would be useful for those with asthma and they plan to move the algorithm into smartphones for users’ convenience.

Their project submission won them the Most Promising Young Scientists title in the competition and RM2,000 cash prize, trophy and certificate on Friday.

Themed ‘Youth Creativity for Harmonising Sustainable Development Goals’, the annual competition is organised by Seameo-Regional Centre for Education in Science and Mathematics (Seameo-Recsam) based in Penang.

Shortlisted delegates numbering 183 from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam made up 31 participating teams for science, 18 for mathematics and 12 for scientific exhibitions categories.

Held from Feb 26 to March 2, the event saw the delegates engaging in interactive discussions on their field of studies and presenting their research projects to a panel of international judges at Seameo-Recsam.

Friends Nattawut Thongudomsakoun, 17, and Dedvalab Farman, 18, (pic above, front row right) from the Kiettisack International School in Laos also took home the first prize of RM2,000, trophy and certificate for the science category with their project on extraction of calcium and iron for water purification.

“In Laos, especially in certain provinces, many people lack access to clean water so they have to rely on ground water which is actually problematic as it has high levels of these two metals,” explained Farman.

Thongudomsakoun added that with the use of carbon from coconut shells and bamboo waste as filters, filtration levels successfully showed a significant decrease in the levels of the metals present.

Meanwhile, the Philippines (front row left) triumphed in the science exhibition category when all six awards including the Best Overall Award were claimed by six different teams from five of its schools.

Indonesian Minister of Education and Culture and Seameo council president Dr Muhadjir Effendy said he was impressed by the ideas and originality of the projects, and the ideas will be shared out to other students all over to inspire more youths into the pursuing these fields.

“The Seameo congress is a good platform for young scientists to develop themselves and meet their contemporaries from different countries to drive them into becoming future scientists,” he told reporters after the award presentation ceremony.

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