SA learner scoops international Science prize!

Published on June 28th, 2012
SA learner scoops international Science prize!

How ’bout a round of applause for Chené Mostert, a 17-year-old Matric learner at Ladysmith High School in KZN? Why? Because her smart invention won first prize at a competition in Pittsburgh, USA.

You may not think a toilet could ever inspire a brilliant idea, but that’s exactly what happened to Chené Mostert earlier this year. “While I was brushing my teeth one night, I noticed the toilet next to the basin, and remembered reading that cold, wet places are ideal breeding places for bacteria,” says Chené.

Now, most people would just finish brushing their teeth and forget about the whole thing, but Chené clearly isn’t most people. She went off and collected 150 toothbrushes and, when she tested them for bacteria, Chené discovered over 100 different types on the bristles! Pretty gross… and pretty dangerous, when you consider the fact that those bugs could make a person sick if they managed to get into the bloodstream…

“I realised there was nothing on the local market for cleaning toothbrushes,” says Chené, “so I designed a plastic box with a rotation system in which toothbrushes can be stored and cleaned.”

How does Chené’s invention work? Well, the box contains hydrogen peroxide and is designed to hold four toothbrushes. Just stick them inside and turn the handle, and an internal scrubbing brush will blast all the nasty bugs right off your brush. It’s a simple, super-smart system that just earned its creator $2 000 (about R17 000) at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, USA. The American Dental Association has also invited Chené to patent her invention in America! Now that’s what we call something to smile about…

Picture of Chené from Beeld newspaper – http://www.beeld.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/SA-skolier-in-VSA-bekroon-20120627