13 February 2019 | Story Leonie Bolleurs
From left; Shaun Redgard (captain), Chantelle Booysen, Dr Hendrik van Heerden (coach), and Edward Lee emerged as winners of the 2019 International Natural Sciences Tournament (INST).

A group of three students from the University of the Free State – Shaun Redgard (Department of Chemistry, Edward Lee (Department of Physics), and Chantelle Booysen (the Human Molecular Biology Unit, Department of Haematology and Cell Biology) – emerged as winners ofthe 2019 International Natural Sciences Tournament (INST).

– emerged as winners of the 2019 International Natural Sciences Tournament (INST).

The final stage was held at the Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) in Tallinn, Estonia, from 1 to 5 February 2019.This was the 9th annual presentation of the tournament that was originally launched in Russia.

According to the organisers, the principal goal of the tournament is to teach young engineers and scientists to use their knowledge to solve real-world problems.

There were six participating teams in the final part of the tournament. Participants from South Africa and Russia had to solve a dozen difficult problems in the spheres of medicine, biology, physics, and chemistry.

This year, the organisers decided to add some tasks with a straightforward connection to daily human life.

Redgard, who was the captain of the team, along with Lee, Booysen, and their coach, Dr Hendrik van Heerden (from the UFS Department of Physics), attended the tournament for the very first time, but they showed a high-level game.  

The final debate was held between the students from South Africa and Russia. The team from South Africa was persistent, confident, and structured. According to the judges, the finalists solved all the problems in accordance with the tournament rules. “The students were creative and original in solving all of the tasks, and this led them to victory,” they said.

The panel of judges was composed of a mix of bright specialists from universities as well as industrial and consulting companies operating in Estonia, the United States, the Netherlands, Portugal, Latvia, and Russia.

The founder of the tournament, Dr Sergey Safonov from Russia, says about the competition: “Our mission is to bring real-world problem-solving skills to bright scientists around the globe. We believe that science is not just an interesting subject of study, but a real instrument of changing the surrounding world, creating new products, and solving environmental problems. We believe that there are a lot of talented students around the world who seek to find their place in science and industry”.

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