Curro Durbanville head boy scoops third place at American science fair

Curro Durbanville High School’s head boy, Dashayin Gilbert, stands alongside his science project on, Formula One aerodynamics, at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta.

Curro Durbanville High School’s head boy, Dashayin Gilbert, has won third place for his project on Formula One aerodynamics at a science fair in America.

The world’s brightest young scientists are invited to present their research at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, and there were 1 410 exhibits from some 1750 finalists who came from 63 countries, at this year’s event, in Atlanta on Wednesday May 11, according to the school spokeswoman Marianne Stewart.

The Society for Science is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to expanding scientific literacy and scientific research, according to its website.

Dashayin, who is originally from Durban, said he developed a keen interest in science during primary school.

“However, the more significant interest in science started when I was introduced to high school physics. I enjoy studying fluid dynamics over all other topics. My science project, which is a study into aerodynamic principles, made me discover that,” he said.

Dashayin’s project on Formula One aerodynamics fell under the category of Physics, Astronomy and Space Science.

“From a young age, I became interested in F1, as my dad introduced me to the sport. Over time, my passion for F1 grew into something I became engrossed with. Specifically in 2019, when I started to learn about the technology and engineering involved in the sport.”

His favourite Formula One drivers are Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton.

His was one of the eight best projects from the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists chosen to represent South Africa in the science fair. “I was privileged to be a part of that team,” he said.

He had gained “invaluable insight” into the level of work being carried out internationally in the scientific field, he said.

“I was also able to speak to many of the highest ranking universities in the world such as MIT, Georgia Tech, Imperial College London, Princeton, Yale, etc. I also had the opportunity to meet world-renowned theoretical physicist, Dr Michio Kaku, and a few Nobel Prize winners for science.”

Dashayin’s science project placed third in the Physics and Astronomy category, and he was also the only South African to receive an award at the science fair.

Asked about his future plans, he said: “I would like to pursue a career in Formula One motorsport after completing an engineering degree. That is my first career goal. I have currently been awarded a full scholarship to study at Pretoria University that I received at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.”

He added that if he studied internationally, he would rather choose to study aerospace engineering.

Curro Durbanville’s interim head of high school, Jaco Oliver, praised Dashayin for his achievements abroad.

“Apart from his obvious and keen interest in science and his wonderful talent on an academic level, he also sets the bar high as a leader. Dash was also crowned as ‘Mr Curro’ earlier this term. He is the perfect example of an intrinsically motivated individual that will go all out to reach the goals he sets for himself. We will follow his progress after school with keen interest, as we know his future is bright.”