The below feedback was received from Ndinae Mashutha, one of the students that took part in the exhibition and assisted in hosting the NITheP exhibition stand.
“We are honored for being part of a new idea which is being introduced to kids at an early stage, this is because what kids learn here in rural schools is that from high school science we only learn medicine, mixing chemicals and engineering which of cause there is nothing wrong with it, but those are not the only fields a child can study. The first day at the hall was hectic as we were also starting this kind of work, we got our first a group of students and tried to simplify in a nutshell what NITHEP really is, then after that talk students were more interested in the money (bursary) how you get, do you return it?, Is it for fees?.. etc. judging by that respond we had it in us that we should try a new approach in this talking to this kids. The first thing is that student were not familiar with the word theoretical physics, did not know how it plays a role in nature and of cause in their lives, some of the famous theoretical physicist like Michio Kaku, Hawking and others were new words to them. And for that first day it was tough to devise such a summary very fast.
The following day after finding the posters you sent us we kind of found a nice and sharp idea to really make them get what NITHEP’s goals are and why this institution, then we kind of put it in all sorts of ways we made to get them excited and listen too which was a breakthrough, we had to tell them how theoretical physics can be so cool and fun just like any other field in science, then from there a few questions started rising, some asked if they can formulate their own equations in life, which sectors will they offer jobs for people in this field, how theoretical physics help with the NDP goal and more question raised on why NITHEP does not offer an undergraduate bursary and some school were more focused on seeing the experiments than listening, so it was quite hard to get them to really here the wonders of being a theoretical physicist.
A few things we would like to add on hosting a thing like this we should bring posters of some of the local and international theoretical physicist with at least one or two equations they made on those posters; this can also inspire many by just seeing that. And maybe do a video of what some of the equation can do which is similar to what happens in real life”.
Great thanks goes to Dr Eric Maluta (Physics Department, University of Venda) for coordinating and hosting the NITheP stand, and Prof Josheph Kirui (Head of Department) for his support – big thanks to you both for your loyal support as always.