The Caribbean Youth Science Forum (CYSF), hosted by NIHERST annually, was the place to be in August for sixth form science students wanting to reap the benefits and invaluable experiences to be gained. The event introduced these eager young minds to the region's top scientists, engineers and industry leaders who came forward to share knowledge and career advice, and to encourage them on their own journeys as future scientists.
CYSF 2012 kicked off with a big bang on 5 August, attracting 200 students from seven countries and over 50 schools, who came together for a week of learning, imagining, collaborating and enjoying. Throughout the week, they were treated to presentations on cutting-edge topics, from the origin of the universe and the space-time fabric to human genetics and the future of biomedical engineering, geomatics and designing buildings to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters. Science HardTalk, introduced this year, gave participants the chance to do their own research into some of these topics and interrogate the expert presenters. Smart questions that belied their tender age were posed to visiting and local experts on human genetics and astrophysics, in particular the Higgs-Boson. The Design Challenge Competition tested students' skills in creative problem-solving, communication, team work and the application of theoretical knowledge in building functional air gliders to set specifications.
The aim of this unique and important educational platform is to illustrate the critical role that science and technology play in unlocking the secrets of the laws of nature to solve the pressing challenges facing humanity in every sphere of life. The world, and certainly the Caribbean, needs more scientists. At CYSF, our youth are invited to take up the baton being handed to them by past and current generations of scientists, and to lead in new and unforeseeable ways for uplifting and improving the lives of all people. It is a mission they all seem willing to accept by the end of this enlightening and rewarding week.