As students eagerly wait to find out who will be named 2015’s BT Young Scientist champion, we take a final look at some of the fantastic projects on show in Dublin.
Each of the 550 student projects populating the RDS this week deserves high praise. Exploring the numerous stands spanning the exhibition hall, the standard is so high that it’s tough to single out just a handful, and credit must be given to all of the 1,185 students participating in the 51st BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE).
We spoke to a variety of young teams and individuals hoping for one of the 120-plus awards that will be presented during a ceremony on Friday evening.
Annie Regan, a Leaving Certificate student at St Nathy’s College, Roscommon, described her method for teaching Le Chatelier’s principle with so much passion that it’s no surprise teachers had been visiting her stand to take notes for their own classrooms.
Another rousing teaching method was proposed by a mathematical investigation by Ciara Finan and Emma O’Reilly, transition-year students in Loreto College Cavan. The girls applied the concept of game theory in devising a two-player game at which they are (almost) unbeatable.
We also spoke to Jake Walsh, Emma Holt and Eden Bryan from Avondale Community College in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, about a social experiment involving pirate hats, while Niamh Twomey and Marieke Buckley from Kinsale Community School in Kinsale, Co Cork – a school with a remarkable BTYSTE pedigree – walked us through their study on public awareness of male suicide.
Some projects are inspired by the science students encounter in their everyday lives. For example, Maria Guinan and Olivia Summerville from Sacred Heart Secondary School in Tullamore, Co Offaly, were prompted to investigate how honeybees make perfect hexagons through Guinan’s uncle, a beekeeper.
And while these second-year students were looking at the environment around them, the Cytherean Industries project from Co Tipperary’s CBS Thurles students Michael O’Callaghan and Tommy O’Sullivan is truly out of this world, proposing a roadmap to guide humanity to industrialise space resources and, ultimately, enable us to become an interplanetary species.