Irish students win top prize at EU young scientists awards

25 Sep 2012

Mark Kelly and Eric Doyle, after winning a top prize at the EU Contest for Young Scientists today

Mark Kelly and Eric Doyle, this year’s overall winners at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, have today scooped another top award in Bratislava, Slovakia, at the EUCYS, the EU Contest for Young Scientists.

They won for their project ‘Simulation accuracy in the gravitational many-body problem’, which already won over the judges at the young scientist competition in Dublin in January.

The two students developed an algorithm that looked at planetary motion and how to keep satellites on the right flight path during space exploration.

Kelly and Doyle built upon the work of the Irish mathematician Diarmuid Ó’Mathúna for their project. They had been students at Synge Street CBS in Dublin at the time.

Today, the two were one of three teams that won first prizes at the EUCYS contest, the annual competition for young scientific minds.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, congratulated Doyle and Kelly on their win.

“Their work on simulating how objects respond to gravity in certain environments could have many practical applications, not least in space exploration,” she said. “Their project builds on the ground-breaking work of Diarmuid Ó’Mathúna, a great Irish scientist who has clearly inspired the next generation.”

Kelly is now planning to study science at University College Dublin, while Doyle is heading to Trinity College Dublin to study theoretical physics.

The other two top prizes went to teams from Poland and Austria for projects in chemistry and engineering. This year’s competition attracted 117 contestants aged between 14 and 21 from 36 countries. The European Commission set up the EUCYS in 1989.

Watch this video interview with Eric Doyle and Mark Kelly, following their win at the 2012 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic