Irish team scores gold in science Olympics

16 Sep 2003

An Irish team has won a gold medal for the first time in this year’s International Science Olympiad and IBM has presented the four students with university scholarship awards to recognise their skill in informatics, chemistry and biology.

Gold-medal winner Martin Orr and bronze-medal winners Paul Webster, Lauren Rutherford and Michael White recently returned from various locations around the world where they competed against other secondary students in their respective subjects. They were selected for the international panel after competing in the IBM/Dublin City University (DCU) Irish Science Olympiad Competition in December last year.

Orr, from the Methodist College in Belfast, is the first member of any Ireland team to win a gold medal at the prestigious competition. Travelling to the University of Wisconsin in the US with other Irish competitors, he was awarded a gold medal out of 259 competitors from over 70 countries in the International Olympiad in Informatics 2003. Orr is currently studying for his A Levels and was presented with an IBM university scholarship award worth €2,500.

Charlie Daly, the Irish team leader, said: “Martin winning the gold medal is an incredible achievement. He is a very talented young man. He took on the rest of the world in computer programming and won.”

Webster, of High School Rathgar, Dublin, represented Ireland in Belarus winning a bronze medal in the International Biology Olympiad.

Rutherford, of Foyle and Londonderry College, won a bronze medal in Greece at the International Chemistry Olympiad. White of Hamilton High School, Bandon, Co Cork, won a bronze medal at the International Physics Olympiad, which was held in Taiwan.

All members of the Ireland teams were tutored by DCU Science and Computing Faculties to compete in the international olympiads and have achieved outstanding results against stiff competition from well-established industrial and scientific economies, including north America and Asia.

Michael Cotter, director of the Irish Science Olympiad at DCU, commented: “All the international medal winners have achieved an amazing level of success when you consider that some countries specifically train students over many years for these events.”

Orr, Webster and Rutherford are now about to embark on their university education in the areas of natural science (Trinity College Dublin), physics with astrophysics (Queens University Belfast) and mathematical science (University College Cork) respectively.

By John Kennnedy