Pentaquarks and deep space travel on Day 2 of BTYSTE 2016

7 Jan 2016

From l-r: Irene Shortall and Dearblha Duignan from Moate Community School in Co Westmeath. Image via Connor McKenna

On the second day of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) 2016, our minds were blown listening to one student challenging the pentaquark theory, among other entries.

Each year the judging panel, students and public are wowed by some of the entries at BTYSTE, and 2016 is no different.

With more than 550 projects entered into this year’s exhibition,’s team on the ground managed to speak to the brains behind some of the most exciting and visually interesting projects to make it to the RDS in Dublin.

One of the first we spoke to on day two was John Huggard from Blackrock College in Dublin who, despite being in the junior cycle category, is challenging the scientific basis of the pentaquark, a subatomic particle that has only been known about since July 2015.

Elsewhere, things got quite otherworldly with Colm Aiken and Matthew Petticrew from Ballymena Academy in Antrim, who detailed their plans for creating the technology that could allow us to expand as humans further into space than we’ve ever gone before.

And finally for part one of today’s round-up, we spoke to Dearbhla Duignan and Irene Shortall from Moate Community School in Westmeath, who revealed their plans to use common fungi to create biodegradable plastics to prevent the clogging up of our oceans.

As was covered extensively last year, approximately 8m tonnes of plastic is dumped annually into the world’s oceans, forming vast islands of non-degradable garbage. Even worse is the fact that 90pc of the world’s seabirds are eating this garbage in some shape or form, which, given the food chain, means we’re eating it, too.

Don’t forget to check out yesterday’s highlights, which included a Raspberry Pi home automation system and a glove that can help people with Parkinson’s disease live a more comfortable daily life. Also, don’t forget to check back later for part two of today’s highlights where some students show their creative sides.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic