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Wednesday 20 August 2014

Pupils gear up for 50th BT Young Scientist Exhibition

Published 08/01/2014 | 15:00

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More than 500 students will see their work open to the public tomorrow, as the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition throws open its doors for its 50th year.

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A total of 550 projects are on display in Dublin's RDS from Thursday to Saturday. The event draws in around 45,000 people each year and is one of the largest events of its kind in Europe.

We caught up with a few of those taking part to find out how the got started, what inspired them and how long it took tho get their projects together.

A method of deterring/ detecting the tampering of drinks - Sean Duffy and Warren Gleeson - Desmond College, Limerick

Sean and Warren, both 16-years-old were inspired to start this project after their parents warned them about drink spiking before they go out to discos. "We thought afterwards, how can we solve this," Mr Gleeson said.

The duo came up with a one-use anti-tamper label and a bubble, which will indicate if a drink bottle has been tampered with of if something has been injected in through a syringe.

At present, the device is hard to make, as the bubble is manually cut out from bubble wrap, but the contestants are hopeful it will become popular.

The Desmond College pupils are very excited about their invention and have already sent in to Junior Dragon's Den, where they are through to the next round.

"We're hoping to get through and push on with that for the rest of the year," Mr Duffy said.

"[Drink tampering] is a huge problem in our society now."

"It's a great project. It could make a huge difference," Mr Gleeson said.

They are hoping for a few awards, but don't want to "get cocky".

Teachers - The good, the bad and the ugly - Luke Fehily - Coláiste Muire, Crosshaven

If a teacher is boring and not very investing, does that make it harder for students to learn? Not really, according to Luke Fehily's investigation.

With the help of a student teacher, Mr Fehily investigated whether a positive, mediocre and then negative teaching atmosphere made a difference. He made sure none of his teachers were involved in the project. 

"I think it would have been seen as a form of political treason if I involved the teachers themselves," Mr Fehily said.

"Hopefully I didn't make any enemies during the project."

The 16-year-old was inspired to take part in this project after noticing different teaching trends while going through the junior certificate programme.

"There are 550 projects, so there are around 549 other projects to compete with. It will be fantastic," he said.

"This is the culmination of three months work. I put my life and soul into this, so hopefully I come away with something."

Redheads, are they more likely to be hyper-mobile? - Tara Matthews - Seamount College

Ever want to know if redheads had a greater than average flexibility in their joints? Well, 16-year-old Tara Matthews did and experimented with some local primary school pupils to find out.

"People that I studied showed that they were hypermobile or were likely to by hypermobile," she said.

"For every red head I tested, I tested another child.

"It was a weird sort of question to ask the principals if it was okay to do that and then to ask the parents if it was okay to test their kids. Some of them were a bit sceptical."

The testing involved a flexibility survey and written survey for the children to take.

"It was good fun to do so I'm happy," she said.

Ms Matthews said she would like to win an award for her work, but she's not sure what way the awards will go.

Zero: An app to reduce food wastage in the home - Emma Townsend - St. Leo's College, Carlow

After reading Apple founder Steve Jobs' autobiography, Emma Townsend decided to create her own app. She also noticed that there was quite a bit of food wastage going on in the home, so she decided to put them both together.

She created the 'zero' app, allowing people the chance to see what they can still consume and what they'll have to throw away.

"It took a very long time to make. Probably since around September and I've been working really hard on it," she said.

"If I'm lucky I might get an award, but I hope so, because I put so much effort into this."

Ms Townsend said she's also looking forward to looking around at other exhibitions and seeing how inventive her competitors are.

"It's nice to be around people who like science as much as you do," she said.

Her mother has started using the app to cut down on food wastage around the home.

JASON KENNEDY

Irish Independent

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