Saturday 23 September 2017

Bright young things greet politicians with 'pure manure'

Brendan O'Grady from Limerick looking into a tesla ball at the Young Scientist exhibition
Brendan O'Grady from Limerick looking into a tesla ball at the Young Scientist exhibition
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

"pure manure" signs, the plastic bullock or even having to pose in a car seat wearing a pair of silly goggles posed no problems.

But it was funny how the visiting politicians managed to navigate carefully past the noticeboard that could have been genuinely catastrophic for them to be photographed with.

On whistlestop tours of the BT Young Scientist Exhibition at the RDS yesterday, nary a one happened upon the exhibit boldly proclaiming that 91.4pc of those surveyed disagreed with the statement that "all Irish politicians are decent, hard-working people".

The work done by students of Youghal Community School in Cork was done to test the political awareness and engagement of students aged 15 to 18. Claire Cunningham (15), Rebecca Wilson (14), and Matthew Doherty (16), said they never expected the results to be as negative.

"Nobody trusts the Government," they said, adding that some 46pc of people could not name any three current party leaders.

Students at Sacred Heart Secondary School in Clonakilty, Co Cork, are hoping to turn their idea into a lucrative business.

Kate Jennings (15), Niamh Kingston (15), and Catriona Hegarty (15), came up with the concept of a cheap inflatable flood barrier that is already sparking interest amongst local business groups.

"There's nothing like in on the market," said Kate, explaining how they had cut a blow-up mattress in half and got a local PVC welding company to specify it for their needs.

Patent

"It has to be the exact size," said Niamh, adding that they are now looking at taking out a patent and manufacturing it in hypalon -- a material which is much stronger than PVC.

"People keep stopping and asking where they can buy it and when we're going to put it on the market," she laughed.

Pure fun was the name of the game at Sandford College in Ranelagh, Dublin, where students Alex Price (13), and Darragh Derivan (14), had made an air-powered rocket.

"We trap the air in the pipes and build up the pressure and release it," explained Alex, admitting they'd had a great time testing it out on the school football pitch. Tests had to be postponed due to the snow blizzards, however, and so they ended up doing most of their experiments during the Christmas holidays.

Eyeing all the goings on with great interest was businessman Jonathan Sutton, visiting from Tanzania, who plans on exporting the entire concept of the Young Scientist Exhibition to Africa and is meeting for discussions today with officials from the exhibition.

Joseph Clowry from Maynooth University -- who is also involved in the drive to take the idea to four African countries, including Tanzania and Uganda -- said they frequently take African researchers over to Ireland in order to upskill them.

Irish Independent

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