Monday 27 February 2017

Pupils make big bang at science showcase

Nicola AndersonNicola Anderson

Lisa Byrne, Emily Goode and Ernesta Venslovaite of St Joseph's College,
Lucan, with their project to help diabetics
Lisa Byrne, Emily Goode and Ernesta Venslovaite of St Joseph's College, Lucan, with their project to help diabetics

TWO ambulance workers in uniforms craned their necks, completely engrossed in a set of instructions on how to get an 'X Factor' voice -- the main one being to just get in the shower and sing.

They chuckled, before mulling over a complex technical graph that was manna from heaven for any hardcore 'X Factor' fan, courtesy of students from Colaiste Muire in Crosshaven, Co Cork.

It was all part of the myriad scientific breakthroughs at the BT Young Scientist of the Year exhibition at the RDS in Dublin, now in its 47th year and the largest showcase of its kind in Europe.

Everything from where best to keep your apples -- in the fridge, as it turns out -- to how effective the vaccine was for the swine flu virus (pretty good, actually) had been analysed by students from all over the island along with a few inventions like a pretty nifty bicycle helmet with its own brake and indicator lights.

Opening the exhibition yesterday, President Mary McAleese described the atmosphere as "electrifying" and reminded the students that many former young scientists had gone on to great careers.

In that vein, students from Sutton Park school in north Dublin were excited that they may have hit upon an idea to help the least-developed countries.

Caoimhe McNamara (15), Aly Walshe (15) and Josh Tobin (14) used elephant grass leaves, a cheap enzyme and a distillery inspired by the traditional Irish poitin still to make a bio-fuel that could be used to power farm machinery.

"It was great to think that we may have done some good that might help someone somewhere in the world," said Josh.

An individual study on the best hurley to use for the ultimate puck-out was conducted by Jack Banks (13), from Castletroy College in Limerick, who put a synthetic stick, the Cultec, to the test against the traditional ash. His tests revealed there would always be a place for the traditional hurley stick because the weight of it gave more power for a longer puck.

Meanwhile, a BT spokesperson said they had more schools booked in to visit this year than ever before. He credited this to their ramping up of social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Irish Independent

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