Young scientists putting final touches to projects for exhibition
THOUSANDS of young people will show they are far from prehistoric when it comes to science in the new year.
The annual BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition opens in a fortnight and students from all over the country are putting the final touches to their projects.
The competition was launched in Dublin in 1965 and in 2011 it will mark its 47th year, making it one of the longest standing exhibitions of its kind in the world.
A record-breaking number of students have entered this year: 3,943 students have submitted a total of 1,735 projects on a range of scientific topics.
Entries have increased steadily over the years. In 2000 there were just 606 entries, but by 2010 this had increased to 1,588.
The popularity of the exhibition has also increased as the years have gone by and organisers expect 35,000 people to visit the RDS in the coming weeks to see what the scientists of tomorrow have to offer.
The competition is a great platform for young scientists to show off their craft, but it is also a fun day out. Visitors will have a huge range on entertainment available to them, from challenging friends to a robot war to touring the solar system through 3D gaming technology.
The BT Arena Stage will be transformed into a Jurassic rainforest to educate visitors about the world during the time of the dinosaurs.
The rainforest has life-size plants and dinosaur models in it to allow people to engage with the elements and learn about the science behind where Jurassic plants began.
Many of the winners of the competition have gone on to great things in the world of science. Last year's winner Richard O'Shea (18), from Blarney, Co Cork, created an innovative cooking stove that produced very few emissions.
He has since won the Adene Special Prize for his work in the field of energy at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Lisbon.
The youngest winner of the competition was Aisling Judge, who at 14 won in 2006 for her project entitled 'The development and evaluation of a biological food spoilage indicator'.
Ireland's interest in science is steeped in history and Irish scientists from the 1800s to the present day have a long list of impressive achievements, from the invention of the modern stethoscope by Arthur Leared (1822-1879) from Wexford to the discovery of a cure for leprosy by Cork man Dr Vincent Barry (1908-1975).
The exhibition will take place at the RDS, Dublin, from January 12-15. Tickets are available for students at €6, adults at €12 and family passes are €25.