Sunday 22 July 2018

Cracking Lotto code - and our attitudes to refugees

Jibola Boris (15), from Coláiste Mhuire, Mullingar, with his
project 'Can Syrian refugees adapt to life in Ireland?' Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Jibola Boris (15), from Coláiste Mhuire, Mullingar, with his project 'Can Syrian refugees adapt to life in Ireland?' Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Ian Begley

This year's BT Young Scientists competition has seen dazzling and innovative projects from students across the country.

Once again the level of ingenuity has been breathtaking, with young people tackling a vast array of different subjects.

For those feeling the pinch after the festive period, the project of Fearghal Burke (17), of Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, could come in handy.

The enterprising teen's project aimed to find a way to improve your chances of winning big in the National Lottery.

"Although my tests did conclude that the draws were independent and random, I found that 65pc of people play their own numbers, but what they don't realise is that many more are choosing the exact same," Fearghal said.

"It showed me that there are certain combinations played a lot with each other, such as two, 18, 28. It also revealed that players should always attempt to avoid patterns in their numbers and avoid 'popular' numbers such as three."

Meanwhile, three fifth-year students from Mercy College, Sligo, set out to investigate the old wives tale that birds instinctively know when a cold snap is coming.

Speaking at their Young Scientists stall, Molly Budd said the idea first came to her when she was on work experience on a farm.

"The woman I was working with said all the cherries were left on a tree and figured that the birds were saving them for the cold winter ahead," she said.

Team-mate Amy Keenan O'Hara said they set up three bird feeders outside their homes and weighed the food every day.

Dropped

"We then took note of the temperatures and the general weather and did the same for an entire month," she said.

"We found that a day or two before the temperature dropped that a lot the birds ate way more food than they usually do."

"They do this to conserve energy and keep warm," added third team-mate Rosaleen Keehan. "It's an evolutionary process, which we found very interesting."

Mullingar student Jibola Boris (15) set out to investigate how refugees integrate into society.

"Only 37pc of the people I surveyed wanted refugees living near them, 63pc thought that there would be an increase in crime, 54pc said taking in 4,000 refugees was too much and 82pc didn't feel like they should be entitled to social welfare," he said.

In another project, 13-year-old Navan student Ben Sooros's project aimed to come up with a device to catch dangerous drivers and to keep cyclists safe.

"My device detects if a car is within one and a half metres of the cyclist.

"It records video for 10 seconds then uploads it to a server which captures their licence place and uploads it to a website," he said.

Irish Independent

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