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Cups runneth over as young students strive for perfection

YOUR mammy knows how to make the perfect cup of tea, but explaining how to make it is something else entirely.

The science behind the ideal brew is just one of the projects the country's bright young things are showcasing at this year's BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

More than 1,200 nervous secondary school students and teachers descended upon the RDS in Dublin yesterday for the opening ceremony of the event, which is now in its 51st year.

Almost 50,000 people are expected to visit over the coming days to view the 550 projects on display.

Isabel Coleman, Aoibhin O'Sullivan and Suzanne Conneely are Transition Year students in Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon, Co Clare.

Their project 'The perfect cup of tea' investigated how the refreshment was best served for it to be most beneficial for your body.

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Charlotte Hale, 15, Jacqui whelan, 16, and Ellen Walsh 15, from Colaiste bhride Secondary school, in Carnew, Wicklow with their project, Liar Liar, genes on fire, at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition at the RDS. Photo: Damien Eagers

Charlotte Hale, 15, Jacqui whelan, 16, and Ellen Walsh 15, from Colaiste bhride Secondary school, in Carnew, Wicklow with their project, Liar Liar, genes on fire, at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition at the RDS. Photo: Damien Eagers

Charlotte Hale, 15, Jacqui whelan, 16, and Ellen Walsh 15, from Colaiste bhride Secondary school, in Carnew, Wicklow with their project, Liar Liar, genes on fire, at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition at the RDS. Photo: Damien Eagers

"There is a thing in tea called antioxidants and they are to prevent free radicals which can cause mutations, cell damage and lead to cancer - and antioxidants get rid of these," explained Isabel.

"The perfect cup of tea was to retain the antioxidants. We found that the hotter the tea, the better it is for you. No milk is better, and if you are to have milk it is better to have full-fat."

Gareth Power (15) spent his summer holidays creating his very own website and web browser, 'Surfware'. The Junior Certificate student from Castletroy, Co Limerick, said that his project "allows parents to have control over what websites their children can go to online, it is password protected".

"I decided that it would be a good idea to allow parents to have full control over what they can go on. So I decided to create a search engine, then I created a web browser later on," the Castletroy College student said.

"I was learning coding a year or two now. I was originally developing apps, so now I decided to make a website as they can be a lot more powerful. I have always had an interest in technology."

The reigning champion, Paul Clarke, attended yesterday's event and said that he was "very impressed" by the standard of the entries this year. He won last year with his project 'Contributions to cyclic graph theory' and came second in the European competition.

"A lot of memories come back. It's great to look around at the projects and get a real chance to see everything," the Dublin student added.

He is currently busy preparing for his Leaving Certificate and hopes to study mathematics.

This year's competition, which had a record number of entries, kicked off after the opening ceremony yesterday afternoon, and featured special video messages from Taoiseach Enda Kenny and rugby legend Brian O'Driscoll.

It will be open to the public until Saturday, and the winners will be announced tomorrow night.

Mari Cahalane is the head of the BT Young Scientist event and she believes the judges have a very difficult path ahead of them.

There are a number of prizes, but the overall winner will receive the perpetual trophy, a cheque for €5,000 and the chance to represent Ireland in the European competition.

Irish Independent