Duo win for project that offers new method to geometry problem
Two Dublin students say they are “shocked and surprised” after being crowned overall winners of this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.
Joining illustrious company, Aditya Joshi (15) and Aditya Kumar (15) from Synge Street CBS in Dublin have taken the title for their project ‘A New Method of Solving the Bernoulli Quadrisection Problem’.
The quadrisection triangle problem concerns finding two perpendicular lines which divide a given triangle into four equal areas.
Their project originates from an area of geometry that has a very long history.
Joshi and Kumar decided to present a new approach to the problem which dates back to 1687.
They used the technique of “particle swarm optimisation”, a computer algorithm inspired by biological phenomena seen in the behaviour of flocks of birds or swarms of bees.
Both boys expressed their shock at winning the BTYSTE perpetual trophy and the top prize of €7,500.
“It felt surreal, six months of hard work on and off during the holidays and everything so it was really good to get the win in return,” said Joshi.
“I thought we did really well in the presentations with the judges, so I was kind of surprised that we didn’t win anything in the category awards and then we ended up winning it.
Kumar added: “It feels unreal, I feel very happy and ecstatic about it.
“We ended up winning the entire thing. I was just shocked and so surprised, they told me to get my uniform and get ready for being on camera I was just so surprised.”
It is the fourth time that the Dublin school has won the BTYSTE, having previously won in 2012, 2009 and 2004.
The students presented their project in the intermediate section in the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences category.
Joshi also entered the competition in 2020 and won third place in his category.
Both students are interested in a career in software engineering.
Kumar said: “I’m stuck between two roads. I kind of want to become a software engineer but also want to be a doctor but I still have to make a decision on which one to go for.”
While Joshi said he also has dreams of starting his own company one day.
“I’m really interested in computers, so I was looking towards software engineering or robotics. I would also like to start my own company if I get an idea for it,” he said.
It is also a very special day for Joshi as he celebrates his 15th birthday. Plans to cut his birthday cake had to be put on hold when the pair were announced as the winners.
“When the awards were coming up, we were about to cut my birthday cake, so hopefully we can cut it later today when we have time,” he said.
Ross O’Boyle (16) was the individual winner of the competition for his project entitled ‘An investigation into the effectiveness of various ventilation methods using CO2 as a proxy for the spread of Covid-19 in both controlled and real-life scenarios’.
The transition year student from Portmarnock Community College, Dublin was in the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences Individual Category at intermediate level.
“I’m absolutely delighted, all the hard work paid off and research, so I’m thrilled about that. I wasn’t expecting to win as I did, it was a shock,” he said.
“The issue of ventilation is a very topical issue and as well I have a love of data gathering and data analysis. I incorporated mathematical modelling into my project to predict the CO2 levels overtime and I also wanted to assess what CO2 levels were like in classrooms.”
He found that the concentration levels of CO2 are significantly higher at greater heights in a room.
As a result, Ross recommends that CO2 monitors are placed at a certain height in each classroom.
“My two main findings would have been that CO2 concentrations in fact increase with height in rooms, and this would be an unexpected result as CO2 is heavier than air and this has implications on issues such as the placement of CO2 monitors.
“I recommend that CO2 monitors are placed at a height of between one and 1.5 metres in classrooms. Placing them at the ground level wouldn’t be representative of the true CO2 levels that students would experience.
“I wanted to help as best as I could, and I think my project would be useful to people and the general public.”
Ross conducted the controlled tests in a sealed-off room in his own home.
“They involved the release of CO2 from a gas cylinder in a very safe and controlled manner and then after that various ventilation measures were enacted, and the decay of the CO2 was monitored.
“I conducted real-life tests in classrooms and involved placing CO2 sensors in two different classrooms to monitor CO2 levels over extended periods,” he said.