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It's seen 65,000 students, 31,000 projects – the Young Scientist celebrates 50 years

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PRAISE: Enda Kenny with Eibhlin McCarthy (13) and Katie Phelan (13), both from Loreto College, Balbriggan, at the launch of the 50th BT Young Scientist and Technology competition

PRAISE: Enda Kenny with Eibhlin McCarthy (13) and Katie Phelan (13), both from Loreto College, Balbriggan, at the launch of the 50th BT Young Scientist and Technology competition

PRAISE: Enda Kenny with Eibhlin McCarthy (13) and Katie Phelan (13), both from Loreto College, Balbriggan, at the launch of the 50th BT Young Scientist and Technology competition

BY THIS stage, the maths is almost mind-boggling – 65,000 students, 31,000 projects and 50 years.

The BT Young Scientist and Technology competition is set to celebrate half a century of Ireland's most creative minds.

The country's best known exhibition for young minds has spawned some world-beating talent over the years, such as Limerick youngster Patrick Collison, who at the age of 24, is one of the brightest talents in Silicon Valley.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was present at the launch this week as he passed on his birthday wishes alongside Colm O'Neill, chief executive of BT Ireland, Dr Tony Scott, co-founder of the exhibition, and budding student scientists.

 

Congratulations

BT Ireland also announced that it will extend its commitment to organising and sponsoring the competition until 2016.

Organisers estimate that more than 65,000 students have entered more than 31,000 projects in the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition over the past 49 years.

The Taoiseach said: "I am delighted to offer my wholehearted congratulations to everyone involved in the BT Young Scientist Exhibition as it celebrates its 50th birthday.

"The whole country has been impressed by the hard work and ingenuity of all of those who have taken part since the first competition was held in 1965."

The winner of the first-ever competition was John Monahan, who founded Avigen, an international biotechnology company based in California.

"It was at the exhibition in 1965 when I came to realise that a potential career in science and research was a genuine possibility for me," he said.

BT is calling on all past entrants, visitors, teachers, judges, partners and supporters to connect with the exhibition again and send their Happy Birthday messages and memories via a virtual birthday card, Facebook and Twitter.

Next year's exhibition will take place in the RDS, Dublin from January 8-11, 2014. The closing date for entries is October 2.

 

WINNERS WHO PUT IRELAND ON THE MAP

 

• Patrick Collison – An overnight millionaire when he was 19, attributes his success in designing computer language to his win in the Young Scientist in 2005.

Patrick from Castletroy, Co Limerick, won first place at the age of 16. His project involved the creation of a new programming language.

Patrick went on to co-found Auctomatic with his brother, John, in 2007 which was acquired 10 months later for $5m.

• John Monahan – The first ever winner of the Young Scientist in 1965.

He went on to a distinguished career which led him to a biotech company in California which develops new therapy products for treating human disease.

"It was at the exhibition in 1965 when I came to realise that a potential career in science and research was a genuine possibility for me," the Kildare man said. "The exhibition can be a life-changing event and I am very grateful for the start in life it offered me."

• Eric Doyle and Mark Kelly – Sixth- year students from Synge St CBS, D8, won in 2012 with their project entitled Simulation Accuracy In The Gravitational Many-Body Problem.

The project developed "a novel mathematical approach which has a diverse range of applications from satellite placement to predicting network congestion in telecommunications".

• Sarah Flannery – From Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal in Blarney, Cork, she scooped the 1999 Young Scientist of the Year title for her project on encryption. Sarah went on to take first at the 11th EU Science Contest in Greece and represented the EU at the Nobel Prize ceremonies in December 1999.

hnews@herald.ie


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