Limerick’s young scientists fly the flag

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Dr Sarah Hayes, UL demonstrates to Kate Brown and Orla Ryan, Gael Scoil Castletroy Limerick, the science of making clouds with liquid nitrogen at the SSPC Science Magic Show, held at the University of Limerick last week. Picture: Alan Place
THE Desmond College in Newcastle West has outstripped all other schools in Limerick, city and county, in having 17 projects accepted for the 2015 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

THE Desmond College in Newcastle West has outstripped all other schools in Limerick, city and county, in having 17 projects accepted for the 2015 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

Limerick as a whole will be well represented at the exhibition which takes place in Dublin in January. There will be 47 projects from Limerick out of a total of 550 accepted, representing over 8% of the total in a competition which is an all-island one.

Ten Limerick schools have had their projects accepted: Desmond College, (17) John the Baptist (8), Coláiste Iosaef (6), Salesians (6), Gaelscoil Luimnigh (3), Coláiste Ide agus Iosaef (2), Ardscoil Rís (2) , Castletroy College (1), Laurel Hill (1) and St Nessan’s (1).

The Limerick projects fall into all four categories of the competition: the chemical, physical and mathematical sciences, biological and ecological sciences, technology and the social and behavioural sciences.

And the projects themselves range from ladder safety to a height-adjustable crutch, from coeliac disease to a device to purify the water used in milking machines for consumption by animals. Other projects examine questions such as Does running to the beat speed up your feet? Do girls really talk more about their problems than boys? and Will Google take over the world?

The Limerick students will be vying for the overall prize, which is worth €5000 as well as the 36 category prizes for groups and 36 individual category prizes. There are also a number of other awards. And it will be a Limerick minister who will be handing out the awards; Minister for Education, Jan O’Sullivan.

“It’s hard to believe that the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition is 51 years young,” the minister said, addressing this year’s applicants. “This year’s competition comes after the fantastic success which marked the 50th anniversary last year.”

In the lifetime of the competition, she continued, there has been a lot of change in the fields of science and technology. “ But one constant remains - the high level of participation from students right across the country,” she said.

“The exhibition shows that students are already hugely interested in taking the sciences from their textbooks, and making them come alive in very practical ways. Students want to see how science can help with everyday things, improve everyday lives and provide answers,” she said.

“I believe all the participants in the Exhibition have a very important role to play in our shared future and I wish them every success with their projects,” the Minister concluded.

The clock is ticking down for those whose projects have been accepted. As of this Thursday, they have just 48 days to go before the exhibition opens.