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Limerick’s Young Scientists on track for national honours

Siobhan Brady, Kate O'Brien, and Graine O'Mahoney, Castletroy College, with their project, A Chemical Analysis of Naturally Occuring Antiseptic Oils in Plants. Picture: Michael Cowhey

Siobhan Brady, Kate O'Brien, and Graine O'Mahoney, Castletroy College, with their project, A Chemical Analysis of Naturally Occuring Antiseptic Oils in Plants. Picture: Michael Cowhey

  • by Shane O’Riordan
 

Limerick is sure to be well represented at this year’s BT Young Scientist exhibition with the highest number of finalists representing the county in over four years.

Limerick schools will see 44 finalists representing the county later this month, the highest number since before 2009.

Throughout winter 2012/2013 the Limerick Leader visited finalists from each school to learn a thing or two about science

Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh and Castletroy College are two of the schools which together have 10 finalists competing.

This year is important in Gaelcholáiste’s history with the competition explains Ciara Ní Dhrisceoil, teacher. “We have seven projects entering the Young Scientist this year which is a record number for our school,” she said.

Transition years Oisín Morlaí and brothers Cian and Oisín Regan have come up with an idea to “track student attendance in school,” according to Oisín. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags are placed under crests of student school jumpers and register the student present when the tag is within a certain radius of the reader.

First-time entrants into the junior section of the competition, budding scientists and entrepreneurs Brían O’Riordan, Ben Ryan and Daniel Enright have developed a cheap and eco-friendly way to remove odours from sport equipment with their project Odour Abs.

“We did some research to find a natural substance that could remove these odours and found charcoal tea and lemon to be the best ingredients,” said Brían.

The boys have also had commercial success with their project as Odour Abs has won the Junior Limerick Enterprise Awards and won their category of the Junior National Enterprise Awards. They also competed in Jr Dragon’s Den in December 2012.

Investigations into the best spout to pour with, the amount of students who are blood and organ donors, measuring how active teachers are, what chemicals cause leaves to change colour in autumn and to find an alternative Irish plant to Elodea for photosynthesis experiments are some of the others that have made it through from Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh.

Castletroy College is among the many Limerick Schools to have strong representation in the competition’s final. All finalists representing Castletroy College are in Transition Year and are Intermediate entries.

“The students have worked extremely hard and we are extremely proud of all our entries to the competition,” said Linda Hannon, teacher.

Gráinne O’Mahoney, Kate O’Brien and Siobhán Brady’s project aims to improve our ability to fight infection using a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory 
gel.

“We did a lot of research on plants and we found out that allogeneic acid in seaweed is a natural antiseptic. We wanted to make a gel where we could get this naturally occurring antiseptic found in seaweed and combine it with the gel,” said Gráinne.

Equally, Aileen O’Neil and Alice O’Brein’s project aims to improve our standard of living.

“Our project focuses on examining people’s reactions to everyday foods, such as bread and rice, that have been changed in appearance (to make them look unattractive to eat) but taste the same. We hope to use this information to try and make healthy food look more appealing to children to encourage healthy 
diets.”

Ciarán O’Mara’s project combines his previous entry, an alkaline battery charger, with a solar panel that tracks the sun’s trajectory.

“Hopefully this can optimise a solar panel’s power output,” he detailed.

Both schools are hoping for success in the impending January exhibition and wish their students the very 
best.

 

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