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09 Aug 2022

Limerick lads scoop prize for innovative heart attack research

Limerick lads scoop prize for innovative heart attack research

Ethan Kirwan and Jack Kelly

TWO LIMERICK students have taken home the SciFest Life Sciences Award for their innovative research into the use of magnets to prevent heart attacks.

Ethan Kirwan and Jack Kelly from Desmond College in Newcastle West won the award at this year’s SciFest National Final.

Heart disease is the most common cause of death in Ireland with 6,000 people suffering every year however many of these can be prevented. 

Ethan and Jack investigated the possibility to reduce a person's blood viscosity by 20-30 percent by subjecting it to a magnetic field of 1.3 Telsa.

They found that the magnetic field polarises the red blood cells causing them to link together in short chains, streamlining the movement of the blood.

Norma Foley TD, Minister for Education said: “SciFest continues to bring together some of the best and brightest minds of future generations and I am delighted to see so many young people who are passionate about STEM fields.

"These subjects are crucial for equipping the young people of today with the problem-solving and critical thinking–skills needed to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

"The level of innovation gives great cause for optimism now and into the future. I’d like to congratulate Ethan and Jack for winning this award and applaud all those students who have participated in this year’s competition.

"I’d also like to commend the parents, teachers and mentors who have helped students throughout the process.”

Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO, said: “We’d like to extend a huge congratulations to Ethan and Jack for winning at this year’s SciFest National Final.

"We received a tremendous number of entries this year and the standard was as high as we’ve come to expect from SciFest participants.

"At SciFest, our goal is to encourage a love for STEM subjects from an early age so it is really heartening to receive so many high-quality entries.

"The challenges posed by climate change and COVID-19 show the fundamental importance of science and that’s why it is vital that we continue to foster inquiry-based learning amongst students.

"In that vein I’d like to offer a sincere thanks and congratulations to all SciFest participants, their teachers and parents for all their hard work and continued enthusiasm for STEM.”

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