Background
young scientist 2014

A Dublin student who found answers to previously unsolved mathematical problems has won the 50th BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition at the RDS. Paul Clarke undertook months of research into complex mathematical theory to become the young scientist of the year.

Paul Clarke of St Paul’s College in Raheny, Dublin wanted to do something new, solve mathematical problems linked to a concept known as cyclic graph theory. “I am looking at a number of unsolved problems in graph theory,” the 17-year-old fifth year explained. Graph theory provides a mathematical way to look at structured data, structured in the way data points are captured in a graph.

While graph theory is difficult it is extremely useful in a number of ways, Paul explained. It helps computers build complex models of experimental drugs or proteins, and can be used to solve puzzles like the “travelling salesman” that optimises the route that should be taken to visit a number of points in the least possible distance.

“It was demanding and needed dedication and motivation,” he acknowledged. For example he might pursue a possible answer but discover a month on that it would not work, particularly because the problems were “unsolved and hard”.

Paul received the BT Young Scientist of 2014 perpetual trophy, a cheque for €5,000 and the chance to represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists.

To find out about the other winners and more on the Exhibition, check out www.btyoungscientist.ie

BTYSTE 50th

In 1963 two physics researchers from the University College Dublin, Rev. Dr. Tom Burke and Dr. Tony Scott, came across the concept of ‘Science Fairs’ while conducting research in New Mexico, America. The pair decided that this type of hands-on science was something that students in Ireland could benefit from. And so the Young Scientist Exhibition was born.

Now in it’s 50th year, registration for the 2014 exhibition kicked off this afternoon and the winners will be announced in the RDS on Friday 10th January. Projects this year include a study into how our changing laundry habits could be causing E.coli infection, the development of “Moo Boots” to help heal bacterial infections that cause foot rot in cattle, and an investigation into how the principles of Lego building blocks might be able to help people trapped in crisis zones after an earthquake!

In series one of The Science Squad, we tracked down 3 former participants to find out what kind of impact the event has had on their careers, and met one former winner who’s now working on the greatest physics experiment the world has ever known! Check it out by clicking here

And for more on the BTYSTE check out www.btyoungscientist.ie

young-scientists

The 2013 winners of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, Kinsale Community College  students, Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow, have been awarded First prize in Biology at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Prague today.

Representing Ireland (North and South) the girls beat off intense competition from over 120 students from 38 countries, ranging in ages from 14-20 to win the award worth €7,000 as well as an honorary award of an all expenses paid trip to the London International Youth Science Forum.

Each year the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition winner receives the honour of representing Ireland in the annual EU competition. Colm O’Neill, Chief Executive, BT Ireland said, “In 25 years of competing at the EU competition, Ireland has now taken home the top honours 15 times, out-performing all other countries. We believe this major award will add to the future career prospects for Ciara, Emer and Sophie, raise the profile of their school and teachers, and further boost the impressive international credentials of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. The girls have done us proud.”

Ciara, Emer and Sophie from Kinsale Community College won the coveted 2013 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition prize for their project entitled, ‘A statistical investigation of the effects of diazotroph bacteria on plant germination.’  Their project investigated the benefits of diazotrophs during the germination stage of plant growth. The girls statistically analysed the results of their investigations using the student T-test.

Congratulations from The Science Squad!!

For further information about the students’ project, check out this video