Young Westmeath scientists clean up at awards

Moate Community School participated in the recent BT Young Scientists Exhibition at the RDS, Dublin with their entry ‘Why do women love shopping?’ Former science teacher Marian Harkin MEP is pictured at the exhibition discussing their project with, from (l to r) Sarah Maguire, Sandra Lynam, and Kate Whooley.

Moate Community School participated in the recent BT Young Scientists Exhibition at the RDS, Dublin with their entry ‘Why do women love shopping?’ Former science teacher Marian Harkin MEP is pictured at the exhibition discussing their project with, from (l to r) Sarah Maguire, Sandra Lynam, and Kate Whooley.

Months of hard work paid off for several young Athlone scientists on Friday last, when they scooped awards at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

Pioneering students from across the county impressed the judges at the annual exhibition, with almost half of the Westmeath entries picking up awards in various categories.

Mairin Ryan from Our Lady’s Bower, Athlone, caught the attention of the nation last week with her project on ‘The physics of the musical saw’, and wowed Late Late Show audiences last Friday night with her rendition of ‘Danny Boy’. She took first place in the junior individual category.

Also lauded in the national media last week were Darren Allen, Mark Bass, and Emmet Donnelly of Marist College, Athlone, who investigated the possibilities of using ‘smart fluid’ to help prevent building collapse in an earthquake and took third place in the senior group category.

An investigation into the factors causing stress and anxiety among teenagers secured third place in the intermediate individual category for Gavin Ward from Athlone Community College.

In addition, three Westmeath projects were highly commended by the judges. They were ‘Flooding: Our solution’ by Sebastian Ryan, David Byrne, and Conor Flynn from Marist College, Athlone; ‘Vacuumised cladding panel - An advancement in construction’ by Eric McGann and Kevin Cooper, also of Marist College; and ‘A comparitive study of lichens growing on various tree speices in Birr and Taughmaconnell’ by Mikaela O'Halloran and Orla Farrell of St Joseph's College, Athlone.

Fifteen Westmeath entries were among 1,588 projects from 329 schools on display in the RDS for the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition last week. Some 514 projects took part in this year’s finals, with the results announced last Friday.

Sixth year student Richard O’Shea from Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Blarney, Co Cork, was named the overall winner with his project entitled ‘A biomass fired cooking stove for developing countries’.

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