Cheers greet Higgins at science event
The kids went wild when President Michael D Higgins came to call this morning at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, under way at the RDS.
Cheers went up, and the crowd pressed forward, mobiles to the ready. in the hopes of getting a picture. “Oh there he is,” they called; “I shook his hand,” others responded.
A massive scrum immediately formed around him as he passed through the RDS Primary Science Fair that runs alongside the young scientist exhibition on the Thursday and Friday of the event. The security staff and gardaí were hard pressed to maintain a channel through which the president and his entourage could pass.
The Taoiseach formally opened the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2012 yesterday.
Official judging continues all day today as students are asked to explain their research and discuss its meaning. It is a time-consuming process given the 550 research projects on display, the largest yet for the exhibition. It is also a busy day for visiting politicians. Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was visiting the Primary Science Fair when the president came through, the two exchanging a cordial greeting.
Also expected today are Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and a dozen more ministers of State, TDs from across the parties, MEPs and Senators. It will be interesting to see if they receive a welcome similar to that given to the president.
The proceedings opened to the public at midday today, adding to the heat, noise and pedestrian traffic in the RDS Main Hall as the exhibition rolls on towards its climax tomorrow night. At about 7pm the young scientist for 2012 will be announced, and the winner certainly will receive a presidential-like cheer.
The RDS Primary Science Fair is becoming a substantial element of the overall exhibition. It will see more than 3,000 pupils from 120 schools from across the island of Ireland taking part. All are in the 4th, 5th and 6th classes, and their participation this week will likely encourage many of them to come back as potential young scientist entrants in the main exhibition.
Speaking yesterday, Enda Kenny assured 1,200 students and hundreds of others in the audience that science was where it was at. It was also about the country’s future and about how the students of today would live their lives tomorrow, Enda Kenny said at the RDS in Dublin.
Main sponsor BT’s chief executive officer yesterday announced an extra prize would be given to the winner of the competition. Along with a trophy and a cheque for €5,000 the winner would attend the Olympic Games next July in London, Colm O’Neill told the packed arena.
Students will be assessed on the quality of their displays and projects but also on their ability to describe and discuss their research with the judges.
There will be daily reports on proceedings in The Irish Times, plus news updates on irishtimes.com. Videos from the event are also being posted daily on irishtimes.com, and the action can be tracked on Twitter by following #btyste