Judges, jugglers, robots and rock bands gather for record-breaking Young Scientist


JUGGLERS, A rock band and a Taoiseach will be on hand this afternoon to officially open the 48th annual BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. The BT Arena at the RDS will be filled with the 1,200 students taking part in the event, the largest staged in the history of the exhibition.

Dublin students began setting up their stands yesterday afternoon, and this morning a flood of students will descend on the RDS from all over Ireland. There are participants from 30 of the 32 counties this year.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will officiate at this afternoon’s launch. He will be assisted by rock band BEING 747, who over the next three days will present the group’s show, Amoeba to Zebra, a musical exploration of the natural history of the Earth. Jugglers from Little Big Top Circus will also be on hand, as will robots from the television programme, Robot Wars.

The jugglers gave a preview of their show at the RDS yesterday, delivered by Jo Williams and Paul Haswell, who talk about the history of science while flinging assorted objects through the air. Pupils of Newpark Comprehensive School, Blackrock, Co Dublin, were suitably impressed.

The more serious business of judging begins this afternoon at 3pm sharp and will continue into Friday, with the top four prizes, including the BT Young Scientist of the Year 2012, announced on Friday at about 7pm.

Each student project will be judged by scientists and teachers who volunteer for the exhibition every year. They will be looking at the quality of the research, its presentation on the display stand and the students themselves as they explain their work.

The 550 projects selected were chosen from among a record 1,743 applications. As usual the girls win the gender wars, accounting for 56.6 per cent of students participating compared to 43.4 per cent for the boys.

The projects are divided into four groupings: 105 in chemical, physical and mathematical; 162 in biological or ecological; 91 in technological; and 192 in social and behavioural.

Events arranged for the students include a visit on Friday by Nasa astronaut Dan Tani, stands where students can participate in coding/decoding workshops organised by Coder Dojo and science demos conducted by W5 from Belfast.

Details were also announced yesterday of the Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, Tanzania. The Combat Diseases of Poverty Consortium from NUI Maynooth have partnered with Irish Aid, the Pearson Foundation and the Tanzanian government to stage that country’s own exhibition in October.

The RDS exhibition opens to the public tomorrow; students €6, adults €12, family passes €25