Dublin students win young scientist


Synge Street CBS students Eric Doyle and Mark Kelly have been declared the BT Young Scientists for 2012.

Their mathematical project wins them a cheque for €5,000, plus tickets to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London later this year, a crystal trophy and a chance to represent Ireland in the EU’s Young Scientist completion taking place this September in Bratislava.

Their project looked at a mathematical problem first proposed back in 1760 relating to the motion of planets.

Irish mathematician Diarmuid O Mathuna solved the problem in 2008 but the students took his work much further. They wrote a piece of software, an algorithm, that can help keep satellites on the correct path as they travel through space. They believe their algorithm works much faster and provides much greater accuracy than the software currently sent up on satellites.

</p> <p>The Minister for Education and Skills attended the awards ceremony, roundly praising the hard work and enthusiasm of the students and describing the exhibition as an “incredible event”.</p> <p>When Ireland “got out of receivership”, the brainpower and abilities visible at the exhibition would help the economy, he added.</p> <p>Eoin Farrell (15) from St Eunan’s College, Letterkenny, won best individual project for his project to develop a more accurate way to estimate the weight of children brought into hospital.</p> <p>Drugs are administered to children on the basis of weight but it was not always possible to use a scales, forcing doctors to estimate weight. Eoin analysed data from more than 700 pupils and devised a table that allows accurate weight estimates. He wins a cheque for €2,400 and a perpetual trophy.</p> <p>The runner-up individual prize was won by Aoife Gregg from Loreto College, St Stephens Green, Dublin for her detailed analysis of letter use in the Irish language. She developed a way to date old Irish documents based on the use of letters in the text. She wins a cheque for €1,200 and a perpetual trophy.</p> <p>Group runner-up went to Deirdre Harford and Colleen Kelly, two fifth years from Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan, Co Dublin for their genetic analysis of the potato genome. They were searching for genes that conferred drought resistance and managed to isolate three, information that is extremely valuable to breeders but also as targets for gene transfer to enhance drought survival. They received a cheque for €1,200 and a perpetual trophy.</p> <p>The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition remains open through Saturday until 5pm.</p>