Girl scientists outnumber boys by over two to one in Aer Lingus competition


MORE than twice as many girls as boys are participating in this year's Aer Lingus Young Scientist Exhibition. According to the organisers, 351 of the 522 exhibitors are female, 67 per cent of the total.

Girls exceed boys in both the social and behavioural science and biological and ecological science categories, with a total of 312 female participants and 118 male.

A spokeswoman for the organisers said that female participants usually outnumber the males, but this year female participation was higher than normal.

Males still slightly outnumber females - by about 55 to 45 - in the chemistry, physical and mathematical science section, perhaps reflecting the continuing male bias in these areas at second level.

It is estimated that on average the students spent between 250 and 300 hours each on their projects.

"Apart from having fun and spending my holidays doing it, I learned how to keep at something," said 13 year old Alex Chevanne of Hartstown Community College, Clonsilla, Co Dublin.

He started his study of phobias last November.

"I don't usually do huge things like this, but science is one of my life driving things and I learned to keep at this, to try and try again. It's my first year entering, but it won't be my last."

Judging in the competition section of the exhibition began yesterday and will continue until tomorrow, when category prize winners will be announced and the overall prize will be presented.

The overall winner will receive the Aer Lingus silver trophy and £1,000, as well as the chance to represent Ireland at the European Union Science Contest in Milan later this year.

The exhibition will be open to the public tomorrow and Saturday.