McAleese opens Young Scientist exhibition


President Mary McAleese this evening officially opened the Esat Young Scientist exhibition at the RDS in Dublin to fireworks and confetti in the company of a climbing robot.

Mrs McAleese paid tribute to the "curiosity, talent, hard work and insight" of the young people who had entered.

She said the event "allowed us great hopes for our country and its continued contribution to the fields of science and technology."

"The exhibition was more than just an annual event, it is part of our modern Irish culture," she added.

This year’s exhibition, the 38th annual event, is the largest yet involving 2,270 students and a record 770 entries. Up to 150 Dublin schools registered for the event yesterday and set up their research exhibits.

Almost 200 more projects were assembled this morning when the remainder of the students arrived to get the show underway.

President McAleese said: "It is marvellously reassuring to know that there have been a record number of entries for this year’s event."

"With the growing demand for science and technology graduates and the difficulties we have had in meeting that demand, you give us great hope in our island’s future," she said.

Among the star attractions at this year’s show is the Cinemobile, Ireland’s 100 seater mobile cinema. There is also an Internet café.

Intel has also provided a major exhibit with many interactive displays that demonstrate the power of the microchip.

Judges will award prizes in three project categories: biological and ecological sciences; chemical, physical and mathematical sciences; and social and behavioural sciences.

Students may also elect to be judged for one of 21 technology awards. Judging will be completed by Friday evening, and the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, will then announce the winning projects.