Dublin, Friday, 11th January 2013: The winners of the 49th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2013 have been announced! Third year students Ciara Judge, Emer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow, all aged 15, from Kinsale Community School, Cork have taken home the top prize for their project entitled, “A statistical investigation of the effects of Diazotroph bacteria on plant germination”. The announcement was made in the BT Arena at Dublin’s RDS this evening, by Ruairi Quinn, TD Minister for Education and Skills and Colm O’Neill, CEO, BT Ireland. The girls were entered in the Biological & Ecological Sciences category,intermediate section.
Ciara, Emer and Sophie were presented with a cheque for €5,000, the opportunity to represent Ireland at the 25th European Union Young Scientist competition taking place in Prague in September and a Waterford crystal trophy. Almost 1,200 students from 31 counties covering 550 projects from 216 schools nationwide competed for the coveted title ‘Winner of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2013.’
Colm O’Neill, CEO, BT Ireland said, “The exhibition is incredible this year – more ideas submitted, more partners coming on board, excellent exhibits and certainly more visitors coming through the doors. It is becoming a real movement and gaining such momentum in its 49th year. We’re delighted with the winning projects and would like to congratulate the winners on their achievements this week. We know, from experience, that this award will change their lives.”
Mary Kelly-Quinn, Head Judge – Groups, Biological & Ecological Sciences category said, “Over 70% of the Earth’s atmosphere is made up of the gas nitrogen. Nitrogen is extremely important for plant growth and survival and is a key nutrient in plant agriculture. Only very few organisms can use nitrogen gas directly from the air. One is the bacteria Rhizobium which provides some plants with nitrogen. However not all plants can access nitrogen in the air using Rhizobium. The three girls had the brainwave of testing the use of Rhizobium bacteria to accelerate the rate of germination in important food crops which don’t associate naturally with this bacterium. They demonstrated that adding Rhizobium in laboratory conditions reduced the time for the seeds of wheat and barley to germinate. The germination stage is one of the riskiest times in crop growth because of losses particularly from adverse weather. These results may have implications for our ability to address food security issues. These are the first exciting steps, field trials should follow.”
Ruairi Quinn, TD Minister for Education and Skills commented “I am greatly impressed by the standard and calibre of the entries to this year’s BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. The creativity and innovation these young people have shown bodes very well for the future of science and technology in this country, one of the key growth areas we know will help rebuild our economy. I want to commend all the students involved, in particular the winning entries, but also their parents and teachers who have helped them come so far.”
Further awards presented tonight included Best Individual which went to Edel Browne from Presentation College, Galway for her project entitled “Free Feet” a device to reduce freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease. Edel was entered in the Technology category, senior section.
The award for group runner-up went to Deirdre Ruane-McAteer and Emma Shields, from Bush Post-Primary School, Carlingford, Co Louth for their project entitled “Abortion and Religion: a statistical analysis of views and opinions in border counties”. The girls were entered in the Social & Behavioural Sciences category, senior section.
The award for individual runner-up went to Shauna O’Neill from Scoil Muire gan Smal, Roscommon for her project entitled “The effect of static magnetic fields on molecular and macroscopic properties of water.” Shauna was entered in the Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences category, senior section.
More than 45,000 people are expected to have passed through the doors of the RDS during the week which continues tomorrow Saturday, 12th January 2013. Doors are open from 9.30am to 5pm.
For more information on the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition please visit www.btyoungscientist.com or twitter.com/btyste
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