IOP Physics Prize awarded at BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition

14 January 2015

IOP chief executive Prof. Paul Hardaker presented the Institute of Physics’ prize for the best project in the physical sciences section of the 2015 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition held in Dublin on 9 January.

Shauna Murphy and Coimhe Cronin with Paul Hardaker

The Institute of Physics prize in the all-Ireland competition was awarded to students from St Mary’s Secondary School, Mallow, County Cork, for their project Measurement of radon emanation and its correlation with indoor radon levels in some areas of Mallow.

Second-year students Shauna Murphy and Coimhe Cronin first had the idea to work on the project over a year ago on learning that Mallow has the second-highest level of naturally occurring radon in the world. They carried out extensive measurements of radon in their school and locality to investigate the spread of radon levels as well as raising awareness of the issue throughout the area. Both students said they were “delighted with the award”.

The pair also won the Intel travel award to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, USA, in May.

Around 50,000 people attended the three-day event, keeping volunteers at the IOP Ireland stand exceptionally busy as they engaged with students and members of the public of all ages.

As 2015 is the International Year of Light, exhibits at the stand were focused on many aspects of light – including radiation uses in medical physics and the creative side of physics with “light painting”. Hundreds of beautiful images were produced by visitors to the stand.

Alongside the hands-on exhibits, thousands of visitors picked up a range of literature on many areas of physics, from photonics and CERN to courses and careers.