IOP presents prizes at science competition in Dublin

16 January 2018

Two students from Loreto College Coleraine won the Institute of Physics Ireland prize at the 2018 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, which was held over 11–13 January in Dublin.

IOP presents prizes at science competition in Dublin

Dónal Close and Siân Donaghy won the award for their project on a phenomenon that occurs when a high voltage is applied across two beakers of deionised water. Their prize was presented by Cian McKeown of the University of Limerick, winner of the 2017 IOP Ireland Rosse Medal for postgraduate communication.

Dónal and Siân said carrying out the research had confirmed their interest in pursuing the sciences, and their teacher, Maeve Close, expressed thanks to IOP Ireland teacher network co-ordinator, Sandra O’Connell, who helped source some equipment for the pair.

IOP presents prizes at science competition in Dublin

This year IOP Ireland also ran a competition in association with science communicator, Mark Langtry (Mark the Science Guy) for students to make a short video highlighting their research. This was won by 13-year-old Sarah Fitzgerald from Kinsale Community School, who described her project on the decline in reading among young people. Sarah was presented with her prize by Dr Liz Conlon, IOP Ireland education and outreach adviser.

More than 500 projects were showcased at the three-day event, which attracted in excess of 50,000 visitors and included exhibition stands, shows and activities and provided an opportunity for IOP Ireland to engage with students and members of the public of all ages.

IOP presents prizes at science competition in Dublin

Volunteers from the Irish Association of Physicists in Medicine and physics students from NUI Galway were among enthusiastic physics demonstrators from all over Ireland who helped IOP staff on the IOP Ireland stand. NUI Galway lent its quantum levitation kit, which can be used to demonstrate a number of quantum effects when supercooled by liquid nitrogen (as demonstrated by student Mark Coughlan, pictured left). This and a laser exhibit lent by Dublin City University were originally bought with assistance from the IOP Ireland Walton Fund.

Many of the hands-on exhibits focused on aspects of light with IOP special diffraction grating glasses to view a range of light sources. Thousands of visitors also picked up a range of literature on many areas of physics, from photonics to astrophysics and on courses and careers.