“The best brains in the county” - That’s what fifty-four students were called at the first Louth Young Scientists Exhibition held at the DkIT last week.
Principles, teachers, politicians and business executives rallied behind the showcase of Louth’s talent that featured in the BT Young Scientist Exhibition in January.
Speaking at the launch of the exhibition, the organiser of the event, Senator Jim D’Arcy told the gathering,
“Student’s you are a beckon of light. You are the key to this country’s success.
“Education is valued more than gold. Forget party politics, we must all work together for the young people.”
Louise Phelan, Head of PayPal’s European Operations said “These young people will take us places that we never dreamed of. The diversity amongst males and females is encouraging. If you do anything in life, believe in yourself.”
The businesswoman added that the local PayPal branch will facilities work experience students.
President of the DkIT, Denis Cummins, said that for the teachers involved it was a “labour of love” and often outside classroom hours.
“The devotion and enthusiasm that students and teachers have shown is very encouraging, “ he said, “The talent that is in this town and county is uplifting. The DkIT will be here for students when they complete secondary school.”
The Dundalk Democrat news team were astonished by the level of scientific exploration when we visited the exhibition.
Aine Grenna and Eimear Shine investigated water quality in coastal locations around Dundalk. Having taken samples of water from beaches around the town, the St. Louis students reckon that Blackrock and Templetown beach is the safest to swim in, while the Blue Anchor beach is hazardous. The girls were highly commended in the “Biological and Ecological” section.
Eimear Magee, Melissa Lawerence and Caoimhe Kerley analysed the affect of drinking caffeine as people get older. From their experiments, the St. Louis girls believe that the more caffeine you consume as you get older, the better reflexes you will have.
‘Human battery Power’ was the subject of St Vincents students Roisin Kelly, Clodagh Kneel and Rebecca Mcardle.
“We did this by setting up different circuits and testing various metals and situations.
“Copper and aluminium plates conducted the most electricity and hands that are wet have a higher voltage.”
Aine Melline and Ellen Edwards created an invention for people the right with their left hand to prevent smudging. Known as the “super grip,” the girls have applied for a patent and are looking at marketing the product having been highly recommended at the BT Exhibition.
If you are looking to burn fat, St. Vincent’s students Blanaid Daly, Claire Simms and Aine Sally tested various fat binding drugs. Having replicated the stomach environment they have come to the conclusion that XLS medical is the best on the market.
Aoibheann McKeown, who was placed third in the “Social and Behavioural Sciences,” looked at the attitudes towards people with an intellectual disabilities. Having conducted surveys and observational work, Aoibheann believes that the government should consider programmes that will integrate people together.
Ellen McEneaney, Clodagh McCabe and Molly Cushnahan from St Vincents did their project on the correlation between poor pencil grip and writing speed and exhibiting signs of a learning difficulty such as dyspraxia.
“There was a definite co relation between the two for certain learning difficulties and we concluded that pencil grip should be taught well at an early stage.”
Having spotted a default in the glucose scale, Hilary McCahill, Joy Qigley and Anna Gilgunn created a new scale to measure glucose. The St. Vincent’s students reckon that the current module is now sufficient and developed a very concise and accurate scale.
De La Salle students Ciaran Sunderland and Niall O’Hanlon came to the conclusion that the better relationship students had with their teachers, the better grades they would achieve.
Having conducted an experiment, Donal O’Leary, a student in the De La Salle, believes that putting water in a bottle and exposing it to the sun will reduce the amount of bacteria in the water. Donal reckons that this technique could be adapted by the developing world.
Craig Thornton, Darren Cordail and David O’Reilly from O’Fiaich College explored timetables and found that examinations sat in the morning receive better grades.
Conor Begley, a student in Colaiste Ris, developed a device that allows for the early detection of concentrated hydrogen sulphide in slurry tanks.
St Vincent students Ciara Logan, Claire Kelly, Ayla Laverty did their project on the effect household detergents have on aquatic plants such as pond weed.
“We found that the phosphates in household detergents are harmful to aquatic plant life and we would recommend that people use bio-degradable detergent or detergents with no phosphates.”
Another student from St Vincent’s student, Aoife Tonna-Barthet investigated the relationship between a higher physical activity level and memory, IQ and concentration.
“I discovered that with one extra hour of exercise over six weeks blood pressure and heart rate dropped”, explained Aoife, “while concentration, memory and IQ went up.”
How contagious is virtual smiling was the subject of St. Vincent students Sarah Englishby, Victoria Kelly and Eimear Curtin’s project.
“We wanted to see if people who received messages with a smiley face physically smiled and if they responded with a smiley back.
“We found that the smilie is more contagious on Facebook than in a text message.”
De la Salle students Philip McGuinness, Shane McQuillan and Alex Cahill conducted a survey of racism and sectarianism among teenagers in Dundalk.
“We found that boys were more likely to be involved in racism or sectarianism”, Philip told the Democrat, “while girls were likely to report incidents of racism or sectarianism.
“53 per cent of the people we surveyed also felt that there was an anti-protestant feel in Dundalk.”
Finally we spoke to Bush Post Primary School students Megan O’Connor and Catriona Irvine who tried to produce a temperature sensing device to use in early detection of potentially fatal diseases in cattle.
“We had a lot of interest from the farming community and we will be introducing a prototype at the upcoming science fair SciFest.”