Eight Donegal schools in young scientist competition

Eight schools from Donegal are taking part in this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition, which started in the RDS, Dublin on Wednesday and continues to Saturday.

Eight schools from Donegal are taking part in this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition, which started in the RDS, Dublin on Wednesday and continues to Saturday.

The representation from the county is one of the biggest ever with the competition attracting a record number of entries.

The Donegal entrants are some of the 550 that were selected from 1,760 projects that were entered.

The largest representation is from Letterkenny’s Coláiste Ailigh which is sending ten projects to the prestigious competition from 30 entries. Only four other schools in the country have more qualified projects. Principal Micheál Ó Giobúin said the school has made a huge effort for the competition since the college was established in 2000.

One entry which is designed to create an affordable light resource for third world homes involves a coke bottle filled with water inserted in the roof of a hut or shack. “It means that in a shanty town, any huts or shacks that don’t have electricity it is a source of light during the day and for those that do have electricity it helps them cut down on their costs.”

He says the competition helps develop the research, communication and analytical skills of students.

“The students will have to sell their projects to lecturers from third level institutions. It also encourages them to go to do science at third Level. That is why we put so much effort into it. But on top of all that it is just great fun - kids really, really enjoy it.”

Seven projects from Magh Ene College, Bundoran, have also been accepted to exhibit at this year’s exhibition. It has proven to be the largest yet with only 30% of entries being accepted to exhibit in the RDS.

Fifth year students Eoin Dillon and Luke Govorov are competing in the senior Biological category with their project ‘An Investigation into a possible solution to the decline of European eels due to hydroelectric dams’. Laura Doran and Rebecca O’Reilly, also in fifth year, investigated the effect of UV light on different coloured hair, finding that the strength of blonde hair is most affected by UV light.

Four groups of Transition year students will exhibit their projects. Julian Pawlowski, Jack Roden and Niall Mc Sharry have investigated ‘The effect of hen feed on egg quality’. Sarah McSharry, Nicole Maguire and Shauna McClenaghan researched ‘The effect of sight and sound on balance’. Lorintu Kelly and Jason Kelly studied ‘The effect of headphones on hearing’. Conor Marshall, Louise Rouse and Rebekah Corrigan’s project examined ‘The effect of music on driving’

Second year students Emer McGurran and Rachel McGloin carried out an investigation into the effect of over the counter medicines on the heart rate of daphnia.

The annual BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition attracts over 40,000 people making it one of the largest events of its kind in Europe, if not the world.

The other Donegal schools taking part include Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon; Gairm Scoil Chú Uladh, Beal an Atha Mhór; Loreto Community School, Milford; Loreto, Letterkenny; Pobalscoil Gaoth Dobhair and St Eunan’s College, Letterkenny.

The topics they chose include the effects that drugs used for asthma have on the heart, smoking, a study of the relationship between temperature and the rate of erosion of aluminium, a study of the level of carbohydrates in different types of milk, the question can the type of musical instrument you play effect the size of your lungs; a study of pollution on the river Finn and a number of its banks; an investigation into gathering rain water which explores the benefits of the energy it generates; an investigation on whether your fear changes with age; the effects that walks, climbing and tourism has for the Mount Errigal and a study of the effect water has on a golf ball.