Young Scientists aim for glory

The 2020 Young Scientist and Technology exhibition kicks off today at the RDS and Dundalk will be represented by three local schools at the ever-popular annual showcase.
Dundalk schools have a long proud history in this event and once again there are some fantastically innovative projects being put up for selection by some of the town’s brightest students. This year a total of seven different projects have been submitted by students from St Vincent’s Secondary School, Bush Post Primary School and Dundalk Grammar School.
Projects this year include five entries from Bush Post Primary under both the Biological and Ecological and Social and Behavioural Sciences categories. All five projects have been submitted by TY students under the guidance of teachers Gary Galvin, Emily Kerr, Sharon Boyle.
Nadine Carolan and Eve Meehan have tackled the issue of screen time on mobile phones. With today’s youth spending more and more time online and using social media, the time spent looking at screens has ballooned over recent years. They used a sample of students and adults from the school community to find out if using screen time restriction apps has an effect on whether or not screen time is actually reduced.
Conn O’Donoghue, Gerard Hanlon and Seán McCarragher have tested water bottles of various materials to find if certain materials released a harmful chemical called BPA after being exposed to UV light.
Dearbhla Murphy Byrne, Millie Rice and Rebecca Hanlon completed a social and behavioural project titled Foot & Mouth in Cooley – 20 years on. The students were interested in finding out if the peninsula had fully recovered from the 2001 outbreak. The girls had heard a lot about the events but weren’t even born at the time and so were keen to learn more. They designed and conducted surveys of local farmers and researched scientific papers and articles from that time. They discovered that the majority of farmers felt the peninsula had fully recovered but accredited this to the fact that many had secondary incomes and were not solely dependent on farming.
Rónán Murphy, James McDonald and Declan Cavanagh have dived into quite a controversial idea: “Is it ethical to have children in a world ruined by climate change?” They have carried out an ethics review, where they investigated whether it was cruel for children to be born in future generations as droughts, famines and extreme weather events become the norm.
Seán Brennan, Pierce McKevit and Cahal Malone have been investigating the true monetary value of trees. They have focused on the various uses of trees and the potential income that could be generated. Using this they were able to calculate not just the environmental costs, but the economic cost of the burning of the Amazon Rainforest.
The Grammar School’s entrant this year is Solomon Doyle who is taking part in the competition for the second year in succession. The second-year student has developed a project to help visually impaired navigate their surroundings in a new innovative way. He has developed a mobile app that links to google maps that speaks directions and corrects if you move off a programmed route. In addition to this using 3D printing and programming and assembling the required circuitry he made a smart cane that has a vibrating handle which changes intensity based on the distance to obstacles.
Finally, St Vincent’s students Sophie McArdle and Erinn Leavy will submit a project entitled ‘An analysis of physiological and running metrics in 3k cross country in comparison to track and treadmill running’. The duo have analysed the different running metrics such as heart rate, cadence, and power over 3K cross country and compared them to track and treadmill running.
Students will show their projects to the judges over three days before the winner is revealed on Saturday.

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