Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition

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Exhibition stands in 2005

The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, commonly called the Young Scientist Exhibition, is an Irish annual school students' science competition that has been held in the Royal Dublin Society, Dublin, Ireland, every January since the competition was founded by Tom Burke and Tony Scott in 1965.[1]

This Competition[edit]

The purpose of the competition is to encourage interest in science in secondary schools. For the 51st year of the competition in 2016, there were over 2,000 entries, from 396 schools which was the highest number ever,[2] 550 of which were selected for the Exhibition at the RDS.

Students apply to participate in the competition. Their science project entries are evaluated by judges and about one-third of applicants are accepted to participate in the public exhibition. Students are allocated exhibition stands in an exhibition hall where they set up their projects for viewing by the public. Competing projects are judged during the three days of the exhibition, and prizes are awarded.

Projects are awarded in four categories: biology, physics, social and behavioural sciences, and technology. Three levels of entry are accepted.[1] In each category three main prizes are awarded; other prizes include a display award, highly commended rosettes, and a cancer awareness award. The winners of the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition advance to participate in prestigious international events such as the European Union Contest for Young Scientists.

John Monahan was the inaugural winner of the Young Scientist Exhibition in 1965; then a student of Newbridge College, his project was an explanation of the process of digestion in the human stomach. He went on to establish a NASDAQ-listed biotech company in California after attending University College Dublin.[3][4]

Aer Lingus sponsored the competition for the first 33 years.[1] 2021 marked the 21st year in which the Exhibition was sponsored by BT Ireland.[5] It has produced[clarification needed] at least one author, Sarah Flannery, and one billionaire, Patrick Collison.[5] Many of the past winners have gone on to establish international companies in the technology they developed. One of the most notable was Baltimore Technologies.

Tom Burke, who co-founded the exhibition with physicist Tony Scott, died in March 2008.[6] An award at the event (a bursary offered to senior participants) was named in his memory.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first ever virtual Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition was held in January 2021 with over 1,000 students representing more than 200 schools taking part.[7]

Overall winners by year[edit]

Year Winner Age School Project Title Notes
1965 John Monahan Newbridge College, Co. Kildare An apparatus to demonstrate and examine the various chemical reactions that take place in the human body during digestion and to examine the effects of abnormal conditions - Education: Biochemistry at UCD. PhD in biochemistry from McMaster University, Ontario.

- Where is he now? Vice-president, research and development at the cutting edge Synthetic Biologics, California.[8]

1966 Máire Caitríona Ní Dhomhnaill Ursuline Convent, Co. Sligo The "four colour problem" in topology. An attempt to form a proof or partial proof of this problem and to extend the proof to cover other surfaces - Education: BSc in physics and mathematics at UCC.

- Where is she now? Science teacher at Dublin school[8]

1967 Walter Hayes St Vincent's CBS, Glasnevin, Dublin Salmonellis in Mice: A study of etiology, course and effect of the disease on the host - Education: Languages at TCD.

- Where is he now? Teaching English in Africa.[8]

1968 George Andrew Reynolds St James' CBS, Dublin To determine the extent and nature of mineralisation in the iron-manganese lode at Cloghleagh, Co. Wicklow, by means of electrical resistance, geo-resistivity and natural current surveys - Project: ‘Geophysical study of an iron mine’

- Education: Earth sciences at TCD; Masters in geophysics Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies; earth sciences degree in Spain; MBA degree.

- Where is he now? Management consulting in Ireland.[8]

1969 Luke Drury Wesley College, Dublin The construction and use of a spectro-photometer to investigate complex ion formation in a transition metal - Project: ‘Construction and use of a spectro-photometer to investigate complex ion formation in a transitional metal’

- Education: BSc in physics at TCD; PhD in astrophysics from Cambridge.

- Where is he now? Astrophysicist at Max Planck Institute of Nuclear Physics, Germany.

1970 Maria Edgeworth Convent of Mercy, Co. Longford To extract pigments from various flowers and investigate their possible practical use - Education: BSc in physics from TCD; diploma in international studies from Nice.

- Where is she now? Set up Government Equine Diagnostic Laboratory at Coolmore Stud, Co Tipperary; working as a biochemist.

1971 Peter Short Presentation Convent, Clane, Co. Kildare A survey of Lough Bollard, near Clane, to determine its history and the reason for its disappearance in the 18th century - Where is he now? Set up his own company, Pharma Buy.
1972 Seán Mac Fheorais Coláiste Mhuire, Baile Atha Cliath Grinn- staidéar ar pterostigmata - Education: BSc in biochemistry from Dundee University.

- Where is he now? Unilever Laboratories in Cheshire, England.

1973 Tadhg Begley North Monastery CBS, Co. Cork A painstaking search for minerals and pollutants in water samples collected in jars over a number of years from the sea off Youghal - Education: BSc in chemistry from UCC; PhD in organic chemistry from California Institute of Technology; University of Geneva; and MIT.

- Where is he now? Associate professor of chemistry at Cornell University.

1974 Richard Elliott Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh The use of computer techniques to provide mathematical models of biological situations - Education: Trained as a surgeon in Edinburgh; cardiothoracic surgery; occupational toxicology.

- Where is he now? Epidemiologist at HSE medical sciences unit in Liverpool.

1975 Noel Boyle St Finian's College, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath A study of photoelectric cells and construction of a spectrophotometer - Education: BA and MB from Trinity College Dublin; research at St James’s Hospital, Dublin.

- Where is he now? Professor of medicine at UCLA in California.

1976 Mary Kelly-Quinn Our Lady's Secondary School, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan To the existence of minerals by means of analyzing rock slides; to carry out a geophysical survey aimed at verifying direction and depth of veins and mineral outcrops - Education: Degree, PhD and post-doctoral research in zoology at UCD and TCD.

- Where is she now? UCD lecturer in Department of Zoology.

1977 Micheal Og O’Briain Colaiste Mhuire, Dublin An integrated study of the scientific conservation of Rogerstown Estuary, County Dublin - Education: BSc in zoology from UCD; co-organised and took part in three Irish Brent Goose Expeditions to Arctic.

- Where is he now? Appointed to Environmental Directorate of the European Community.

1978 Donald McDonnell Crescent College Comp, Dooradoyle, Co. Limerick A study of effect of proven pollution on ecological balance in the Shannon at Limerick McDonnell received a degree in biochemistry from UCG (now NUIG) in 1983. He then left Ireland and moved to Houston where he did a PhD in cell biology under the mentorship of Bert O'Malley at Baylor College of Medicine. His thesis, which involved the molecular cloning of receptors for steroid hormone receptors, brought him into the field of drug discovery. Following his fellowship training he left academics for a while and worked as head of molecular biology at Ligand Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company in San Diego. In 1994 he moved back to academics and is now the Glaxo-Wellcome professor of molecular cancer biology at Duke University
1979 Jervis Good Midleton College, Co. Cork The concept of Ecopolemiology as Illustrated by a Preliminary Study of the Bionomics of the Earwig - Education: Won the YS after dropping out of school with Leaving Cert; graduated from Trinity with BSc and then PhD from UCC in zoology.

- Where is he now? Freelance environmental consultant.

1980 Karen Ruddock Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin Lichens in relation to their environment - Education: BSc in natural sciences from Trinity; HDip in education; Masters in applied linguistics.

- Where is she now? Director of PPLI, implementing key actions in Languages Connect: Ireland's Foreign Languages Strategy in Education.

1981 Catherine Conlon Muckross Park, Dublin A study of physical, biochemical and anatomical aspects of the spider and its web, and its adaptation to its environment - Education: Degree in medicine from UCD; Masters in public health from UCD.

- Where is she now? Public health lecturer.

1982 Martynn Sheehan Convent of Mercy, Moate, Co. Westmeath Lichens may be used for medicine - Education: BSc from UCG.

- Where is she now? Validation manager with Elan Corporation, Athlone, Co Westmeath.

1983 Turan Mirza, William Murphy & Gareth Clarke 17/18/17 Carrickfergus Grammar School, Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim Microcomputer Based Robotics The first group to win the Young Scientist Exhibition.[9]

They represented Ireland in Copenhagen, Denmark at the European Young Scientists.[10]

- Education: William studied computer science at University of Ulster. Gareth completed education in technology degree from Queen's University, Belfast.

- Where are they now? William is an IT consultant. Gareth teaches computers and technology in Canada.

1984 Eoin Walsh Colaiste Choilm CBS, Swords, Dublin Simulation of Drude Electron Theory and Kinetic Theory of Gases - Education: Experimental physics from Trinity; post-graduate research at TCD.

- Where is he now? Vice president of Morgan Stanley bank.

1985 Ronan McNulty St Mary's College, Rathmines, Dublin The Musical Typewriter (A system which prints music as you play) Education: Mathematical and experimental physics at UCD; PhD in particle physics at University of Liverpool.

- Where is he now? Physics lecturer at UCD.

1986 Niamh Mulvany & Breda Maguire 17/17 Rosary College, Raheny, Dublin Focus on the Viola tricolor - an Indepth study on Bull Island Mulvany and Maguire went on to win a top award for Ireland at the Philips European competition for Young Scientists and Inventors in Oslo in May 1986. They were presented to King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden at the Nobel Ball later in 1986. Both went on to graduate from Trinity College Dublin with degrees in natural sciences, specialising in botany.

- Where are they now? Breda is business manager with Smiths Medical, Co Dublin. Niamh is working to complete homeopathy qualification.

1987 Henry Byrne & Emma Donnellan FCJ Secondary School, Bunclody, Co. Wexford Fibre Optic Liquid Analyser - Education: Henry studied mechanical and manufacturing engineering at Trinity. Emma attained a master's degree in marketing.

- Where are they now? Henry is development manager for Roadstone Provinces. Emma is global consumer planner with Diageo.

1988 Siobhan Lanigan O'Keeffe Navan Community College, Co. Meath Geothermal Study of the River Skane - Education:

- Where is she now? Working with Ulster Wildlife.

1989 Grace O'Connor and Sinéad Finn Ursuline College, Thurles, Co Tipperary A Study on a Crop Fractation Industry - Education: Grace did a masters in medical oncology at University of Manchester; pharmacy degree in Sunderland. Sinead studied Italian and history at UCD.

- Where are they now? Grace is a pharmacist in Dublin.

1990 Anna Minchin-Dalton Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin Studies of the Oyster Thief - Education: BSc in rural resource development from Anglia Polytechnic University; masters from University of Reading.

- Where is she now? Working as a marine biologist.

1991 Daniel Dundas and Barry O'Doherty St. Patrick's College, Maghera, Co Londonderry Dynamics of a Two-Well Potential Oscillator - Education: BSc in physics with astrophysics from Queen's University Belfast; MSc in opto-electronics and optical information processing; PGCE in physics with science. Daniel received a PhD in theoretical physics from Queen's University Belfast.

- Where are they now? Barry is teaching in Belfast.

1992 Elizabeth Dowling & Jean Byrne St Paul's Secondary School, Greenhills, Dublin 12 A Picture Winged Insect. Population Dynamics of a Thistle Predator Terellia Serratulae - Education: Elizabeth studied science at Tallaght RTC. Jean studied science at Trinity; masters in environmental resource management at UCD.

- Where are they now? Elizabeth works for FBD Insurance. Jean works as a remote sensing specialist at Era Maptec in Dublin.

1993 Donal Keane & Rodger Toner Abbey Grammar School, Newry, Co. Down Assessment of Female Quality by Male Gammarus - Education: Donal studied aeronautics at Imperial College, London; finance at Queen's University Belfast. Rodger studied medicine in London.

- Where are they now? Donal works for financial software consultancy firm First Derivatives. Rodger is a doctor in London.

1994 Jane Feehan St Brendan's Community School, Birr, Co. Offaly The Secret Life of the Calluna Case-Carrier - Education: Biological sciences at Oxford; attained PhD from TCD.

- Where is she now? Working with Irish Environmental Protection Agency and European Environment Agency, Denmark.

1995 Brian Fitzpatrick and Shane Markey Abbey Grammar School, Newry Factors Affecting Cavitation in Whole Plants, Leaves and Vascular Bundles using Acoustic Detection - Education: Brian studied medicine at TCD. Shane studied dentistry.

- Where are they now? Brian works at Altnagelvin Hospital, Derry. Shane is a dentist in New York.

1996 Elsie O'Sullivan, Rowens Mooney, Patricia Lyne Scoil Mhuire, Portarlington, Co. Laois The Perfect Queen Bee - Education: Elsie qualified as a vet from UCD. Rowena studied business management at DIT. Patricia received a commerce degree and masters in accountancy from UCD.

- Where are they now? Elsie is a vet. Rowena works for Ryanair. Patricia is works for KPMG.

1997 Ciara McGoldrick, Emma McQuillan, Fiona Fraser 17 Dominican College, Belfast The preservation of Biological Data in European Bog Bodies. - Education: Ciara attained degrees in pathology and medicine at Queen's University Belfast. Emma completed degrees in forensic medicine and medicine from Dundee University. Fiona studied midwifery at University of Melbourne.

- Where are they now? Ciara is a registrar in plastic surgery in Ulster Hospital Belfast. Fiona works in biomedical engineering.

1998[11] Raphael Hurley 15 Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown, Cork The Mathematics of Monopoly Gained a BSc (Hons) joint honours in mathematics and applied mathematics from University College Cork in 2005[12]
Was named UCC Graduate of the Year in February 2006
1999 Sarah Flannery 16 Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál, Blarney Cryptography – A new algorithm versus the RSA Wrote a book on her algorithm and number theory in general, In Code: A Mathematical Journey (ISBN 0-7611-2384-9)
First place – 11th European Union Contest for Young Scientists
Gained a BA in computer science from the University of Cambridge in 2003, worked for Wolfram Research for a period and in 2006 was working with the EA software company in California, United States[citation needed]
2000 Thomas Gernon 16 Coláiste Rís, Dundalk, County Louth The Geography and Mathematics of Europe's Urban Centres First time in the competition's 36-year history that a social and behavioural sciences project won the top award[13]
Graduated with first class honours in geology from University College Dublin in 2004, going on to complete a PhD at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol[citation needed]
His research on the dynamics of volcanic eruptions has taken him from diamond mines in Botswana and Arctic Canada, to many active volcanoes around the world, including those of Iceland, Italy, Greece and Far Eastern Siberia[citation needed]
Currently lecturer of geology at Trinity College Dublin[citation needed]
2001[14] Peter Taylor, Shane Browne and Michael O'Toole St. Kilian's Community School, Ballywaltrim, Bray Investigating symmetrical shapes formed by polygons
2002[15] David Michael O'Doherty Gonzaga College, Ranelagh, Dublin The Distribution of the Primes and the Underlying Order to Chaos. Mathematics undergraduate at Cambridge
2003[16] Adnan Osmani 16 St Finnian's College, Mullingar, County Westmeath The graphical technological and user-friendly advancement of the Internet browser: XWebs Osmani filed for a patent for his networking socket and web browser in 2003. He graduated with a BSc in software engineering from Sheffield Hallam University, a masters in software engineering from Warwick University and certificates in security from Oxford University. He has since written books on JavaScript development for O'Reilly and now works as an engineer at Google.
2004[17] Ronan Larkin 16 Synge Street CBS, Dublin Generalised Continued Fractions Mentored by Jim Cooke
2005 Patrick Collison 16 Castletroy College, Limerick Croma: a new dialect of Lisp Became an overnight millionaire at the age of 19 when he, alongside his 17-year-old brother John, sold their software company Auctomatic to a Canadian firm for more than €3 million.[18] They then went on to found the company Stripe. As of 2017 Collison is the CEO of the company and owns a stake worth US$1.1 billion.
2006 Aisling Judge 14 Kinsale Community School, County Cork The development and evaluation of a biological food spoilage indicator
Third place – 18th European Union Contest for Young Scientists; First Junior Category Winner[19]
2007 Abdusalam Abubakar 17 Synge Street CBS, Dublin An Extension of Wiener's Attack on RSA First place – 19th European Union Contest for Young Scientists[20]
Originally from Somalia, had not used a computer before arriving in Ireland twenty months earlier.[21] Mentored by Jim Cooke
2008 Emer Jones 13 Presentation Secondary School, Tralee, County Kerry Research and Development of Emergency Sandbag Shelters Youngest ever winner[22]
First winner from County Kerry[23]
First time her school had entered[23]
2009 Liam McCarthy and John D. O'Callaghan 13/14 Kinsale Community School, County Cork The Development of a Convenient Test Method for Somatic Cell Count and Its Importance in Milk Production Kinsale Community School became the first to simultaneously hold two separate national award winners after Aisling Judge's 2006 win.

First place – 21st European Union Contest for Young Scientists[24]

2010 Richard O'Shea 18 Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál, Blarney, County Cork A biomass fired cooking stove for developing countries
2011[25] Alexander Amini 15 Castleknock College, Dublin Tennis sensor data analysis
2012[26] Mark Kelly and Eric Doyle 17/17 Synge Street CBS, Dublin Simulation accuracy in the gravitational many-body problem Synge Street CBS win the overall award for a then unparalleled three times[27]

First place – 24th European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Bratislava[28][29]

2013 Emer Hickey, Sophie Healy-Thow and Ciara Judge 15/15/15 Kinsale Community School, Cork A statistical investigation of the effects of Diazotroph bacteria on plant germination. Third time in seven years Kinsale Community School had won the competition, thereby matching Synge Street CBS for most wins. The girls went on take first prize at the EU Contest for Young Scientists in Prague in September 2013 and win the grand prize in the 2014 Google Science Fair in California.
2014 Paul Clarke 17 St Paul's College, Raheny, Dublin Contributions to cyclic graph theory. This is the second time the school has won the event.
2015 Ian O'Sullivan and Eimear Murphy 16/16 Coláiste Treasa, Kanturk, Co Cork Alcohol consumption: Does the apple fall far from the tree?
2016 Maria Louise Fufezan and Diana Bura 16/15 Loreto Ballbriggan, Balbriggan, Co Dublin An Investigation into the Effects of Enzymes used in Animal Feed Additives on the Lifespan of Caenorhabditis Elegans
2017 Shane Curran 16 Terenure College, Terenure, Dublin qCrypt: The quantum-secure, encrypted, data storage platform with multijurisdictional quorum sharding technology This is the first time the school has won the event
2018 Simon Meehan 15 Coláiste Choilm, Ballincollig, Cork Investigation of the antimicrobial effects of both aerial and root parts of selected plants against Staphylococcus aureus.
2019 Adam Kelly 17 Skerries Community College in Dublin Optimizing The Simulation of General Quantum Circuits First time this school has won the BT Young Scientist
2020 Cormac Harris and Alan O'Sullivan 16/16 Coláiste Choilm, Ballincollig, Cork A statistical investigation into the prevalence of gender stereotyping in 5-7 year olds and the development of an initiative to combat gender bias

Winners by age[edit]

The youngest winners are listed first.

Age Winner School Project Title Year
13[22] Emer Jones Presentation Secondary School, Tralee, County Kerry Research and Development of Emergency Sandbag Shelters 2008
13/14 Liam McCarthy and John D. O'Callaghan Kinsale Community School, County Cork The Development of a Convenient Test Method for Somatic cell count and Its Importance in Milk Production 2009
14[30] Aisling Judge Kinsale Community School, County Cork The development and evaluation of a biological food spoilage indicator 2006

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Moriarty, Christopher (2003). Brian Lalor (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Ireland. Yale University Press. p. 1161. ISBN 978-0-300-09442-8.
  2. ^ "Historic High As 50th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition Receives Record Number of Entries". Archived from the original on 11 January 2014.
  3. ^ "Key facts". BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  4. ^ Kennedy, John (10 January 2014). "Interview with the first-ever young scientist exhibition winner (video)". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Knowledge economy tops agenda for Young Scientists". RTÉ. 8 May 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2010.[dead link]
  6. ^ Sean O'Riordan and Niall Murray (10 January 2009). "Milk project wins school its second scientist gong". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  7. ^ "First ever virtual BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition kicks off today". Journal. 6 January 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d Thu; Jan, 09; 2014 - 00:00 (9 January 2014). "Previous Young Scientist winners: where are they now?". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 5 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ "BT Young Scientists Key Facts". BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. 18 February 2019.
  10. ^ "First 21 years of the Young Scientist". ISSUU. 25 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Top prize goes to Cork student". The Irish Times. 10 January 1998. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  12. ^ "University College Cork(UCC): Study at UCC: Saol an Mhic Léinn : Student Profiles". University College Cork. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  13. ^ "Dundalk student wins Young Scientist of the Year". RTÉ. 14 January 2000. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  14. ^ "Investigating symmetrical shapes formed by polygons". The Irish Scientist. 2001. Archived from the original on 20 November 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  15. ^ "Maths whiz lands Young Scientist Award". RTÉ. 11 January 2002. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  16. ^ "Browser project wins Young Scientist award". RTÉ. 10 January 2003. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  17. ^ "Maths project wins Young Scientist". RTÉ. 9 January 2004. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  18. ^ "Limerick brothers sell company for millions". RTÉ. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  19. ^ "Aisling Judge DDN". Dustin's Daily News. Archived from the original on 6 May 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  20. ^ "The 19th European Union Contest for Young Scientists". European Union Contest for Young Scientists. Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  21. ^ "ABDUSALAM ABUBAKAR". Xclusive Magazine. Archived from the original on 3 July 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  22. ^ a b "Kerry student wins Young Scientist of the Year". RTÉ. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  23. ^ a b Louise Hogan and Conor Bartley (12 January 2008). "Sandbags study helps Emer to top prize at awards". Irish Independent. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  24. ^ Ahlstrom, Dick (14 January 2010). "Event 'bedrock' of smart economy, says Tánaiste". The Irish Times. Retrieved 16 January 2010. Dundalk rock band Curtain Thieves played a set before an aerial act from Fossett’s Circus took the stage, both giving impressive performances. BMX display riders Team Extreme then seemed to defy gravity as they spun across the stage, after which last year’s young scientists of 2009, John D O’Callaghan and Liam McCarthy accepted the generous cheers and applause, remembering their RDS win but also coming first in the European Young Scientist Competition last autumn.
  25. ^ Ahlstrom, Dick (14 January 2011). "Game, set and match for Young Scientist". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  26. ^ Ahlstrom, Dick (14 January 2012). "Maths project cracks it for enterprising duo". The Irish Times.
  27. ^ "Synge Street - where did it all go right?". The Irish Times. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  28. ^ "Two Irish students win European young scientist award in Bratislava". RTÉ Sport. RTÉ. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  29. ^ "Dublin students take European honours". BBC Sport. BBC. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  30. ^ "Youngest ever winner of Scientist competition". RTÉ. 14 January 2006. Retrieved 15 January 2010.

External links[edit]