Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition

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 Fr. Tom Burke & Dr. Tony Scott in 1965.[1]

This CompetitionEdit

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 exhibition, and prizes are awarded.

Projects are awarded in four categories: biology, physics, social and behavioral 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.

Dr John Monahan, PhD, 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] 2017 marked the 17th 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.

Father 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.

Overall Winners by yearEdit

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
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
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
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
1969 Luke Drury Wesley College, Dublin The construction and use of a spectro-photometer to investigate complex ion formation in a transition metal
1970 Maria Edgeworth Convent of Mercy, Co. Longford To extract pigments from various flowers and investigate their possible practical use
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
1972 Seán Mac Fheorais Coláiste Mhuire, Baile Atha Cliath Grinn- staidéar ar pterostigmata
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
1974 Richard Elliott Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh The use of computer techniques to provide mathematical models of biological situations
1975 Noel Boyle St Finian’s College, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath A study of photoelectric cells and construction of a spectrophotometer
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
1977 Micheal Og O’Briain Colaiste Mhuire, Dublin An integrated study of the scientific conservation of Rogerstown Estuary, County Dublin
1978 Donald McDonnell Crescent College Comp, Dooradoyle, Co. Limerick A study of effect of proven pollution on ecological balance in the Shannon at Limerick Donald 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 Dr. 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
1980 Karen Ruddock Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin Lichens in relation to their environment
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
1982 Martynn Sheehan Convent of Mercy, Moate, Co. Westmeath Lichens may be used for medicine
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. [7].

They represented Ireland in Copenhagen, Denmark at the European Young Scientists.[8]

1984 Eoin Walsh Colaiste Choilm CBS, Swords, Dublin Simulation of Drude Electron Theory and Kinetic Theory of Gases
1985 Ronan McNulty St Mary’s College, Rathmines, Dublin The Musical Typewriter (A system which prints music as you play)
1986 Niamh Mulvany & Breda Maguire 17/17 Rosary College, Raheny, Dublin Focus on the Viola tricolor - an Indepth study on Bull Island Niamh and Breda 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.
1987 Henry Byrne & Emma Donnellan FCJ Secondary School, Bunclody, Co. Wexford Fibre Optic Liquid Analyser
1988 Siobhan Lanigan O'Keeffe Navan Community College, Co. Meath Geothermal Study of the River Skane
1989 Grace O'Connor and Sinéad Finn Ursuline College, Thurles, Co Tipperary A Study on a Crop Fractation Industry
1990 Anna Minchin-Dalton Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin Studies of the Oyster Thief
1991 Daniel Dundas and Barry O'Doherty St. Patrick's College, Maghera, Co Londonderry Dynamics of a Two-Well Potential Oscillator
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
1993 Donal Keane & Rodger Toner Abbey Grammar School, Newry, Co. Down Assessment of Female Quality by Male Gammarus
1994 Jane Feehan St Brendan's Community School The Secret Life of the Calluna Case-Carrier
1995 Brian Fitzpatrick and Shane Markey Abbey Grammar School, Newry Factors Affecting Cavitation in Whole Plants, Leaves and Vascular Bundles using Acoustic Detection
1996 Elsie O'Sullivan, Rowens Mooney, Patricia Lyne Scoil Mhuire, Portarlington, Co. Laois The Perfect Queen Bee
1997 Ciara McGoldrick, Emma McQuillan, Fiona Fraser 17 Dominican College, Belfast The preservation of Biological Data in European Bog Bodies.
1998[9] 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[10]
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 & Behavioural Sciences project won the top award[11]
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[12] Peter Taylor, Shane Browne and Michael O'Toole St. Kilian's Community School, Ballywaltrim, Bray Investigating symmetrical shapes formed by polygons
2002[13] David Michael O'Doherty Gonzaga College, Ranelagh, Dublin The Distribution of the Primes and the Underlying Order to Chaos. Mathematics undergraduate at Cambridge
2003[14] 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 B.Sc. in Software Engineer 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[15] 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[16]. They then went on to found the company Stripe. As of 2017 Patrick 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[17]
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[18]
Originally from Somalia, had not used a computer before arriving in Ireland twenty months earlier.[19] Mentored by Jim Cooke
2008 Emer Jones 13 Presentation Secondary School, Tralee, County Kerry Research and Development of Emergency Sandbag Shelters Youngest ever winner[20]
First winner from County Kerry[21]
First time her school had entered[21]
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[22]

2010 Richard O'Shea 18 Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál, Blarney, County Cork A biomass fired cooking stove for developing countries
2011[23] Alexander Amini 15 Castleknock College, Dublin Tennis sensor data analysis
2012[24] 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[25]

First place – 24th European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Bratislava[26][27]

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 ageEdit

The youngest winners are listed first.

Age Winner School Project Title Year
3[20] 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[28] Aisling Judge Kinsale Community School, County Cork The development and evaluation of a biological food spoilage indicator 2006

See alsoEdit


  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. ^ "BT Young Scientists Key Facts". BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. 18 February 2019.
  8. ^ "First 21 years of the Young Scientist". ISSUU. 25 April 2013.
  9. ^ "Top prize goes to Cork student". The Irish Times. 10 January 1998. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  10. ^ "University College Cork(UCC): Study at UCC: Saol an Mhic Léinn : Student Profiles". University College Cork. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  11. ^ "Dundalk student wins Young Scientist of the Year". RTÉ. 14 January 2000. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  12. ^ "Investigating symmetrical shapes formed by polygons". The Irish Scientist. 2001. Archived from the original on 20 November 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  13. ^ "Maths whiz lands Young Scientist Award". RTÉ. 11 January 2002. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  14. ^ "Browser project wins Young Scientist award". RTÉ. 10 January 2003. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  15. ^ "Maths project wins Young Scientist". RTÉ. 9 January 2004. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  16. ^ "Limerick brothers sell company for millions". RTÉ. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  17. ^ "Aisling Judge DDN". Dustin's Daily News. Archived from the original on 6 May 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  18. ^ "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.
  19. ^ "ABDUSALAM ABUBAKAR". Xclusive Magazine. Archived from the original on 3 July 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  20. ^ a b "Kerry student wins Young Scientist of the Year". RTÉ. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ Ahlstrom, Dick (14 January 2011). "Game, set and match for Young Scientist". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  24. ^ Ahlstrom, Dick (14 January 2012). "Maths project cracks it for enterprising duo". The Irish Times.
  25. ^ "Synge Street - where did it all go right?". Irish Times. Irish Times. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  26. ^ "Two Irish students win European young scientist award in Bratislava". RTÉ Sport. RTÉ. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  27. ^ "Dublin students take European honours". BBC Sport. BBC. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  28. ^ "Youngest ever winner of Scientist competition". RTÉ. 14 January 2006. Retrieved 15 January 2010.

External linksEdit