Projects on alcohol and barley sow seeds of success

Ian O'Sullivan and Eimear Murphy representing Ireland at the EU Contest for Young Scientists in Milanwith their project, 'Alcohol Consumption: Does the apple fall far from the tree?'

The winners of this year’s BT Young Scientist have achieved European success and will now present their project to a global audience in the US.

Eimear Murphy and Ian O’Sullivan added further analysis about the drinking habits of teenagers to the findings that won them top prize last January, as they represented Ireland at the EU Contest for Young Scientists in Milan.

The fifth-year students of Coláiste Treasa in Kanturk, Co Cork, were rewarded with the Intel ISEF international travel award at yesterday’s prize-giving event. They will now compete with young scientists from around the world in Phoenix, Arizona, next May.

“We definitely weren’t expecting anything. The standard was so high,” said Ian.

Mark O’Dowd, Ian O’Sullivan and Eimear Murphy before the prize-giving today. Pic: @willgoodbody.
Mark O’Dowd, Ian O’Sullivan and Eimear Murphy before the prize-giving today. Pic: @willgoodbody.

At the BT Young Scientist exhibition last January, the 17-year-olds highlighted how their survey of north Cork teenagers found that those whose parents allowed them to drink on special occasions and whose fathers had hazardous drinking patterns were themselves more likely to binge drink.

“Since then, we took three socioeconomic factors of parents’ age, marital status, and education levels, and found that, regardless of any of these, the same findings applied,” said Eimear.

They were not the only Cork success, as Glanmire Community College student Mark O’Dowd scooped one of three top prizes at the parallel Food Expo event.

Mark won a laptop and will return to Milan for the Expo 2015 closing ceremony later this year after impressing with his finding that putting holes in barley seedlings with a roller and a wire brush could significantly increase their yield.

The transition-year student said he hopes to move on to field trials with research agency help.

Meanwhile, students have a week to get entries in for the 2016 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition.


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