Young scientists win European title

TWO farmers’ sons from Co Cork have won Europe’s most prestigious competition for young scientists.

Kinsale Community School pupils John D. O’Callaghan and Liam McCarthy have added the top prize at the EU Young Scientist Contest to their award for winning the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

Last night, the two 14-year-olds were presented with a cash prize of €7,000 and trophy at the awards ceremony in Paris.

The young researchers managed to develop a cheap and efficient way for farmers to detect infection in milk cows which, since winning the BT Young Scientist award, has had the agri-science sector sitting up and taking notice.

They called their multi-award winning project “the development of a convenient test method for somatic cell count and its importance in milk production.”

The judges in the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition described Liam and John’s milk testing project as “utterly practical and brilliant in its simplicity.”

The students had deduced that if a small amount of washing-up liquid was mixed with a fresh sample of milk, the mixture becomes progressively more viscous as the somatic cell content of the milk rises.

The project also won them a special award from the Patents Office, for a project which best demonstrated the use of technology in new or improved applications, enhanced efficiencies and clever innovations.

Following their win at the 21st EU contest in Paris, BT chief executive Chris Clark, said: “This is fantastic news and we are very proud of John D and Liam’s latest achievement. As farmers’ sons, they were acutely aware of the challenges all farmers face. In developing this test method farmers may very soon have a practical and affordable way of dealing with milk souring. John D and Liam are an inspiration to others so I hope the news of this win inspires students throughout the island to enter the 2010 exhibition.”

In the past 21 years of the EU contest, Irish entrants have taken home 11 awards in total.

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