Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Micheál Martin yesterday officially opened the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, now in its 43rd year, describing it as breathtaking.
“As never before in our history, we need more and more young people like you with science, technology and engineering skills for fulfilling and well paid careers that are being generated in these sectors here in Ireland,” he said.
And he told the country’s budding scientists: “Work hard, follow your dreams; you might change the world, you will certainly shape the future.”
BT Ireland chief operations officer Mike Maloney said the students whose projects got through to the finals had already proven that they were the brightest scientists on the island.
“Your future is bright,” he told them.
Judging started yesterday and will continue until the main winners are announced on Friday night.
And a perusal of the projects on display yesterday showed what students are getting all fired up for these days.
Students had looked at the possibility of training a cat’s memory while others set out to prove that a goldfish has a memory of more than three seconds.
There was a project that examined how different treatments damage your hair and another on the bacteria in a typical water bottle.
Students were also fascinated with Bebo website and the issues raised by the existence of the internet social network.
MP3 players were also the subject of a number of projects, as was the effects of music on study while others were interested in fine turning their concentration and increasing their power of recall.
A group of students from Maynooth Post Primary School were hoping that the exhibition would help them launch their online radio station, called Teen Radio.
Ben Finnegan, 16, Justine Cullinane, 16, and Timothy Seebus, 17, were busy yesterday distributing flyers to other students about the new station that is available at www.t-radio.eu
“At the moment we are going live from the RDS,” said Timothy who explained that his parents gave him the €9,000 he needed to set it up after he failed to get sponsorship for the venture.
“We are doing this for publicity and are trying to get as many listeners as possible,” he said.
The students are hoping they can get an FM station so they can be a “proper” radio station.
“That’s what we want more than anything else,” said Timothy.