Security at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition at the RDS looked a bit bewildered as kids of all ages swarmed around the television presenter.
“He’s being hounded,” quipped one of them as Tubridy found himself signing bags, books, toys and posing for mobile phone videos.
After eventually fleeing the masses of science students trailing him around the hall, Tubridy – who once hosted the awards – was also persuaded by the security men to pose for further mobile phone photographs.
The Late Late Show host said the array of science entries by pupils at their stands was outstanding.
“I think that the Young Scientist [exhibition] more than ever now comes into its own with creativity, brains and this biggest collection of fun-sized nerds in one hall,” he said jokingly.
“I say to them ‘you are my people.’
“I was that kind of geeky, gawky kid with the glasses and the uniform on. They’re having a ball. Look at the talent on display and the science, this is the future. It has to be nurtured, looked after and encouraged.”
Tubridy said he had been fascinated by some quirky entries, including one girl who had played the tune of the ballad Danny Boy on a saw, while another exhibit had graded the tastiest brand of crisps and soft drink.
Judges visit students’ stands yesterday as members of the public were allowed view exhibits for the first time.
The awards will be decided tomorrow and a host of students will also be lucky enough to be selected to be mentored by leading business professionals.
Visiting the RDS yesterday, Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe praised the students and noted that a number of environment and ecologically-themed entries had featured strongly in the competition.
“My aspiration is that every school would fly the green flag, because in doing that it means they look after waste management, then they’re into energy [saving] and aspects of the environment that are obviously in the best interests of the country.”