Having whittled down the entries for the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition from 2,048 to 550, judges will find it difficult to crown the overall winner as the standard is very high.
One of the judges, Trinity College Dublin professor in public health Joe Barry, said even some quite good projects were not able to get through.
Prof Barry, who chairs the social and behavioural science section, said the judges were energised by the students’ enthusiasm.
“You would be encouraged by the students. They are so well balanced and great fun,” he said. “It augurs well for the future if they stay in the country.”
Social and behavioural sciences topped the entries’ level this year with 205. Prof Barry, a judge at the exhibition for over 26 years, said over 800 entries had to be screened.
Judging of the projects on display in the RDS in Dublin got under way yesterday. Each project will have been judged at least three times before the top winner is announced tomorrow night.
The exhibition began 52 years ago, making it one of the longest standing events of its kind in the world. BT has been the organiser and sponsor of the event for 16 years. For the second year in a row, there were more qualified project entries from Cork (118) than from Dublin (97).
The exhibition was officially opened yesterday by President Michael Higgins, who told the 1,134 students taking part they were joining a long and rich history of Irish scientific discovery.
He said investment in science and technology was important for us all and for future generations.
“We are at a most exciting, but also challenging moment in human history when scientific research is presenting to us new possibilities to address the great challenges facing humanity and our fragile planet,” he said.
Winners of the exhibition last year, Eimear Murphy and Ian O’Sullivan from Coláiste Treasa in Kanturk, Co Cork, will compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in the US in May.
Their project on how parents’ alcohol consumption affects adolescent alcohol consumption won a prestigious award at the EU Competition for Young Scientists in September.
The fifth year students, both aged 17, are hoping to publish their project in the British Medical Journal.
The exhibition opens to the public today.
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