Last week the annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), which is the world’s largest high school science research competition, was attended by almost 1,800 young scientists selected from 425 affiliate fairs in 78 countries, regions and territories.
At this year’s event, which took place in Los Angeles, California, 3 teams representing Ireland and Northern Ireland took part having secured their places at Intel ISEF after they became winners of Intel sponsored prizes at various Ireland based science fairs over the past 12 months.
Cormac Larkin, a sixth year student from Coláiste An Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown, Co. Cork, was awarded a second place award in the Physics and Astronomy category for his project entitled ‘Case study of Data Mining in Observational Astronomy: The search for new OB stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud’. Cormac has developed a new approach to identify massive stars very quickly even in the midst of a heavily populated part of the universe known as the Small Magellanic Cloud. These large stars are eight times bigger than our sun and although they are very bright in ultraviolet light, this light is readily blocked off by interstellar dust and our own atmosphere. As part of his award Cormac received a $1500 cash prize. Cormac also picked up a special award at the event, the Priscilla and Bart Bok First Award of $1,000 which was presented by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the American Astronomical Society. In recognition of his contribution to the field of astronomy, Cormac will have an asteroid named after him and an opportunity to present his research early next year at the American Astronomical Society winter meeting. Cormac was selected as the Intel student award winner at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2017 and as part of his prize received an all expenses trip to Intel ISEF.
Caolann Brady, a sixth year student from St. Wolstan’s Community School in Celbridge, Kildare, was awarded a second place award in the Biomedical and Health Sciences category for her project entitled, ‘Hum your Way to Better health’. The project focuses on the natural treatment of asthma through humming and breathing techniques as opposed to using inhalers and nebulisers. Caolann also receives a $1500 cash prize as part of her award. Caolann was selected to attend Intel ISEF after she picked up the top prize at the SciFest Grand Final event last November.
Gareth Reid, a student at Grosvenor Grammar School, Belfast, Northern Ireland, was awarded a third place award in the Engineering Mechanics category for his project ‘Gaze’ which is based on an affordable digital microscope for tablets and smart-phones to promote scientific research and education in the developing world. As part of his award Gareth received a $1000 cash prize. Gareth also picked up a special award, which included a $500 cash prize, from SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. Gareth attended Intel ISEF after being selected as the Overall Winner of the Intel ISEF Award at Sentinus Young Innovators in June last year.
Speaking about the achievements of the Irish students, Sarah Sexton, Head of STEM Programs at Intel Ireland said “Intel ISEF is the largest science fair in the world with a phenomenal array of projects on display. The fact that the Irish students have once again done so well really is a testament to their hard work and to the standard of their projects – it really is a fantastic achievement. It is also a wonderful achievement for their teachers, Tim Kerins, Karen O’Callaghan and Sammy Taggart. Intel is delighted to be able to sponsor the Irish teams to attend ISEF and we believe that it is so important to recognise and celebrate their achievements. We are very proud of the whole Irish team and hope that these students will be an inspiration to many other young people across Ireland”.
Millions of students from across the world participated in feeder fairs for Intel ISEF over the past 12 months and this year the overall first-place winner, who received the $75,000 Gordon E. Moore Award, was Ivo Zell, 18, of Hessen, Germany who designed and constructed a remote control prototype of a new “flying wing” aircraft.
About Intel ISEF
The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2017 is funded jointly by Intel and the Intel Foundation with additional awards and support from dozens of other corporate, academic, governmental and science-focused organizations. This year, approximately US$4 million was awarded.
The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair honors the world’s most promising student scientists, inventors and engineers. Finalists are selected annually from hundreds of affiliated fairs. Their projects are then evaluated on-site by approximately 1,000 judges from nearly every scientific discipline, each with a Ph.D. or the equivalent of six years of related professional experience in one of the scientific disciplines.
A full listing of finalists is available in the event program.
About the Society
Society for Science & the Public, the nonprofit organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education, has owned and administered the competition since its inception in 1950 as the National Science Fair.
To learn more about the Society, visit www.societyforscience.org, and follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter.
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