Last month the world’s largest high school science research competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), was attended by almost 1,800 young scientists selected from 425 affiliate fairs in 78 countries, regions and territories all over the world.
This year’s event, took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and three exceptional young people represented Ireland, having secured their places at Intel ISEF by winning Intel sponsored prizes at various Ireland based science fairs over the previous 12 months.
Aaron Hannon, who designed and developed a shaving device for people with limited hand dexterity, won a first place prize in the “Embedded Systems” category. Originally a student of St Muredach’s College, Ballina, Co. Mayo, Aaron is currently studying Engineering at Trinity College Dublin, and had won the 2017 SciFest competition.
Fionn Ferreira, from Ballydehob in Co. Cork, a student of Schull Community College and winner of the Intel Prize at the BT Young Scientist, represented Ireland with his project; “An investigation into the removal of microplastics from water using ferrofluids”. Fionn took home second place in the Chemistry category at ISEF, but also won first place for the American Chemical Society Award as well as the Drug, Chemical and associated technologies award.
Niamh Ann Kelly, a student at Our Lady’s College in Greenhills, Drogheda, earned her place on team Ireland when she was awarded the title of ‘Sentinus Young Innovator 2017’ for her project ‘The Antimicrobial Potential of Tree Bark Extracts’ which also won her a third place ISEF award in the Plant Sciences category.
Speaking about the achievements of the Irish students, Paula Williams, from the Public Affairs Department at Intel Ireland said, “Intel ISEF is the largest science fair in the world with a phenomenal array of projects on display. Irish students have again triumphed at ISEF, a really fantastic achievement and the standard of their projects is a testament to their hard work and preparation. Their teachers; Kevin Boyle, Larissa Kelly and Frances Regan should also be congratulated, as should Sheila Porter from Scifest, Gerard Hughes from Sentinus and Mari Calahane from the BT Young Scientist competitions who helped the students prepare for ISEF.
Intel believes that it is important to recognise and celebrate the achievements of these exceptional young people and was proud to support their attendance at ISEF. We are very proud of the whole Irish team and hope that these students will be an inspiration to other young people across Ireland”.
The overall first-place winner, who received the $75,000 Gordon E. Moore Award, was Oliver Nicholls of Barker College, New South Wales Australia, with his project; “Autonomous Window Cleaning Robot for Commercial High Rise Buildings.”