Monday, April 11, 2011

Well done SciFest

Well done to everyone who took part in SciFest at Cork Institute of Technology last Friday. 

There were over 220 students participating in Cork, either as individulas or in group projects, from 16 different schools in Cork City and County.

This is a great achievement for the organisers, but I can't help feeling there should be more schools taking part. Although it may well cause some headaches for the organisers (the Student Union Building was barely able to contain the huge numbers of students taking part) it would be fabulous to see even more schools participating.

There were 90 different projects exhibiting across Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories. These projects came from a diverse range of fields and disciplines.

The event was opened by Minister of State for Disability, Equality & Mental Health who clearly relished in the oppurtunity to view the products of the student's research and spoke very eloquently regarding the value of science to the community and to the country.

Judging, as you can imagine, was a difficult task given the hihgh quality of the projects on display. Some of my personal favourites included a project by James Harte of Colaiste Choilm, Ballincollig who was investigating the production of UV radiation by a variety of light sources. His project was well developed and presented with an obvious flair and enthusiasm.

A group from Davis College, Mallow also impressed with a simple solution to parental backache - a child's cot with a rising base!

Other projects on offer during the day included:

  • Does heavy metal music affect a person's IQ?
  • The Placebo Effect
  • Designing a heated riding boot
  • What's lurking in your make-up?
  • It will blow you away - wind turbines
  • The effect of acid rain on germination
There is absolutely no doubt in mind that this sort of event encourages young people to take an active interest in science and to choose to study it at second and third level. If the enthusiasm for science on display last Friday is harnessed by the scientific community in Ireland, the future for science will be bright.


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