60% of projects for Young Scientist competition submitted by girls

The BT Young Scientist Exhibition in Dublin was officially opened by President Michael D Higgins this afternoon ahead of its public opening tomorrow.

Hundreds of students were put through their paces by judges this afternoon.

4th Year students Anna Walsh, and Shauna McDonnell from Nagle Rice Secondary School, Cork.

This year saw entries from half of the schools in the country with 60% of the projects being submitted by girls.

"There was a feeling that science wasn’t for girls," Judge Tony Scott said about when he co-founded the event in 1965.

"That there are more girls out here than boys is saying something and maybe we are getting the message through.

"Now what we have to do is get more of the girls’ schools to do science because a number of the girls’ school don’t do all of the science subjects."

During his visit, President Higgins took time to speak with some of the students about their projects and gave the opening address.

"He just wished us the best of luck and hoped we did well in our project," said one student.

The projects entered in the 54th annual competition cover a vast range of topics.

Mia Kelly from Skerries Community College, is spreading the word about the environmental and health benefits of eating insects. The study found that the insects are high in protein and that farming insects is more efficient than farming cows.

Meanwhile, students from Coláiste Iognáid in Galway, found up to 97% pollution from microplastics in drinking water in primary schools.

Ellie Concannon found that the water from the teachers’ staff room was less polluted than the water found in the classroom.

"A lot of the time staff rooms filter their own water but not the children’s classroom water," Ellie explained.

"Which is really scary because the schools are meant to be based around the children. They are the main people drinking the water."

Cormac Hoare from Colaiste Mhuire in Strokestown tested different types of honey and found that heather honey was high in minerals and vitamins moreso than the popular Manuka honey.

The exhibition opens to the public tomorrow until Saturday.

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