January 25, 2008
Discovering the fun side to UCD Science at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition

1,128 students competed last week in 500 projects from across Ireland in the BT Young Scientist exhibition which was held in the RDS from January 10 - 12. Thousands attended the event and UCD Science set up an interactive stand so visitors could learn more about the mysteries of the universe.

Chris Clark, Chief Executive Officer, BT Ireland said “44 years on and the exhibition goes from strength to strength. As the organiser, we invest in this event as it encourages students and schools to have a passion for science and technology.”

 

Rosemary and Meg Tyrrell from Rathdown Junior School Dun Laoghaire exploring the physics of electricity with a plasma globe at the UCD Science stand
A visitor to the UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology stand
shows her "silver" two cent coin

Kicking off the UCD Science experiments was a dice challenge from the UCD School of Mathematical Sciences. Then researchers from the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science brought along their new thermal imaging camera and visitors got to try out this new equipment which is used to study warm blooded animals and to monitor plants.

“I thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many keen young scientists at the UCD Science stand" explained Luke Mander, a first year PhD student with the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science. “I brought along some fossilized plants for students to examine. The fossils were 300 - 340 million years old, from the Carboniferous Period, which allowed people to see how the Earth might have looked before the time of the dinosaurs. I was extremely impressed by the students' energy, enthusiasm and knowledge of geological time.”

Secondary school students queued to build DNA phone charms with Professor Geraldine Butler from the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and UCD Conway Institute while primary school students raced to build a DNA helix using K’Nex. Students generated electricity with Physicists from the UCD School of Physics and were amazed to witness a magnet levitate. They also learned about tsunamis and earthquakes with Geologists from the UCD School of Geological Sciences.

Rosemary and Meg Tyrrell from Rathdown Junior School Dun Laoghaire exploring the physics of electricity with a plasma globe at the UCD Science stand
Rosemary and Meg Tyrrell from Rathdown Junior School Dun Laoghaire exploring the physics of electricity with a plasma globe at the UCD Science stand

“It’s a great experience for children to be able to meet researchers at the UCD Science stand and ask them questions about science,” said Dr Rhona Hutchinson, a parent and UCD Science graduate, who visited the BT Young Scientist exhibition with her three children. “They were fascinated to examine the ammonite fossils and see superconductors in action.”

The competitive nature of the students got into full swing as they played a computer game called the Tower of Hanoi with postgraduates from the UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics, while Chemists from the UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology proved that they had the midas touch by turning copper coins gold!

On the last day David Knowles from the UCD Conway Institute, donned the replica Apollo astronaut suit and mingled with the crowd, challenging the students to participate in an on-the-spot science quiz.

For information on the BT Young Scientist winners, visit www.btyoungscientist.ie

 

 

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