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Rhys Morgan (background left) and Rob West (background right) of Unbelievable Science with BTYSTE participants Abbie Coughlan (front left) from Coláiste Choilm in Cork and Kate Redmond (front right) from Coláiste Cois Life in Lucan at the launch of the exhibition yesterday. Iain White - Fennell Photography
BT Young Scientist

Instagram 'likes' and whether or not money makes people happy explored at Young Scientist Exhibition

Climate change is also examined by many of the projects at this year’s competition.

CLIMATE CHANGE, MENTAL health and social media are among the topics explored in projects being exhibited at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition which begins at the RDS in Dublin today.

More than 1,100 students from 244 schools will take part in the 56th annual BTYSTE. About 60% of this year’s projects relate to climate change and the environment.

The winner or winners will be announced on Friday and will be presented with a cheque for €7,500 and go on to represent Ireland at the 32nd EU Contest for Young Scientists in Santander in Spain later this year.

Projects will examine a diverse range of topics across categories such as Technology, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Biological and Ecological, and Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences, including the following: 

A project by Rachel Henderson, Aoife Walsh and Meadhbh Hurley from Kinsale Community School in Cork explores the most effective way to educate young people on climate change and assesses how the degree to which people believe they have control over the outcome of events affects their pro-environmental actions and behaviours.

In another project related to climate change, Niamh Hayes and Caoimhe Byrne from Christ King Girls Secondary School in Cork conducted a statistical investigation into young people’s attitude towards the topic and how this compares to older generations.

Bin Buddy, a ‘smart’ bin that sorts general waste, compost and recyclables into separate areas, and was developed by Cathal O’Mara and James O’Malley from Castletroy College in Limerick will also be on display.  

Exploring a different topic, a project by Julia Klorek at Pobalscoil Inbhear Scéine in Kerry aims to find out if there is a statistically significant correlation between money and happiness.

Dennis Power and Nathan Reilly from Pobalscoil Neasain in Dublin will showcase ‘RefAid’ – a sophisticated safety device which can be worn by players on the pitch to alert the referee of high tackles in contact sports.

Ciara McLoughlin, Amy Delaney and Roisin Maher from the Presentation Secondary School Mitchelstown in Cork will show the results of their analysis of the impact of Instagram removing the number of visible likes on posts in a bid to improve users’ experience.

A project by Luke Leacy, Brian Gaffney and Sean McCann, students at St Joseph’s Secondary School in Westmeath, aims to make farmers more aware for how management practices on farm can reduce the need for using antibiotics.

‘Immense talent’ 

The exhibition will be officially opened by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today and will be open to members of the public from tomorrow to Saturday.

More than 50,000 people are expected to attend the event in the coming days. Since its inception in 1965, over 750,000 people have visited the exhibition.

Speaking ahead of the opening, Varadkar said the exhibition “showcases our best and brightest”, adding:

It’s inspirational for me to see the immense talent and new ideas being brought by our second-level students. They are the change-makers and problem-solvers of tomorrow.

A number of well-known figures will speak at the event including physicist Professor Brian Cox, who will give the keynote speech at Nextipedia, a business leaders symposium taking place today; and novelist and playwright Bonnie Greer, who will headline an Enterprising Minds leaders’ lunch tomorrow. 

The 17th annual Primary Science Fair, which runs from Thursday to Saturday, will take place alongside the BTYSTE.

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