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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 9 July, 2020

Irish student wins €7,000 and shares top prize in EU Contest for Young Scientists

Adam Kelly says next up for him is the Leaving Cert.

Image: Keith Arkins

AN IRISH TEENAGER has won €7,000 and shared the top prize in the EU Contest for Young Scientists for his project that could help develop the next-generation of computers.

Adam Kelly previously won a similar prize in the International Science and Engineering Fair in Arizona and has said today that his next challenge is to complete the Leaving Cert.

The 17-year-old attends Skerries Community College in Dublin and was one of four students to share the top prize for his project entitled “Optimised Simulation of General Quantum Circuits”.

Kelly’s research is in the area of physics and computing and involves simulating a type of computer called a quantum computer.

Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One today, Kelly explained where his work fits in:

A quantum computer is a type of computer that uses slightly different principles of physics than a normal computer. And what this means is that they should be well-suited to solving quite hard and difficult problems.

So what my research looks at is trying to simulate these computers to make it easier to develop and test programmes that will run on them.

Kelly received his prize in Sofia, Bulgaria today after 154 promising young scientists from 40 countries took part in the exhibition.

The jury was chaired by Dr Attila Borics from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences with Kelly saying that Ireland’s record in the competition, having won 15 prizes in 31 years, is down to the work of those who invest time in young people and science.

“I think the real reason Ireland does well internationally in science competitions is because of the effort that so many different people, and particularly the Young Scientist (Exhibition), put into funding and supporting, getting young people into science,” he says.

I went into secondary school not being into science and it was only with the teacher suggesting that I enter the competition with what was at the time a horrible, horrible project but I did learn loads from it and it got me to where I am today.

Kelly says that his plan is to do Maths in third-level but that “we’ll see how it goes CAO time”.

Asked by RTÉ’s Áine Lawlor what he’d do with the €7,000 prize, Kelly said:

“Probably save it, I promised one of my friends I’d buy him an ice cream, or he might get two.”

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Rónán Duffy

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