Monday, January 12, 2009

Science fair winners announced

I was delighted to see that a really original and practical project won the Irish BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition the other day. The exhibition is the largest of its kind in Europe and one of the longest running school science fairs in the world.

The importance of the event was emphasised by the presence of An Taoiseach Brian Cowen to announce the winner - and here are the main points from the official press release:
John D. O’Callaghan (aged 14) and Liam McCarthy (aged 13), 2nd year students from Kinsale Community School, Co Cork have won the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2009 with their project entitled, “The Development of a Convenient Test Method for Somatic Cell Count and its Importance in Milk Production”.

An Taoiseach Brian Cowen accompanied by Chris Clark presented the group with a cheque for €5,000, a Waterford Crystal trophy and the opportunity to represent Ireland at the 21st European Union Contest for Young Scientists taking place in Paris this coming September.

John and Liam’s project impressed the judges so much that it was a clear decision for them. “John and Liam are two farmers’ sons from Cork. They were concerned with the financial losses incurred if milk sold from their farms had high contents of somatic cells. Somatic cells reflect infection in the mammary gland of the cow and downgrades the processability of the milk during cheese making.

Current tests for somatic cells are expensive and slow. After searching the boys discovered that if a small amount of detergent is mixed with a fresh sample of milk the mixture becomes progressively more viscous as the somatic cell content of the milk rises. With this knowledge in mind they derived a simple apparatus that could be used by the farmer to quickly test the milk and determine its status. This will be of tremendous commercial help to farmers and is a marketable product. Thus what they have achieved is utterly practical and brilliant in its simplicity,” commented the judges.

1,095 students competed this week in 500 projects from 31 counties across Ireland.

No comments:

Post a Comment