BT Young Scientist Exhibition Physics Prize

23 January 2012

The Institute of Physics prize for the best project in the physical sciences section of the 2012 BT Young Scientist was awarded to Laura Culhane and Georgie Tarr of Bandon Grammar School.

BT Young Scientist Exhibition Physics Prize
Winners: Laura Culhane and Georgie Tarr

Their project investigated whether a hall probe and magnet could be used to measure the oscillations of single spring systems, double spring systems and other oscillations in the everyday world.

A hall probe is a small device attached to a data logger, that can be used to measure the strength of the magnetic field surrounding a magnet by taking advantage of the Hall Effect. They considered that if a small magnet were attached to an oscillating object, the hall probe would detect the changes in the strength of the magnetic field as the magnet was moved, allowing them to extract useful data such as the complex frequencies of a double spring system.

As well as looking at spring systems the girls also used the device to measure heart rates and noted that any small oscillation can be measured efficiently using a magnet and hall probe. A simple idea, but very practical - they believe it has much potential.

Laura and Georgie are first time entrants to the competition and worked intensively on the project over a number of months. They were also runners up in the Intermediate section for the group prize.

Chairman of the Institute of Physics in Ireland, Dr Kevin McGuigan, presented the IOP prize for best project in the physical sciences.