A busy week for IOP Ireland at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition

15 January 2018

Over 50,000 people attended the three-day event, keeping volunteers at the IOP Ireland stand exceptionally busy as they engaged with students and members of the public of all ages.

The Institute of Physics prize for the best project in the physical sciences section of the 2018 BT Young Scientist was awarded to Dónal Close and  Siân Donaghy of Loreto College Coleraine for their project ‘Water Bridges’. They investigated a phenomenon which occurs between two beakers of deionised water when a high voltage is applied across them The A-level students both noted that the experience of carrying out the research had confirmed their interest in pursuing the sciences. Their teacher, Maeve Close, also expressed thanks to the IOP Ireland teacher network co-ordinator, Sandra O’Connell who helped source some equipment which the pair used in their work. The award was presented by Cian McKeown of the University of Limerick who was the winner of the 2017 IOP Ireland Rosse Medal for postgraduate communication.

This year IOP Ireland also ran a competition in association with science communicator, Mark Langtry aka Mark the Science Guy for students to make a short video highlighting their research. This was won by 13-year old Sarah Fitzgerald from Kinsale Community College who described her project on the decline in reading among young people. Sarah was presented with her prize by Dr Liz Conlon, IOP Ireland education and outreach adviser.Many of the exhibits at the IOP stand were focused on aspects of light with special diffraction grating IOP glasses to view a range of light sources. Much of the equipment was on loan from physics departments in Ireland including a new Quantum Levitation Maglev kit from NUI Galway and a laser exhibit from Dublin City University both of which were purchased using funding from the IOP Walton Fund. IOP Ireland also worked closely the Irish Association of Physicists in Medicine who provided a collection of exhibits in this area including radiation uses in medical physics as well as providing a team of six volunteers who joined over 30 enthusiastic physics demonstrators from all over Ireland.

Alongside the hands-on exhibits, thousands of visitors picked up a range of literature on many areas of physics, from photonics to astrophysics and on courses and careers.

More photos available on Flickr