The SciFest National Final 2014 – SciFest@SFI Discover - took place in the Marino Conference Centre, Dublin on Friday 7 November. The overall winners from each of the 15 regChristopher Carragher winner of the Intel ISEF award at SciFest@SFI Discover 2014ional SciFest science fairs exhibited their projects and competed for a number of awards, including the Intel ISEF Grand Award - a trophy and an all-expenses-paid trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to represent Ireland in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) on 10-15 May 2015. The winning student was Christopher Carragher from Our Lady's Secondary Schoo9l, Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan. Christopher will be accompanied to Pittsburgh by his teacher/mentor Kathryn Higgins who was presented with the Intel Teacher of Excellence award. Christopher won the top award - the SFI Discover Award - at SciFest@College in the Letterkenny Institute of Technology in May. Congratulations to Christopher for his design of the Memory Buddy, a complete system for helping elderly people cope with memory loss.

 

The prize for the highest scoring project in the Intermediate or Senior Physical Sciences and Technology categories, excluding the overall winner, went to Rachael and Shannon Ní Dhonnachadha, from St Vincent’s Secondary School, Dundalk, Co. Louth. The girls' prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to the Long Night of Science in Berlin next May. They will be accompanied by their teacher/mentor, John White, whose expenses will also be paid. Congratulations to Rachel and Shannon for an original and very exhaustive study of science underlying punching in karate and boxing.
 
 

An innovation at this year's final was the inclusion of a section for sustainable energy projects. Each year the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) sponsors a prize for the sustainable energy project. This year the winners of this prize were invited to submit their report books to a panel of SciFest judges. The judges selected the top six projects and these students were invited to compete for a special prize, again sponsored by SEAI, at the National Final. A special panel of SEAI judges assessed the projects and top prize was awarded to three girls from Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Ellen Fitzgerald, Aoife Dolan and Niamh Nyhan. The girls' prize consisted of an all-expenses-paid trip with their teacher/mentor to The Hague to participate in the International Environment and Sustainability Project Olympiad (INESPO) next June.

 

A new award this year was the Boston Scientific Award to mark the company joining SciFest as a project partner for the 2015 programme. The award, an engraved trophy, went to three students from Pobalscoil na Trínóide, Youghal, Co. Cork. Oisín Keniry, Edmond O’Halloran and Bobby McCarthy designed an app for farmers to replace the Dept of Agriculture 'blue card'.

 

The final award at this year's final went to the second highes scoring project overall, excluding the Long Night of Science and Boston Scientific Awards. The prize, the Irish Science Teachers' Association trophy, went to three brothers, Harry, James and Jack Knoblauch from St Brendan’s College, Killarney, Co. Kerry. Congratulations to the boys for their project which investigated the feasibility of micro-hydroelectricity generation in Ireland.

 

Each of the 15 finalists was presented with an Excellence in STEM award. Details of the finalists and their projects are given below. Their project abstracts can be accessed here.

 

The SciFest 2014 National Finalists (Winning projects are highlighted in green)

Inst of Technology / Venue School Teacher Students Project Title
Athlone Tullamore College, Riverside, Tullamore, Co. Offaly Jillian Browne Cian Fogarty, John Tobin Science and Sewage
Blanchardstown Blackrock College, Blackrock, Co. Dublin Hugo Rowsome Ben Brown, Sean Hannon, Cian Dunne E-Receipts
Carlow Avondale Community College, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow Aoife Sullivan Mark Roche, Cormac Ward Be on Track with the BVD Pack!
Cork Pobalscoil na Tríonóide, Park Mountain, Youghal, Co. Cork Crona McCarthy Oisín Keniry, Edmond O’Halloran, Bobby McCarthy Agriscan
Derry Oakgrove Integrated College, Gransha Park, Derry-Londonderry, BT47 6TG Christine Gilmore Megan Duffy, Zoe Mc Girr A Seed Harvesting Kit for Subsistence Farmers in Developing Countries
DIT Dominican College, Griffith Avenue, Dublin 9 Michael Moriarty Kate Culligan, Clodagh Hunt-Sheridan A Research Study into the X-ray Properties of Black Hole Binary Stars
Dundalk St Vincent’s Secondary School, Seatown Place, Dundalk, Co. Louth John White Rachael Ní Dhonnachadha, Shannon Ní Dhonnachadha The Science of Punching
Galway-Mayo Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare John Sims Aisling O'Rourke An Examination of Rock Pool Fish Communities on Shores North and South of Galway Bay
Letterkenny Our Lady’s Secondary School, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan Kathryn Higgins Christopher Carragher An Electronic Device to Enhance Independent Living for those who Suffer Memory Loss
Limerick St Caimin’s Community School, Shannon, Co. Clare Deirdre McGrath Aláine Ní Laoí Flight Strategy Efficiency in Raptors
Sligo Meán Scoil Muire gan Smál, Convent Road, Roscommon, Co. Roscommon Padraig Harlow Erica Neilan, Nicole Dolan The Use of Ultrasonics in Sterilisation in Brewing and Fermentation
Tallaght Mount Anville Secondary School¸ Mount Anville Road, Dublin 14 Bernard Crampton Ria Reddy Pure Copper: The New Soap Solution?
Tipperary Coláiste Dún Iascaigh, Cashel Road, Cahir, Co. Tipperary Rachel Burke Ceili Cowan, Kayleigh Bourke, Kenneth Conlon Do You Get the MSG?
Tralee St Brendan’s College, Killarney, Co. Kerry Marie Vaughan Harry Knoblauch, James Knoblauch, Jack Knoblauch Investigation into the Feasibility of Micro-hydroelectricity Generation in Ireland
Waterford Gaelcholáiste Phort Láirge, Cúirt an Easpaig, Baile Mhic Gunair, Co. Phort Láirge Seán Ó Catháin Coill Ó Crotaigh An Investigation into the Use of Ash as an Insulation

 

The SciFest 2014 SEAI Finalists (Winning project is highlighted in green)

Inst of Technology / Venue School Teacher Students Project Title
Blanchardstown Blackrock College, Blackrock, Co. Dublin Hugo Rowsome Ben Brown, Sean Hannon, Cian Dunne E-Receipts
Cork Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty, Co. Cork Claire Holland Ellen Fitzgerald, Aoife Dolan, Niamh Nyhan Non-integrated LED Bulb
Derry Oakgrove Integrated College, Gransha Park, Derry-Londonderry, BT47 6TG Laura Corbett Eva O'Connell, Lauren Moran, Siofra Flynn Wind Turbine Investigations
DIT Santa Sabina Dominican College, Sutton, Dublin 13 Paul Nugent Carla Kaveh, Emma Wilson The Study of Differences in Level Crossing Waiting Times along the Dublin DART Line and their Contribution to CO2 Emissions
Sligo St Nathy's College, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon Oonagh Redmond Diarmuid Geever Rain: A Free Source of Water?
Tralee St Brendan’s College, Killarney, Co. Kerry Marie Vaughan Harry Knoblauch, James Knoblauch, Jack Knoblauch  Investigation into the Feasibility of Micro-hydroelectricity Generation in Ireland

 

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