Adam and Éabha travel to Phoenix!

Adam and Éabha travel to Phoenix!

Good Luck to Adam Kelly and Éabha Kenny who travel to Phoenix on Saturday to represent Ireland and SciFest at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2019.

Adam will compete at Intel ISEF alongside students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories for on average $4 million in prizes.

Éabha will be one of twenty-seven delegates attending the Broadcom MASTERS Programme, with students, representing twenty-four countries, including two 2018 Broadcom MASTERS finalists from the US, and two local delegates from Phoenix.



For the past seven years the overall winner/s of the SFI Intel ISEF Award at the SciFest National Final have travelled to America to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). This year is no exception with Adam Kelly from Skerries Community College representing SciFest and Ireland at Intel ISEF 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona, May 12-17. It will be an exciting week for Adam as Intel ISEF, a programme of Society for Science & the Public (the Society), is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition.

Millions of students worldwide compete each year in local and school-sponsored STEM fairs such as SciFest@School; the winners of these events go on to participate in Society-affiliated regional and state fairs such as SciFest@College and the SciFest National Final. Of the millions of students that showcase their projects only approximately 1,800 ever get as far as Intel ISEF. These students represent more than 75 countries, regions, and territories and are awarded the opportunity to present their independent research to a team of international judges and compete for on average $4 million in prizes.

Science education in Ireland is second to none. This is supported by the fact that in the seven years of participation in Intel ISEF SciFest students have won nine major awards. Adam’s project this year is a combination of physics, computing and maths, and has huge potential. Unlike a traditional computer that uses bits represented either by one or zero, a quantum computer works off ‘qubits’, meaning an action can be a one, zero or both at the same time. This means a quantum computer can work at an unprecedented speed on vast calculations with applications in fields such as astronomy and climatology. Adam has developed an open source solution to simulating quantum computing that is up to 15 times faster than conventional simulations. By the time this journal goes out to schools Intel ISEF will be over and Adam will be looking forward to going into sixth year in September. We wish him all the best at Intel ISEF and we know he will do himself and SciFest proud in Arizona.

This year a second SciFest project has been invited to America to participate in the Broadcom MASTERS International Programme. Five junior cycle students, ranging in age from 12 to 14, who were all recipients of the ISTA Award at a regional SciFest@College STEM fair competed at the National Final in November for the opportunity to participate in this prestigious programme. The inaugural award was won by second-year student Éabha Kenny, from Scoil Muire gan Smál, Convent of Mercy, Roscommon. Éabha’s project investigated how microwave radiation affects living organisms, in this case radish plants. She exposed different groups of radish plant seeds to different levels of radiation and tracked its effect on their growth. Éabha will be one of twenty-seven delegates representing twenty-four countries, including two 2018 Broadcom MASTERS finalists from the US, and two local delegates from Phoenix. The week-long programme includes educational activities at ASU, visits to the Desert Botanica Gardens, the Heard Museum and the Musical Instrument Museum, interactive workshops and a visit to Intel ISEF 2019.

Last but not least is the SciFest Berlin Long Night of Science Award. This award is supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is organised by the Irish Embassy in Berlin. The award was won at the SciFest 2018 National Final by Odhran Brady from the Salesian College, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. His project was entitled “Quantifying Whiplash: An IoT Sensoring Approach to Help Reduce Insurance Claims Costs.” The award includes attendance at the Berlin Long Night of Science, a visit to the lrish Embassy, a meeting with the ambassador and lunch with the Embassy staff. Odhram will also have the opportunity to meet with and present his project to winners and participants of Germany’s youth science prize Jugend Forscht at the Georg-Schlesinger Schule.

Adam, Odhran and Éabha are examples of what can be achieved by taking that most important first step on the journey of scientific discovery. As a result, they will have the opportunity to expand their horizons, network with professionals, experience new cultures, build their confidence and create long-lasting friendships that would not otherwise be possible. SciFest’s mission is to ensure that every-second level student irrespective of their ability, background or circumstance would feel empowered to start their own journey of scientific discovery and participate in SciFest. With more than 10,000 students engaging in the programme annually it is hoped in the future to increase the number of travel awards available to students.

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