The 57th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition went live today as Laois students took their place among over 1,000 students from over 200 schools in first ever virtual platform to set up their projects and begin to prepare for the exciting days ahead. Fans of the Exhibition and members of the global STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) community were able to access this year’s event, for free, from all over the world via the portal.
Two Laois schools have students' projects at the prestigious event.
Portlaoise College have four projects, by students Aleksandra Polak, Ben Cambell, Noor Fatima, Sean McComish Day & Faith Sacre Quigley, Marta Kozakiewicz, Josh Boylan, Natalia Orlik, Hristo Petrushkov, Zara Murphy and Tim Drennan.
Heywood Community School has three entries, by twice winner Evan Hogg, Cillian Moran, Sarah Haide, Aoife Carey and Sinead Uys.
The first day of the BTYSTE portal was a hive of activity with audiences logging on to witness electrifying lightshows, insightful talks and chats with special guests including the first young scientist winner, John Monahan, and the debut telescopic show of the BTYSTE Irish Scientists Have Talent winner, Danielle Wilcox.
The virtual exhibition was officially opened by President Michael D. Higgins who said science is critically important.
“The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition has become an annual highlight in the school calendar over the decades. This year, in light of the restrictions relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a spectacular virtual event has been arranged to help maintain and foster the climate of curiosity, creativity and innovation that the exhibition showcases on an annual basis and which I find so inspiring and uplifting.
"What a great and inviting time it is to become ever more involved in science and its application in society. The COVID-19 pandemic has reaffirmed the critical importance of science as a vital tool for humanity, both to combat the transmission of Coronavirus, and to reduce the suffering and tragedy to which it gives rise. The value and necessity of using scientific insights to address the great challenges facing humanity is not solely confined to public health pandemics such as COVID-19.
"Science will play such a significant role in almost all of the great challenges we face as a global community of citizens, from the climate change crisis – the greatest threat we face, a threat to humankind’s very existence – to the related issues of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, global poverty, hunger, malnutrition and inequality, to name just a few.
"Young people can be the powerful catalysts for social change when given the opportunity and support. They are the designers and makers of the future, and we need them now to help shape the future that they will inhabit. The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition provides them with an opportunity, a platform to do just that.”
Further good luck messages were shared on the virtual platform from Dr Tony Holohan, Marty Morrisey, Anna Geary and Stevie II, Ireland’s first socially assistive robot with advanced artificial intelligence.
The three day event ends on Friday when this year’s winner(s) of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, will be announced online at 1pm, and will be presented with a cheque for €7,500 and the newly designed BTYSTE perpetual trophy. In all, there are over 200 prizes for individuals, groups, and teachers.