Young Einstein

Young Einstein, 13, bags awardBy Evelyn Ring

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A 13 YEAR guess factory OLD Kerry student (Emer Jones, pictured) who developed sandbag shelters that can stand up to earthquakes and high winds last night became the youngest BT Young Scientist of the Year.

Emer Jones, a second year student from Presentation School. Tralee, Co Kerry, is also the first student from the county to be awarded the top prize in the competition, now in its 44th year, in the RDS, Dublin.

Emer was able to demonstrate that using wood or bamboo sticks between the layers of emergency shelters used in disaster relief, instead of the normal barbed wire method, could deliver the same stability at a much reduced cost.

Emer’s construction method also made deployment of shelters much faster as the materials were more readily available.

Emer, who had her parents with her when she collected her award, said she was “flabbergasted” as she had never expected to win.

Asked how she chose her winning project, Emer said: “I was always interested in structures and how they stayed up, and I thought, with global warming and natural disasters I could undertake a project that could guess factory help humanity.”

He guess factory r father, John, is a lecturer in engineering at the Institute of Technology in Tralee, while her mother, Mire, is a teacher in Moyderwell Primary School. They have a younger child, Robert, 7.

Education and Science Minister Mary Hanafin presented Emer with a cheque for 5,000, a Waterford Crystal trophy and the opportunity to represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists in Copenhagen, Denmark, in September.

The award for best group went to first cousins Edel Ryan and Fiona Ryan from Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew, Co Galway, for their analysis of teachers that found that while most are stressed they still liked their job.

The award for individual runner up went to Henry Glass from Clongowes Wood College, Naas, Co Kildare, for his project on how slugs looked for food.

The runner up group award went guess factory to Ellie Townsend, Lisa O’Sullivan and Ciara McCarthy from Coliste Choilm, Ballincollig, Co Cork, for their project on how plastic film tears under stress.

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