The 49th Young Scientist Exhibition took place in the RDS during the second week of January. There were nearly 1800 entries with 550 projects making it through to the exhibition itself. Competition was fierce with all projects being completed to a high standard. Enthusiastic students spent 4 days explaining their discoveries to judges and the public alike.
Second year students Anna Quaid and Rachel Brady proved the worth of their project and took joint second place in the Junior Category in the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences section.
They also scooped the Institutes of Technology award for their project entitled “To investigate the use of Wexford red silica sand to reduce phosphates in wastewater effluent”. This special award is given to one project out of the 550 exhibiting which best illustrates how science impacts on all our lives for the better, with particular emphasis on how this message can be translated to the classroom.
The girls began work on their project in January 2012 by building a filtration system based on Wexford Red Silica Sand to be used to remove phosphates from household waste water and fertiliser run-off from farms. Entry of phosphates into rivers causes major environmental damage, resulting in the deoxygenation of water and causing the death of fish. Water pollution costs the country a huge amount of money and results in heavy fines for farmers who allow phosphates to leak into rivers. The girls have successfully shown how their system can reduce the levels of phosphates in water to zero using their filtration system. The students hope to develop their system further and are now looking at scaling up their model so that it can be used commercially.