Congratulations to the three Our Lady’s Bower teams who reached the finals of this year’s Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. The Finals ran from January 11th-14th and it was wonderful to see students return to the RDS to present their projects to judges in person after the competition took place online over the past two years.

Wednesday saw the teams set up their stands and attend the opening ceremony. They then awaited their first of three visits from the judges.

5th Year students Ritcha Lee and Jessica Gica presented their project “Universe’s Foundation” in the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences category. The girls carried out a research project in conjunction with students in El Burgo De Las Rozas school in Madrid. The project involved a high-altitude helium balloon launched into the stratosphere. Jessica and Ritcha were responsible for designing one of the experiments on board the balloon – a Geiger tube to count the number of muons (unstable, negatively charged, subatomic particles) present during the balloon’s descent. They soldered and manipulated the project’s wire components, in addition to developing their coding skills.

3rd Year Michelle Hughes presented her research entitled “Wanted Dead or Alive” in the Biological and Ecological Sciences category.  She investigated the use of sphagnum moss as a sustainable alternative to peat moss. She discovered that this plant source releases less CO2 when harvested and is more easily regenerated. She also highlighted the benefits that can come about in relation to the protection of our peat bogs.

2nd Years Emma Fallon and Sofia McGorisk reached the final with their project “From a Distance – A Risk Assessment Machine Learning Algorithm for Vulnerable Adults” in the Technology category. Their project was inspired by lockdown and their parents contacting grandparents to make sure all was okay. They girls developed a non-invasive “kind eye” for those wanting to check in on vulnerable family. They surveyed their local community to assess possible social and physical risks and created code for an app to assist users.

Each of the teams thoroughly enjoyed the competition experience. They received lots of visits and interest at their stands and loved talking with fellow students, teachers and members of the public about their work. All three teams are eager to get stuck into further research projects and look forward to hopefully reaching the RDS again.

Well done to each of the students on all their hard work and thank you to the Our Lady’s Bower Science department and the girls’ teachers Ms Fox, Ms Maguire, and Ms Greaney for mentoring the girls and traveling with them to the competition final.