Shauna, Caoimhe and Emily honoured at Young Scientist

St Mary’s Secondary School students Caoimhe Cronin, Shauna Murphy and Emily Murphy were prizewinners at the BT Young Scientists Exhibition, last week at the RDS in Dublin.

St. Mary’s Secondary School transition year students Shauna Murphy and Caoimhe Cronin were awarded prizes at this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, where they were named runners-up in the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences Intermediate Group category. The title of their project was ‘Uptake, accumulation and transfer of alpha radioactivity by five common food crops grown in selected Cork soils, some amended with phosphate fertiliser: impact for human health’.
Their main aim was to measure alpha radiation in the plants and soil in Mallow and to calculate if there was any risk to the human population.
First year student Emily Murphy also won third place in the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences Junior Individual category for her project ‘Assessment and evaluation of the production and combustion of fuel pellets made from waste coffee grounds; Impact on waste minimisation in Ireland?’ Emily’s project focused on converting soggy coffee grounds into a fuel source. She sourced coffee grounds from three companies, Costa, Bewley’s, and Frank and Honest. Emily found that Costa-produced coffee grounds were the easiest to convert into fuel pellets as they were the most suitable for air drying. Costa coffee grounds contained only 10 per cent water. Bewley’s contained 22 per cent water. Frank and Honest coffee grounds contained 16 per cent water. Emily’s coffee ground pellets give off 10 per cent more heat than timber pellets. Shauna, Caoimhe and Emily received excellent advice and encouragement from their school mentors, Martin Timmons and Rory Coote.  Deputy Seán Sherlock paid tribute to the work of Principal Yvonne Bane and all the staff at St Mary’s. “I was delighted to learn of the success of the students from St Mary’s again this year,” he said. “I have been advocating for a number of years the need for more and more women in the science sectors of STEM, and St Mary’s has been a strong supporter of STEM. To see the projects on display in Dublin and challenging at the very top of the science pole was a great sight.”