The Young Scientist Exhibition is an annual science competition for Irish students. It has been held in Dublin every year since 1965. Officially known as the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition it is sponsored each year by BT Ireland. It is the longest running event of its kind in the world. The aim of the competition is to encourage interest in science among primary and second level students.
The first exhibition was held over 50 years ago and attracted 230 participants. Two research Physicists from UCD (University College Dublin), Rev Dr Tom Burke and Dr Tony Scott had observed ‘Science Fairs’ being held in the USA and adapted the idea for Ireland. The first exhibition was held in Dublin’s Mansion House. However the exhibition became such a popular event a bigger venue was necessary. The exhibition moved to the RDS in 1966 and has been held there ever since.
The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition attracts over 2000 entries each year. Just over 500 of these entries qualify for the four day exhibition which attracts around 60,000 visitors every year. Only individual students competed when the exhibition began, but competition for groups was introduced for the first time in 1976.
Projects are judged during the three days of the exhibition and prizes are awarded in the various categories. These include biology, physics, social and behavioural sciences, and technology. Apart from the overall winners and the runners up there are prizes for 36 individuals and 36 group projects. The overall winners go on to compete in international events such as the European Union Contest for Young Scientists. Ireland has won first place at European Union Contest for Young Scientists on fourteen occasions.
The first ever Young Scientist winner was John Monahan from Newbridge College, Co Kildare for his project, Demonstrating Chemical Reactions during Digestion. John is now Vice-president of Synthetic Biologics in California USA.
The first Young Scientist Exhibition opened in the Round Room of the Mansion House in Dublin in the year 1965 On This Day.
Politicians visiting the young scientist exhibition as the stands are being set up