15-year-old student wins BT Young Scientist competition

BT Young

BT Young

The overall victor was confirmed as Simon Meehan, aged 15, a transition year student from Colaiste Choilm in Cork.

The Limerick Leader has a team covering the 54th BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition which is taking place at Dublin's RDS and features a host of Limerick schools participating.

Meehan was surrounded by an ecstatic group of his peers from Coláiste Choilm, who raucously chanted his name and sang "we love Simon" behind him as he held the perpetual trophy.

The student at the Ballycollig school won for his investigation into the medicinal qualities of plants in fighting disease.

Staphylococcus aureus, also known as "golden staph", is best known for its antibiotic-resistant strains - MRSA - which are prevalent in hospitals, prisons and nursing homes.

"The unexpected findings deliver a unique approach to killing bacteria using natural plant active ingredients", said chair of the event's biological and ecological sciences category Professor John O'Halloran.

In order to do so, the youngster selected nine different plants from his locality, including asparagus, nettles and blackberries and tested for the presence of chemicals that might be capable of controlling the bacteria.

The rigour of the approach adopted by Simon set his project apart from competitors and made him our overall victor.

Simon will go on to represent Ireland at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists.

The group award was presented to James Knoblauch, Harry Knoblauch and Oran O'Donoghue, all 16-year-old fifth-year students from St Brendan's College in Killarney, Co Kerry.

They investigated conformity and how minorities can influence it.

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