BT Young Scientist Exhibition 2017!

BT Young Scientist Exhibition 2017!

On the 13th of January we visited the BT Young Scientist Exhibition. The event was held in the RDS, with hundreds of projects on display. These projects were carried out by students all across the country, each had its own certain flair, and each with an individual idea. We were lucky to have a few of our very own Loreto students accepted.

The first group to mention is Asha Rait and Saoirse Lynch, two first years. They explored the idea that your blood type could determine whether you are prone to head lice or not. They found there might be a connection, after one of the girl's family members had a case of head lice,  while it travelled to some members of the family, others were left unaffected. They investigated deeper into this, and found that those with blood types B and AB are most likely to be affected by head lice. The girls found these results by carrying out surveys.  This was a small part of the ample amount of background research they studied and further used to backup their experiment.

The second project was an individual project carried out by Hana Gallagher. Through this project, she looked closer at something most of us do not usually inspect too closely. Hana was talking to her sister and found that they thought of the word, mouse, as two different things. Because of the integration of technology into our everyday lives, the words we use to describe technology have replaced others. A simple example of this would be the word windows, while some think of a physical window others think of the computer operating system. It is something very interesting and relevant to our current era. Hana wondered if this phenomenon could be unique to each age group. Hana surveyed people of different ages to find that the linguistics of those aged between 19 and 39 had been most affected due to their prolonged exposure to technology throughout their life. Well done to Hana whose project was highly commended by the judges. 

The third group from our school consisted of Hannah Burgess, Sadhbh O’Neill and Grainne Brennan. Their project title ‘Lying is wrong, Except when it isn't’, was inspired by a documentary on Netflix called Dishonesty: The Truth about Lies. The girls  discovered a number of things including, you are less likely to lie as you get older and that you are more likely to lie if an incentive is being offered to you. The girls carried out tests with different age groups and offered incentives. When not offered an incentive the girls found that the tendency to lie was much smaller.

Overall we were fascinated by all the projects at the BT Young Scientist Exhibition with a special congratulations to the wonderful projects carried out by all the girls from Loreto.

Grace Coughlin and Julia Chartienitz

Science Week - Lecture by PhD Student for TY and some Senior Students

Science Week - Lecture by PhD Student for TY and some Senior Students

On the 21st of November, Johanna Vos, a PhD student, came in to speak to us about science in college and, more specifically, astrophysics. She gave us a wide range of career options both inside of science and outside. For example, with a science degree you can work in research or lab or go in the complete opposite direction and work in a business company such as Google or Spotify. She worked around the world, most often in the Atacama Desert in Chile and we discovered that a science degree is a great way to travel the world because every country has its own resources. She then went on to give us a brief overview of what an exoplanet is. An exoplanet is a planet that is either (a) orbiting another star in another galaxy or (b) floating along in space like a star. There are approximately 1 x  10 ^24  exoplanets in space. Her PhD is based on studying the weather of exoplanets, something that has never been done before. She discovered that an exoplanet (called PSO-318) has clouds. However they are not clouds made up of water vapour, instead they are made up of molten metal. This was an amazing achievement for her and we hope she continues her ground-breaking research.

ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards

ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards

On Wednesday, 13 May, Hana Gallagher and Eleanor Cripwell from 2nd Year attended the finals of the Young Environmentalist Awards with their project analysing the effects of different tones and rhythms on the movement behaviour of earthworms.  Here is Hana's account:

On the 13th May 2015, we entered the Round Room of the Mansion House filled with excited apprehension for the day ahead at the finals of the ECO-UNESCO Young Environmentalist Awards. We quickly set up our stall and explored the other projects in the huge room. The range of projects was amazing, from a Christmas themed project called Eco-Elves, to a bicycle that made smoothies and a project investigating the link between climate change and gender equality! Our project was about how earthworms activity was increased by sounds with different pitches and rhythms and before long we had three judges upon us, learning more about our project and its environmental benefits. While everyone was being judged, there was also some wonderful entertainment by some really talented students who were participating themselves. After lunch, we returned to the Mansion House for the moment we'd all been waiting for - the awards ceremony. Although we didn't win anything, we were very proud to have made it all the way into the final and see this as an achievement in itself.


First Year Maths Competition

First Year Maths Competition

Congratulations to Claire Gregg, Annie Madden and Emma O'Dwyer who competed in the final of the Irish Junior Maths Competition.  The competition has been held for 1st Year Students since 1994.  It consisted of a school round in which all of our 1st Year Students participated.  All results were sent back to the IMTA (Irish Maths Teachers Association) and the three girls were invited to attend the regional final.

Annie , Claire and Emma headed to Castleknock College on Friday night for the final, comprising of 25 multiple choice brain teasers which had to be answered within an hour.  All three of the girls were highly commended scoring well over 100 out of a possible 150.

Well done girls!

SciFest @ College

The Science Department would like to congratulate all the students who participated in the SciFest @ College competition which was held in DIT Kevin Street before the Easter holidays.
The students presented wonderful projects and received excellent feedback from the judges.  Special congratulations to Iman Awan, Tara Ting and Eliza Ní Thighearnaigh who received a DIT Commendation Award on the day.

BT Young Scientist Project goes to Germany!

Kate and Annie Madden (3rd and 1st Year) will be travelling to Germany to the Equitana Trade Fair this weekend with Enterprise Ireland and Connolly’s Red Mills to meet with distributors from all around Europe – and even Dubai!  They will be promoting their product FenuHealth which adds flavour to horse feed and which was their entry for the BT Young Scientist competition this year.  We congratulate them on an excellent interview on RTE and wish them the best of luck in Germany. The interview was on the Six One news on Wednesday 11th March and  can be viewed on RTE player  (34 mins). 

Chemistry Olympiad

Well done to Niamh McAdam and Aoife Corcoran, both in 6th Year, who took part in the Chemistry Olympiad in DCU on Saturday, 7 March.  Both girls performed very well in a very challenging competition.

Fifth Year Trip to Burren February 2015

Fifth Year Trip to Burren  February 2015

Our Journey:
The 5th Year Geography students of Loreto were up much earlier than usual on Tuesday 5th February as we were off on a field trip to the Burren, the Aillwee Cave and the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare. We left Hume Street at seven, hoping that we could reclaim some lost sleep on the three hour bus journey to the unusual and rare landscape that is The Burren, at which we arrived at around half ten in the morning.

The Burren:
After a long, sleepy bus trip, there isn’t much better than an uphill walk to wake you up. We had an hour long tour of the rocky expanse with Daire, our tour guide, who was a local farmer who owned an area of the Burren.
The Burren is a karst or unusual landscape made of exposed limestone. This is an unusual occurrence as limestone is a sedimentary rock made of the fossils of dead sea creatures and plants that lay at the bottom of the ocean and over time were compressed and cemented together in strata or layers in a process called lithification. The limestone layers were exposed during the last Ice Age (~10,000 years ago) when glaciers moved across the Irish landscape. These glaciers plucked huge amounts of soil from the ground, exposing the limestone beneath.
Daire informed us that due to the limestone’s ability to retain heat, the area around the Burren tended to have a much milder winter to that of the rest of Ireland.
There were also some historic settlements in the valley of the Burren, dating back hundreds of years.

The Aillwee Cave:
After our wonderful tour of the Burren, we climbed back on the bus and headed towards the Aillwee Cave, which lies underneath parts of the Burren. Once we arrived, we were greeted by our tour guide, who would be giving us a 40 minute tour through this underground landform.
The cave was found by a local boy, Jack McGann, who was just 8 years old when his dog chased a rabbit down into the cave in 1943, but the cave’s existence was not revealed until 30 years later when McGann told a group of cavers about his findings.
The cave maintains an average temperature of 10 degrees celsius throughout the year, which at one point in the past provided a perfect hibernation habitat for European Brown bears. The cave has seen many species of residents, including Lesser Horseshoe bats who are currently residing within.
The Aillwee Cave was formed over millions of years through the process of carbonation. Carbonation occurs when carbon dioxide in water which has travelled downwards through the multiple strata of rock combines with calcium carbonate in limestone. This expands any holes and weaknesses in the rock, which eventually grows to a cave. The calcium carbonate and carbon dioxide mix to form calcium bicarbonate, which travels in the water. When the calcium bicarbonate reaches the roof of the cave, drops of water containing this calcium bicarbonate hang from the ceiling. The water eventually evaporates, leaving the calcium bicarbonate, now calcite, on the ceiling. Over time, these calcite deposits grow and form stalactites. When these drops do not stay on the roof of the cave but fall to the floor instead, the calcite deposit that builds up on the floor of the cave is called a stalagmite. When a stalactite and a stalagmite meet, they form a pillar. In the Aillwee Cave, we saw examples of each formation. 

The Cliffs Of Moher:
We hopped back on the bus after lunch and our tour of the Aillwee Cave, and made our way to the Cliffs Of Moher. The visitor centre at the cliffs was very entertaining and educational, with videos, games, and interactive exhibits. The cliffs were really beautiful and definitely a great way to end our trip to Clare.

Megan O'Neill 5M