Wednesday, 6th February 2008
Ireland's top secondary level science students battled for Gold at the 15th IBM/DCU Irish Science Olympiad (ISO) at Dublin City University (DCU) last weekend. Over 250 Irish secondary school students, from all 32 counties, were challenged in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Programming and Physics in a competition designed to further their interest in science and technology. Alan Bloomer from Waterpark College, Park Road, Waterford was presented with a Bronze medal for Physics.
Schools from around the country nominated their leading science students to compete in the annual ISO finals for All-Ireland Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and, ultimately, a chance to represent Ireland at the International Science Olympiads later this year.
The annual IBM/DCU Irish Science Olympiad aims to stimulate the active interest of students; to promote and reward the pursuit of excellence in the sciences; and to convey the importance of advanced study and progressive learning in science.
Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin, T.D., who presented the awards to the winners on Saturday, said: "The continual development of today's students and tomorrow's leaders in the disciplines of science and technology is very important to the future of our country. Young people pursuing studies in the field of science and technology can look forward to excellent career prospects. Initiatives such as the IBM/DCU Irish Science Olympiad actively encourage students to explore and develop their interest."
Commenting on the event's benefits, Bill Kearney, Director Dublin Software Lab, IBM said: "Now in its 15th year, the IBM/DCU Irish Science Olympiad continues to encourage our leading students to nurture and develop their science and technology skills. IBM is proud to be associated with such an event. As with all of IBM's education initiatives, such as, KidSmart, EXITE Camp and Extreme Blue, IBM Ireland is committed to encouraging innovation from students right across the country. Events such as the ISO help to ensure that Ireland remains a leader in the science and technology fields."
The top four students from each subject will be invited compete at this year's International Science Olympiads, which will be held in India for Biology; Hungary for Chemistry; Egypt for Computer Programming and Vietnam for Physics. Success on the international stage will result in Irish Gold Medal winners receiving a €2,500 IBM University scholarship; silver medal winners will receive a €1,250 scholarship; and bronze medal winners will receive a €750 scholarship. At last year's 2007 International Olympiads, five Irish students were presented with bronze medals and a €750 IBM University Scholarship.
Summarising, Michael Cotter, Director of the Irish Science Olympiad and lecturer at DCU said: "This event is an ideal avenue for Ireland's future scientists to showcase their skills to a national audience and potentially on an international stage. Each year the IBM/DCU Science Olympiad provides our students with an ideal platform to equip themselves for a career in the sciences.
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