SciFest students are winners at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles

Two secondary school students from Ireland won a total of three awards at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) which this year was held this year in Los Angeles from Sunday 11th May to Friday 16th May. Intel ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, involving some 1,800 students from over 70 countries competing for a prize fund totalling $5million.

The two students; Paul Clarke from St. Paul’s College, Raheny in Dublin and Conor Foy from Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom in Limerick, represented Ireland having won the two top prizes at SciFest@SFI Discover in November last year.

Both students won Special Awards along with a monetary prize. Conor Foy claimed the top award of $2,500 from the Society for Experimental Mechanics, Inc (SEM) and Paul Clarke received an award of $250 from the American Mathematical Society (AMS). Conor also went on to win a category award, bringing his total winnings to €3,000.

Paul Clarke was the overall national SciFest winner for his project that solved a problem related to the Travelling Salesman Problem, which has been baffling mathematics since the 1930s.  Conor Foy was chosen by Intel engineers to be the second SciFest representative after he came a very close second to Paul Clarke at the SciFest national final. Conor’s project focussed on developing a system that can measure, display, transmit and record the timing difference between, and the force exerted by, a crew of rowers.

Sheila Porter, CEO, SciFest said: “The standard of the projects exhibited by both students at the national SciFest final was exceptional and it was recognised by the judges at ISEF; their projects demonstrate that great science is characterised not by rote-learning and memorisation but by creativity and investigation.”

Commenting on the two students achievements, Prof Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government said: “It is great to see two Irish projects competing and achieving success on the international stage. I would like to congratulate both Paul and Conor on their achievement.  Both projects were exceptional and they demonstrated how good both students are at thinking outside the box and most importantly that science can be exciting! Paul and Conor did Ireland proud at the Intel ISEF.”

Brendan Cannon, Corporate Affairs Director, Intel Ireland added: “Intel ISEF is a fantastic platform to allow Irish students to exhibit their work on a global stage. Both projects are a reflection of what is possible when young people engage in a creative and practical way with science, maths and engineering – all of us here at Intel Ireland would like to congratulate Paul and Conor on their great achievements.”

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