In the buzzing atmosphere of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibitionon Saturday, over 550 promising young scientists joined UCD biomedical researchers to learn about pipetting and material properties through fun and easy experiments. PhD and postdoctoral scientists from SBI and the UCD Conway and Charles Institutes were on hand to give the children an interactive experience of basic lab skills as they learned the difference between a hydrophobic and hydrophilic effect.
The children got the opportunity to experiment with petri dishes, pipettes, gels and coloured liquids, all simulating the work of a real life scientist. The success of the experiment was evident in the queues of children eager to have a go using the equipment and in the children returning for another go! For many of the children involved, this was a chance to take part in their first ever experiment while the team of researchers running the stand (Dr Robert Schwamborn, SBI; Dr Susan Kennedy, SBI; Kate Connor, UCD Conway Institute; Jennifer Cleary, UCD Conway Institute; Jonathan O’Keeffe-Ahern, UCD Charles Institute of Dermatology) enjoyed the opportunity to work with these passionate budding scientists.
The excitement and enthusiasm of the children who participated throughout the afternoon shows the enduring importance of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, a science fair for school students now in its 51st year, in fostering a love of science in children from an early age.
The activities were run as part of a pilot programme for the Amgen Biotech Experience, an innovative science education initiative that provides teacher professional development, teaching materials, and research-grade equipment and supplies to secondary schools which is being coordinated in Ireland by SBI and the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI), Dublin City University.