In its 52nd year the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition is much more than a competition; it is an unforgettable experience of a lifetime for the students who take part. The exhibition itself is the final stage in the competition which is open to all second level students from Ireland, both North and South. As well as the 550 student projects on display, there are a further four exhibition halls filled with science and technology based exhibits and entertainment, making it a thrilling event for those who enter and for general visitors too.
In 1963 two UCD physics researchers, Rev. Dr. Tom Burke and Dr. Tony Scott, came across the concept of 'Science Fairs'’ while conducting research in New Mexico, America. These local school science exhibitions culminated in State Fairs and ultimately a national competition. The pair decided that this type of hands-on science was something that Irish students could benefit from, by taking science outside the four walls of the classroom and showing that it is all around.
And so the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition was born. The first competition was held in 1965 in the Round Room of the Mansion House in Dublin and attracted 230 entries and the first ever winner, John Monaghan, has recently retired as Chief Executive Officer of Avigen, a US Biotech company. The success of the first year was such that the exhibition moved to the much larger venue of the RDS in year two and it has remained there ever since.
In recent years the number of entries has increased dramatically, reaching an all time high last year when 1879 projects were submitted. All entries are screened to select just over 550 projects that go through to compete in the RDS. The event attracts over 40,000 people making it one of the largest events of its kind in Europe, if not the world!