Friday, January 13, 2012

Well done To Our Neighbours From The Absolute Hotel & Spa!


Here at the Absolute Hotel & Spa we are so proud of Limerick City and all it has to offer, this includes our local schools and colleges. As the BT Young Scientist competition gets underway in Dublin this week, three female students at Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh, which is the school next door to us here at Sir Harry’s Mall, will be showing judges their innovative science project.

The project of these three pioneering young girls, second year pupils Ava Barrett, Katie Fitzgerald and Sinead Toomey, tests the theory that women are better multi-taskers than men. They conducted the experiment based on a series of tests both sexes performed while working on a computer and juggling other tasks at the same time.

"It turns out there wasn't a huge difference, but it actually leaned towards men. They're slightly better. It seems that no one can really multi-task, you're just switching from one thing or another," explained Ava. According to Ava, the males took longer to answer the questions they were asked but ultimately performed better. It remains to be seen however which sex has the best scientific brain, with this year's entries coming from 2,235 girls and 1,608 boys.

Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh in Sir Harry's Mall has submitted five entries to the competition - one of the highest entries in the region. The science projects which vary from topics such sociology, the environment and enterprise, are sure to attract plenty of attention and could even be worthy of an appearance on Dragon's Den. Second year pupils Brian Grace, from the Ennis Road, and his project partner Eoin McNamara, developed an invention using spinning copper pipes to dry clothes faster than on a conventional clothes line, and far cheaper than in a tumble dryer. "The tumble-dryer is the dearest source of electricity in a household, and we built a machine using copper pipes, four metal bars and a pulley system to spin the pipes. I found a bill in my house, so I decided to investigate it," explained Brian. Two wet socks were tested - one on a normal washing line and another on their invention. The difference in dryness between the two was 28% in favour of the students' model.

Ciara Olsthoorn, from Murroe, and her project partner Jenny Mullins, from Roxboro, put popular heartburn and antacid medicines to the test, and found that Milk of Magnesia is the best at alleviating stomach acid. After putting a range of popular antacid tablets to the test, along with various amounts and types of drinks to consume them with, they found that Milk of Magnesia with 150ml of water was the best medicine. The tests were conducted in laboratory apparatus such as a round bottom flask at 37 degrees - body temperature - to make the results as scientific as possible. Other acids in a human's stomach could have conflicted with their results, and would have made the overall finding inconclusive, they said.

Transition year student Shelly Galligan, from the Old Cork Road, conducted studies on the levels of phosphate and oxygen in the waters at Lough Derg, O'Brien's Bridge, and Ballycuggeran beach arising from detergents used in washing machines and dishwashers. In scientific terms, she was studying eutrophication, which shows how phosphate can be a nutrient for the plants in water, but can also be detrimental to fish. Some high levels of phosphate and the accompanying loss of oxygen have given rise to poor aquatic life in Lough Derg, she said.

Fourth year pupil Niall Healy put popular woods and varnishes to the test to come up with a better or similar alternative to PVC, which has been associated with some cancer properties. Oak was the best wood to be used with Sadolin extra durable wood stain, based on the least absorption of water, he said.

Deputy principal Sinead Ni Chairdha said the students can be very proud of their efforts, under the guidance of three science teachers. This year the competition has received more than 1,700 entries from 354 schools across the 32 counties.

All the Staff at the Absolute Hotel & Spa would like to wish all the entries from Gaelcholaiste Luimnigh the very best in their highly entrepreneurial projects this year!

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