Ballyclare students to feature in prestigious exhibition

Olivia Fleming and Bethany Petrie will be taking part in the  BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in January. INNT 53-800CON

Olivia Fleming and Bethany Petrie will be taking part in the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in January. INNT 53-800CON

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Two Year 13 pupils are currently celebrating after receiving the news that they have been nominated as finalists in a top science exhibition.

Olivia Fleming and Bethany Petrie will take part in the world-renowned BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in January.

The Ballyclare High School pupils impressed a panel of judges with their project, beating off stiff competition, and were chosen as finalists from over 2,000 entries which came in from across the island of Ireland.

The girls’ project focuses on fungi and how it could be used as a replacement material for insulating homes and its ability to store heat.

Olivia explained how they came up with the idea to use fungi.

“We wanted to investigate a current issue that was relatable and relevant to modern society and since cavity wall insulation is one of the cheapest ways of reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, this topic caught our attention. We saw the potential of mycelium, a material found in fungus, as cavity wall insulation and we knew it was a material we could easily grow and develop from the school science lab. Not only have we thoroughly enjoyed conducting our experiments, we’ve also learnt a lot,” she said.

Bethany praised the people who have supported them throughout the project and added that they were looking forward to the event in Dublin.

“We were able to get in contact with leading insulation company, Kingspan, who were kind enough to share their wealth of knowledge with us, and give us tips and advice on how to improve our investigations. We’ve worked really hard to get to this point and we’re over the moon to have been chosen as one of the finalist groups. We want to say a huge thank you to BT for allowing us to get as far as we have and we’re excited to get to Dublin and see what the other finalists have come up with,” she said.

The girls will have their project displayed at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition at the RDS in Dublin from January 6 until January 9 2016.

The event attracts over 50,000 visitors annually over the three day period, making it one of the biggest events of its kind in the world.

Bethany and Olivia will be joined at the exhibition by two other groups from the Rashee Road school.

As well as the incentive of getting a project shortlisted and experiencing a week at the exhibition, there are over 140 teacher and pupil awards to be won, including cash prizes, international trips and the overall title of BT Young Scientist and Technologist(s) of the Year. For more details go to www.btyoungscientist.com.