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EU Silver Science Success
Tuesday 1 May 2007

Robert O’Mhurchú  won the award for Best Individual in a large college
EUSO medal winners

Six Irish science students won silver medals at the 5th European Union Science Olympiad (EUSO) held in Potsdam, Germany on the 25th March to 1st April 2007. The EUSO is a team competition for EU second level school science students who are 16 years of age or younger. The first EUSO was held in DCU in 2003 with seven EU countries taking part. Groningen University hosted EUSO 2004, NUIG & GMIT in 2005 and last year VUB & ULB Brussels. The 6th EUSO will be held in Nicosia, Cyprus on the 11th to 17th May 2008. Spain will host EUSO 2009 and Sweden in 2010.

The selection of the Irish EUSO team began in November 2006. Over 250 of the high achievers in Science and Maths in the Junior Certificate Examinations 2005 and 2006 came to DCU on Saturday 3rd February 2007 to take part in a test to select the six students (two teams of three). Students sitting the Leaving Certificate Examination in 2007 were ineligible to participate. Because each team needed a member with an expertise in each of the sciences the students were asked to select their best science subject. All three tests in biology, chemistry and physics began at 12.00 noon, ran simultaneously and ended at 3.00 p.m.

Dr. Odilla Finlayson (Chairperson), Dr. Christine Loscher & Ms. Jennifer Dowling (Biology), Dr. Paraic James (Chemistry) and Dr. Paul van Kampen & Dr Eilish McLoughlin (Physics) and who were responsible for different sections of the Olympiad had teams of DCU staff and postgraduate students ready to administer, supervise and correct the tests.

At 4.00 p.m. the students, many accompanied by their parents and teachers crowded into a packed Larkin Theatre for the closing ceremony. Michael A. Cotter (EUSO President) opened the proceedings by welcoming Minister Seán Haughey TD, Minister for state in the Department of Education & Science and Professor Martin Henry, DCU Vice President. He thanked the parents and teachers for their support and encouragement of these talented young Irish scientists. He was particularly appreciative of the tremendous effort put in by the DCU staff and postgraduate students in bringing the 2006 Irish EU Science Olympiad (IrEUSO) to a successful conclusion.

Minister Seán Haughey TD & Professor Martin Henry thanked everyone involved and highlighted science as a career. They also thanked the DCU staff and postgraduate students involved.

All participants received a Certificate. The top student in each subject received a gold medal, the next silver and the next bronze. The three gold and three silver medal winners were invited to represent Ireland at EUSO 2007. The three bronze medal winners were on the reserve list.

The teams carried out assignments on the DCU online "Moodle" system. They also took part in intensive residential training programmes in DCU during the mid-term break in February, again in March and on the days prior to the EUSO.

Gold Karen McCarthy Beara Community School, Castletownbere, Co Cork
Silver Patrick Kerr Our Lady’s Sec School, Castleblaney, Co. Monaghan
Bronze Aoife Convery Loreto College, Swords, Co. Dublin
Bronze Padraig Sheehan Avondale Community College, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow

Chemistry Gold Robert Varley The Institute of Education, Lesson St, Dublin 2
Silver Tim Cronin CBC, Sidney Hill, Wellington Road, Cork
Bronze David McHugh St Finian’s College, Mullingar, Co Westmeeath
Bronze Clare Quigley Castletroy Community College, Castletroy, Co Limerick

Gold, Nick Byrne, Coláiste Raithin, Bray, Co. Wicklow
Silver, Galin Ganchev, Castletroy Community School, Castletroy, Co. Limerick
Bronze, Caitriona Kelly, Drogheda Grammar School, Mornington Rd., Co. Louth
Bronze, Colman Humphrey, St. Andrew’s College, Booterstown Ave., Blackrock, Co. Dublin

EUSO 2007

The university campus in Golm-Potsdam in the former East Germany played host to EUSO 2007. The science faculty staff designed the two four-hour tasks that involved the science of the humble potato.

Sixteen EU countries were represented by a total of 29 teams (87 Students). Delegations included one or two teams of three students and a mentor for each discipline, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. One mentor was the Country Coordinator and Head of the Delegation. Austria and Bulgaria sent Observers. International guests from Indonesia and Taiwan represented the IJSO.

Teams: Belgium (2 teams), Cyprus (2 teams), Czech Republic (2 teams), Estonia (2 teams), Germany (2 teams), Greece (2 teams), Ireland (2 teams), Latvia (1 team), Lithuania (1 team), Luxembourg (2 teams), Netherlands (2 teams), Slovakia (2 teams), Slovenia (1 team), Spain (2 teams), Sweden (2 teams) and the United Kingdom (2 teams).

Denmark, Finland, Italy, Malta and Portugal have applied to take part in 2008. This will bring the number of countries taking part to 23 out of a possible 27. The remaining; France, Hungary, Poland and Romania may yet join the EUSO in 2008.

Irish EUSO Team Leaders
Ms. Jennifer Dowling (Biology)
Dr. Odilla Finlayson (Chemistry)
Dr. Paul van Kampen (Physics)

For further information contact
Michael A. Cotter
EUSO President

Dr. Odilla Finlayson
Irish EUSO Coordinator

EUSO 2007