Young Scientist of the Year is inundated with offers but Sarah Flannery has no plans to sell her winning project.
To say this is a busy time for the 1999 Young Scientist of the Year would be something of an understatement. Sarah Flannery, a student at Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal in Blarney, County Cork, devised a cryptographic formula for sending secure computer messages on the internet.
The phone has been ringing off the hook following the awards ceremony, as Sarah has been contacted by businesses with an interest in her project along with media enquiries from Britain, France, Germany, US, and Ireland. On one day alone Sarah took 70 phone calls and describes the experience as overwhelming,
It’s just a total blur of people. It’s just been so weird, I’d could never have imagined it would be this big.
There is barely time to eat in the Flannery household, but Sarah does get meal breaks when her parents man the phone. Their daily routine has completely gone by the board, according to her mother Elaine,
I haven’t been able to peel two consecutive potatoes in this house!
Although Sarah could cash in on her success she does not want people to have to pay for her discovery, and plans to publish it on the internet instead.
I certainly didn’t set out to sell my project to make money, I set out to have some fun with it.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 13 January 1999. The reporter is Paschal Sheehy.