It is 56 years since the first Young Scientist exhibition was held in Dublin's Mansion House and all the signs suggest it is likely to run for another 56.

The goal of Rev Dr Tom Burke and Dr Tony Scott, the co-founders of this exhibition back in 1965, was to take science outside of the classroom, to show young people that science was all around them in everyday life, and hopefully encourage them to consider careers in science, engineering or a related discipline.

On that score there is no doubt the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition has been a huge success with as many as 75,000 young people from all of the 32 counties entering the competition over the past 56 years.

"In any case every student taking part over the coming days is already a winner."

The organisers were also keen to instil from the beginning a culture that the event was not a competition. Rather it is an exhibition, an event where all the students would have a chance to display their projects, talk about them, and explain to anyone who will listen all about the exciting things they have discovered.

In any case every student taking part over the coming days is already a winner. They have been picked out by the organisers to display their projects and would not be there unless they had already reached a very high standard.

There are or course lots of prizes to be given out. That will be done on Friday evening after the 79 judges have had a good look at this year’s discoveries. 

The prize for the overall winner is a cheque for €7,500, a perpetual trophy, and the chance to represent Ireland at the 32nd EU contest for young scientists taking place later this year in Santander in Spain.

That is not all of course. There is the fun of taking part, the massive fanfare and bursts of confetti, booming music, and adulation of thousands of students, parents, and teachers who will be present.

There is the adulation also of a nation that has come to love, appreciate and value so highly the genius of youthful minds, the overwhelming passion, talent and self belief that is always on display, and the sense of hope and optimism about the future that the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition engenders in us all. 

  • The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition is taking place at the RDS in Dublin.
  • It will be open for visitors from Thursday to Saturday from 9.30am to 5:30pm.
  • About 50,000 people are expected to attend.
  • It will be officially opened by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this afternoon.
  • About 60% of the projects on show this year are linked to climate change and the environment.
  • The organisers are advising those planning to visit the event to book their tickets soon as some of the days are already almost sold out.
  • Included is a line up of science shows - the Physics of Breakdancing, 3D Space Challenges and Exploration, World of Robots.

About 1,100 students from all over the country are taking part this year. It is one of the most successful and internationally renowned student science exhibitions in the world and it has been boosted by very significant investment by the organisers BT over the past 20 years.

About 1,850 student science projects were submitted for consideration.

This was whittled down to 550 projects from 244 schools now going on display.

The students from schools in the Dublin region arrived yesterday to prepare their stands for the exhibition.

"On display are the results of enormous endeavour and scientific inquiry by some of the brightest young minds in the country."

This morning it is the turn of students taking part from outside of Dublin before the official opening by the Taoiseach at 2pm this afternoon.

The exhibits fall under four broad scientific categories; social and behavioural science; chemical physical and mathematical science; technology; and biological and ecological science.

The topics included this year range from climate change to gender diversity to the effects of social media and everything in between.

On display are the results of enormous endeavour and scientific inquiry by some of the brightest young minds in the country.

They have been spurred on by vital contributions from teachers helping the students to turn their raw ideas into projects, encouraging them, assisting them and keeping them focussed on finishing on time.