Irish student achieves global success at international science fair

Adam Kelly
SciFest winner Adam Kelly, Skerries Community College

SciFest winner scoops Dudley R. Herschbach SIYSS Award and will have an asteroid named after him

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23 May 2019 | 0

SciFest national champion, Adam Kelly from Skerries Community College, Dublin represented Ireland at Intel ISEF 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona this week where he has claimed the Dudley R. Herschbach SIYSS Award, which is considered one of the competition’s top 5 most prestigious accolades. Kelly will now be one one of 25 students who will attend the week-long Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar (SIYSS) and will get the chance to meet Nobel prize winning scientists.

Having also received a first prize in his category, systems software, Kelly earned $3,000 in prize money and will have an asteroid named after him. He also achieved a best in category award, earning $5,000 for himself and $1,000 for his school.

Intel ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, involving some 1,800 students from over 80 countries competing for a prize fund totalling $5million. The SciFest programme is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Boston Scientific, Intel Ireland and Specsavers.

Kelly secured his place at the international competition when he won the top award, the Science Foundation Ireland Intel ISEF award, at the SciFest 2018 National Final last November for his work combining of physics, computing and maths to build a ‘quantum computer’..

Unlike a traditional computer that uses bits represented either by one or zero, a quantum computer works off ‘qubits’, meaning an action can be a one, zero or both at the same time. This means a quantum computer can work at an unprecedented speed on vast calculations with applications in fields such as astronomy and climatology.

Speaking about attending ISEF, Kelly said: “I was very excited to have the opportunity to travel to Phoenix and to present my work to some of the top STEM professionals in the world. I really enjoyed meeting young people from all over the world and seeing the different projects that they are working on.”

Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder and CEO, said: “We are all very proud of Adam and his achievement in receiving a first prize finish in his category, Systems Software. Participating in Intel ISEF is a wonderful opportunity and I know Adam has really enjoyed the experience. SciFest is all about encouraging a love of science, technology, engineering and maths among young people. Adam has developed a truly innovative project and we are delighted that he has had the opportunity to bring it to an international audience.”

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