Interview with 2004 winner Ronan Larkin

Posted: August 24, 2009 in Former winner

Tell us about your favourite memories from BTYS & TE?

For me, everything about it was brilliant.  The opening ceremony was really good, as were all the exhibits.  I loved being able to explain my project to judges and being questioned about it.  I knew that if judges were interested in your project or had more questions they would come back on the Friday.  At a minute past nine on Friday I had three judges and I had a further eighteen or so by lunchtime!  That’s a great memory, if not a bit of a tiring one.  The closing ceremony will always be memorable, as too will all the excitement of that evening and the next day.  On the Saturday evening there was a dinner to celebrate 40 years of the Young Scientist.  Not only was I able to meet all the past winners but I was able to sit with Fr. Tom Burke (RIP) and Dr. Tony Scott, the founders of the competition.  The whole experience of the Young Scientist is one great memory for me.

What do you think is the best thing about BTYS & TE?

I don’t think there is one best thing about the Competition.  There are many.  The chance to be able to talk about your work to someone who is an expert in their field and be quizzed about your project is definitely something that is very beneficial.  Meeting similar minded people who share the same interests as you is also enjoyable.  It’s always great to win a prize, but by making it to the RDS to exhibit your project, it’s already a great achievement, as less than half the entries get accepted.

Why should students get involved in BTYS & TE?

Apart from the competition being of the highest standard globally, it gives students the chance to explore more deeply the subjects they are studying in school and to go beyond the normal curriculum.  This greatly helps your school work, as the material can seem much easier!  As well as the academic side of things, its also great fun.  The atmosphere is electric and you get to meet loads of people your own age.  It’s a great experience to be able to talk to judges who come from a third level standard.  It’s also a good thing to have on your CV.

How has winning changed your life?

Obviously, the activities of the days following the announcement of the winner would have been a lot different had they called out someone else’s name.  And a number of events which followed that year would not have been possible had I not won, i.e. going to the European Young Scientist, travelling to MIT in Boston, etc.  The advice I got from judges and organisers of the Young Scientist helped me to decide what I wanted to do when I left school.  And the knowledge gained from taking part in the competition will stand to me for the rest of my life.  I don’t know if it was winning or just being there, but I love the buzz and excitement of the Young Scientist and as a result I’m back there every year!  So if you see me down there in January, don’t be afraid to come over and say hi!

What sort of things have you been doing since winning the BTYS & TE?

After winning, I represented Ireland in the European Young Scientist in the O’Reilly Hall in UCD.  I visited MIT in Boston as part of the Young Scientist prize.  Then I sat that dreaded thing called the leaving cert (it’s not that bad).   I have spent the last four years studying for a degree in mechanical engineering in UCD.  I graduated on the 1st July and am currently applying for a Masters in Energy System Engineering

What advice can you give to students who are currently trying to come up with interesting project ideas?

Think to yourself – What am I interested in? What areas do I enjoy studying and working with?   Could I include things I like to do outside of school in my idea?  Now take a look at the internet and even the library and see can you find any problems or unanswered question relating to these things.  You could also try to recreate work in your own words, putting your own slant on things.  Asking a teacher, family member or friend for advice or any ideas they may have is always beneficial too.

  1. Awesome, I did not know about that up to the present. Thanks.

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