Clare’s research into radiation protection wins SciFest 2021!

Clare Reidy, a sixth year student from Our Lady’s Bower school in Athlone, was recently named SciFest STEM Champion 2021, having claimed top prize at this year’s SciFest National Final, which took place over the weekend.

Clare received the award for her innovative research project, which explored Cosmic Radiation Protection, investigating effective building materials for future exploration of Mars. Clare’s victory will see her represent Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Atlanta, Georgia, next May.

Cosmic radiation consists of high-energy particles travelling through space. Clare’s project investigated whether bricks made from Martian soil (regolith) could be used to block cosmic radiation. She discovered that these bricks could offer effective protection against cosmic radiation and constructed an optimum brick using Martian regolith simulant as a primary component. Her discovery supports the use of Martian regolith bricks to protect future inhabitants of Mars.

Norma Foley TD, Minister for Education, said: “SciFest continues to bring together some of the best and brightest minds of future generations and I am delighted to see so many young people who are passionate about STEM fields. These subjects are crucial for equipping the young people of today with the problem-solving and critical thinking skills needed to meet the challenges of tomorrow. The level of innovation gives great cause for optimism now and into the future. I’d like to congratulate Clare on winning this award and applaud all those students who have participated in this year’s competition. I’d also like to commend the parents, teachers and mentors who have helped students throughout the process”.

Sheila Porter (SciFest CEO) said: “We’d like to extend a huge congratulations to Clare on winning this year’s SciFest National Final. We received a tremendous number of entries this year and the standard was as high as we’ve come to expect from SciFest participants”.