TWO Year 10 boys from the Christian Brothers are certainly flying the flag for West Tyrone after recently being named finalists in a prestigious nationwide science competition.
After designing multi award-winning solar ovens, science enthusiasts Sean Diamond and Ronan Maguire will soon be jetting off to England to take part in the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair for pupils aged between 11-18.
Taking place in Birmingham’s NEC arena from March 15-17, the two pupils are excited to see what the judges have to say about their solar-powered creations.
“We were very happy to be chosen as finalists because we’ve worked hard to get this far,” said Sean.
“We’re really looking forward to going to Birmingham as it should be a fun experience for us.”
Ronan added, “The arena is massive, and there will be lots of other stalls set up with other pupils’ work on them, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else is there and what the judges think of what we made.”
The pupils’ long journey to the final began in March last year after their solar oven design won Best Overall in the Christian Brothers’ internal school science competition, SciFest.
“The boys’ idea was to create a solar oven that could be used in third countries,” explained Mrs Curran, the pupils’ Year 9 science teacher. “So to start off with, they created three different designs for solar ovens. Then they physically built all three ovens using cardboard boxes, bin liners to absorb the sun’s heat, tin foil and clear plastic.
“They had to carefully figure out which of their designs was best at both converting the sun’s solar energy to heat, and storing the sun’s solar energy.”
This competition victory enabled them to enter their designs into the Sentinus Big Bang science fair in Derry, hosted by St Mary’s College.
Taking place in June 2015, the pupils once again sailed to overall victory and their win secured their place in the annual Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair, organised by the British Science Association.
Alongside Mrs Curran, both Sean and Ronan will now be staying over after school one day a week to do further research on their solar ovens in the hopes of creating a superior design.
“What we are going to try to do now is to develop a bigger and more sturdy study flat-pack solar oven design,” Mrs Curran said. “This means that after it is used, it can be easily packaged and transported.”
She concluded, “I’m really proud of the Sean and Ronan’s continued hard work and dedication.
“They are both brilliant students and their scientific knowledge is excellent.”