‘The first of its kind’: Reporting the first Young Scientists’ Exhibition in 1965

For the 60th BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, we look back our reporting on the first ever winners

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the first BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. This following report is from The Irish Times archive, dated Wednesday, 6th January, 1965.

The Taoiseach Mr Lemass yesterday stressed the increasingly important role of science and technology in the development of Ireland when he opened the Young Scientists’ Exhibition in the Mansion House, Dublin.

The exhibition, which is the first of its kind and which is sponsored by Aer Lingus-Irish International Airlines, will remain open until 9pm today.

At yesterday’s opening ceremony it was announced that John J Monahan, an 18-year-old student of Newbridge College, Newbridge, Co Kildare, had been awarded the title of Young Scientist of 1965 which carries with it a prize of £250. The judging of the exhibits had been carried out on the previous night by a panel of 17 judges.


Today, Mr Monahan, who won his prize for an apparatus demonstrating the various chemical reactions taking place within the human body during digestion, and the other prize-winners will receive their awards from the General manager of Aer Lingus-Irish International Airlines Mr J F Dempsey at a special luncheon in Dublin.

In all, 185 students from colleges and convents all over Ireland entered for the competition – which is to become an annual event, designed to encourage young Irish people to engage in scientific experiments and to stimulate public interest in science. Their experiments and projects were grouped under five branches of the natural sciences, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and geography (including geology).

Oliver A McBryan, a student at University College, Dublin, won one of the two second prizes of £100 for a project illustrating various mathematical treatments of the earth’s motions in space and in addition, the judging panel unanimously voted him a special supplementary award of £50.

The other £100 prize was awarded to a young Malaysian girl student of the Dominican Convent Sion Hill, Blackrock, Co Dublin. Miss Patricia Por’s project on the biology of the mouse dealt with genetics and the effects of nutritional deficiencies, X-rays and drugs.

Mr Lemass said that it was certain that in the Ireland of tomorrow, we would need more scientists and technologists and it was from young people who had been attracted to the exhibition, drawn by the opportunities afforded through it, that we could expect to get the best.

“The world is entering a great age of scientific development and only those countries which are prepared to welcome the prospect of change and innovation and to prepare themselves for it can hope to get ahead,” he said.


We spoke to some of the participants of the 2024 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition #btyoungscientistexhibition #rds

♬ Education, science, technology, techno(835583) - zomap

It always had been true that the future lay with the young who were trained to cope with it: who were educated to meet its exacting requirements and who were imbued with the spirit of inquiry and the desire to invent. The inauguration of the present exhibition was most important and he congratulated Aer Lingus upon having initiated it. He hoped that the encouragement that it would give to young people in future years would benefit them as well as the country.

The chairman of Aer Lingus Mr Patrick Lynch said that it always was the practice of Aer Lingus to interest young people in aviation for the very practical reason that aviation was the industry of the future. They believed that they had a duty to stimulate interests in both theoretical and practical science and the aim of good teaching in science should be to inculcate the notion of close and accurate observation.

The awards made by the panel of judges on the previous night were announced by the secretary of Aer Lingus, Mr P J Brennan and the attendance included the Minister for Education, Dr Hillery; the Minister for Transport and Power, Mr Erskine Childers; Ms James Dillon, TD; the Secretary of the Department of Transport and Power, Dr Thekla Beere; and Dr J F Dempsey, general manager, Aer Lingus.

The following is the complete list of prize-winners:

Young Scientist of 1965 (£250) – John J Monahan, Newbridge College (Senior Biology), Second Prize (Boy) (£100 plus special £50 award) – Oliver A McBryan, University College Dublin (Senior Mathematics). Second prize (Girl) (£100) – Patricia Por, Dominican Convent, Sion Hill (Senior Biology).

Group Awards (First, £25; second, £15: third, £10). Junior Biology – 1. Eoin Bowler, De La Salle College, Churchtown; 2, Eavan Susan Clancy, Our Lady’s School, Rathnew; 3. Mary T Fannon, Convent of Mercy, Roscommon. Highly commended – Catherine P Duffy, St Louis Convent, Carrickmacross. Senior Biology – 1. Richard J Flanagan, St Paul’s College, Raheny; 2. Bairbre Aine Ni Dhubhghaill, Clochar Lughaidh Naofa, Carraigmacaire Rois; 3. Ann Dolores Sheeran, Convent of Mercy, Roscommon.

Junior Chemistry – 1. Brendan Keane, Sandymount High School, Dublin. 2. Barbara E Keane, Our Lady’s School, Rathnew; 3. Breanainn O’Buachalla, St Finbarr’s College, Cork. Highly commended – Edward L Daly, Gonzaga College, Dublin.

Senior Chemistry – 1. Brighid F Shannon, St Mary’s College, Arklow; 2. Edward F McCarthy, St Finbarr’s College, Cork; 3. Sally McManus, Dominican Convent, Sion Hill.

Junior Geography/Geology – 1. Dudley N Fowler, Wesley College, Dublin; 2. Arnold A Horner, The High School, Dublin; 3. Jean M Doherty, Loreto College, Enniscorthy. Highly commended – Miriam Manning and Sylvia Leigh-Doyle, Loretto College, Enniscorthy.

Junior Mathematics – 1. John E Masterson, Blackrock College, Dublin; 2. Geoffrey Saunders, Mountjoy School, Dublin; 3. Divided between Máire Ni Domhnaill, Ursuline Convent, Sligo, and Pauline T Staunton, Our Lady’s School, Rathnew.

Junior Physics – 1. Lothar Enders, Gonzaga College, Dublin; 2. Michael G O’Regan, St Finbarr’s College, Cork; 3. Frances Lawlor, Dominican Convent, Sion Hill. Highly commended – Peter Enders, Gonzaga College, Dublin.

Senior Physics – 1. Peter J Waugh, Mountjoy school, Dublin; 2. Patrick Henehan, Rockwell College Cashel; 3. Cornelius N Hegarty, Colaiste Chriost, Ri, Cork.

  • Sign up for push alerts and have the best news, analysis and comment delivered directly to your phone
  • Find The Irish Times on WhatsApp and stay up to date
  • Our In The News podcast is now published daily – Find the latest episode here