Two students from Kildare Town Community School took home the county’s only award at last week’s BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, held in Dublin’s RDS.
JJ Kelly and Jack Kennedy were named the second best senior group in the Biological and Ecological Sciences category for their project, ‘Caffeine - the placebo effect’.
“It was fantastic,” JJ, 16, told the Leader. “And to be the only winners from Kildare made it even more special.”
For their project, the two fifth-year students compared the physical and psychological reactions of 500 volunteers, when given normal and decaf coffee. They found that, even when drinking decaf, people’s blood pressure and heart rate rose.
And JJ said the students’ investigations may not stop there. “If we could raise the blood pressure [using a placebo], maybe we could find a way to lower it.”
According to JJ, the idea came when his mother asked him to go out and get coffee one morning. “I got decaf but I said ‘sure, she won’t know the difference’.”
Proud teacher Sinead Sheils described the experiment as “very comprehensive”, saying it was of “publishing standard”.
Ms Sheils was one of three teachers nominated for the Educator of Excellence award, as she mentored 10 projects on display at the exhibition.
- Liam Godinho