Mercy Mounthawk Students Make Final Of National Science Competition

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Mercy Mounthawk students Diana Meriaki and Jessica Murphy with teacher Eimear Nolan. The students have qualified for a national science competition final next month. Photo by Dermot Crean

TWO fifth year students at Mercy Mounthawk have made the final of a national science competition next month.

Jessica Murphy and Diana Meriaki  qualified for the Boston Scientific Medical Devices Grand Award at the SciFest 2018 National Final which will take place in the Marino Conference Centre in Dublin on November 9.

Their project, ‘An investigation into the use of antiprotons in cancer therapy’, won the regional award in that category at Scifest in IT Tralee back in the spring.

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They were one of 16 entries for the national competition in that category and that has now been whittled down to five finalists. An engraved trophy and an award to the value of €500 awaits the winners.

“Our project is the study of antiproton therapy, a form of external beam cancer treatment that kills cancer cells using antiprotons,” said the girls. “We felt that this project idea was important due to the rise of cancer in Ireland over the last decade. We came up with this idea after extensive research into the field of medical physics, where we uncovered antimatter and its role in the medical world, particularly PET scans. The idea developed from there on. As a group, we were always especially interested in physics, and we were eager to learn and study the physics of antiproton therapy, and its feasibility in the future.”

Teacher Eimear Nolan is delighted the girls’ hard work is paying off and taking part in Scifest is part of the  school’s commitment to enhancing students’ knowledge in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) area.

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