Capture the Attention of Young Minds!

nanoWe caught up Offaly’s Lucy Prendeville after she received her Leaving Cert results in which she achieved an amazing 8 A1’s! She has now headed happily off to Trinity College Dublin to study Nanoscience….

What advice would you give to someone going into exam year?

In my experience, routine is key. I had a steady routine that I stuck to religiously. I came home from school and took a break until four o’clock. I studied from four to six and then took a break from six until seven, where I had my dinner and watched some television to wind down. I then studied from seven until ten. Once it hit ten o’clock I put the books away. There is no point studying late into the night, you wont take anything in and you will only be tired the next day. It is very important to be disciplined in sixth and even fifth year. It’s all worth it in the end!

What was your favourite subject and why?

I absolutely love physics, chemistry and maths but chemistry was definitely the one that tickled my curiosity. From the start of fifth year I was amazed by this subject. I enjoyed every single topic in chemistry. I was fascinated by the detail involved and always enjoyed carrying out experiments. I think that chemistry explains so much and it can be seen everywhere in the world. I loved connecting things that I learned from my chemistry book with real life. I never felt bored with a chemistry book in front of me.

Did many students at your school study science or were there more popular subject choices?

We were very lucky in my secondary school Sacred Heart in Tullamore because all of the science subjects were catered for; biology, chemistry, physics and ag science. However of them all, biology was definitely the most popular.

What are you planning to study at third level?

My course is called ‘Nanoscience, Physics and Chemistry of Advanced Materials’ and I will be studying it in Trinity College. I am very excited to start and I feel that this course will really suit me. It incorporates my three favourite subjects; physics, chemistry and maths.

At the moment Nanotechnologies are being used to change every day things ..is there anything you can see this discipline being able to do in the future..what is the next big thing in Nano..in your opinion?

Without a doubt, nanoscience is huge at the moment. I don’t think I could even begin to visualise what is in store for the world regarding nanoscience. All I can say is that the world is changing fast and without a doubt, nanoscience will be at the cutting edge.

Challenges remain in trying to ensure we have enough future scientists here in the Irish economy. What do you think we can do to encourage more young people to consider a future career in science?

In my opinion, it is necessary to capture the attention of the young minds! It all starts in primary school. I was very lucky to attend Scoil Mhuire national school in Tullamore which piqued my interest in science. I remember building a volcano and being fascinated at seeing it erupt with the addition of baking powder and vinegar. Groups of scientists came to the school with presentations on various aspects of the world such as spiders and dinosaurs. At that young age, these demonstrations were perfect to introduce us into the amazing world of science. For someone to consider a career in science, they need to have an interest in this area. I had the privilege of going to a primary school that opened my eyes to this magical world.