A young Irish scientist will have an asteroid named after him after winning first prize at Intel ISEF – the world’s largest international pre-college science competition.
Adam Kelly from Skerries Community College, Dublin represented Ireland at Intel ISEF 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona this week.
Claiming the Dudley R. Herschbach SIYSS Award – considered one of the competition’s top 5 most prestigious accolades – Adam will now go on to compete in a week-long science seminar in Stockholm.
There, he will get the chance to meet Nobel Prize-winning scientists.
Also winning first prize in the Systems Software, Adam earned $3,000 for himself while a ‘best in category award’ earned him a further $5,000 and $1,000 for his school.
Involving some 1,800 students from over 80 countries competing for a prize fund totalling $5 million, the SciFest programme is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Boston Scientific, Intel Ireland and Specsavers.
Adam’s work is a combination of physics, computing and maths, and has huge potential.
Unlike a traditional computer that uses bits represented either by one or zero, a quantum computer works off ‘qubits’, meaning an action can be a one, zero or both at the same time.
This means a quantum computer can work at an unprecedented speed on vast calculations with applications in fields such as astronomy and climatology.
Large-scale quantum computers are set to be the next frontier in advanced computing, but they are not yet widely available, which is why Adam developed an open source solution to simulating quantum computing that is up to 15 times faster than conventional simulations.
Speaking about attending ISEF, Adam said: ‘I was very excited to have the opportunity to travel to Phoenix and to present my work to some of the top STEM professionals in the world.’
‘I really enjoyed meeting young people from all over the world and seeing the different projects that they are working on.
‘This was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and to learn, and I am so thankful to my family, friends, teachers and everyone at SciFest who have supported me up to now.’
Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder and CEO, commented: ‘We are all very proud of Adam and his achievement in receiving a first prize finish in his category, Systems Software.’
‘Participating in Intel ISEF is a wonderful opportunity and I know Adam has really enjoyed the experience.
‘SciFest is all about encouraging a love of science, technology, engineering and maths among young people.
‘Adam has developed a truly innovative project and we are delighted that he has had the opportunity to bring it to an international audience. We wish him every success for the future.’
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