Irish student, 17, to have asteroid named after him following awards haul at international science fair
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Irish student, 17, to have asteroid named after him following awards haul at international science fair

AN Irish secondary school student is to have an asteroid named after him after winning several awards at the 2019 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in the US.

Adam Kelly, a pupil at Skerries Community College in Dublin, was named as one of three winners of the Dudley R. Herschbach SIYSS Award – which is among ISEF's most prestigious accolades – at the event in Phoenix, Arizona last weekend.

The 17-year-old quantum computing prodigy will therefore get an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar (SIYSS) this December, where he will meet Nobel Prize winning scientists.

He also won a First Place Award in the 'Software Systems' Category, for which he will receive a cash prize of $3,000 and have an asteroid named his honour.

If that wasn't enough, the Irish teen further picked up the Best in Category Award which comes with a $5,000 prize as well as $1,000 for his school.

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The recognition comes on the back of Adam's work in developing his own quantum computing software, which works "at an unprecedented speed on vast calculations with applications in fields such as astronomy and climatology".

Additionally, Adam was also given an Honorable Mention in the 'Science of Security' category from the National Security Agency Research Directorate – which recognises "exceptional research that demonstrates world-class skills in mathematics, computer science, cybersecurity, engineering, physics, and neuroscience while promoting research that can assure and protect cyberspace".

Of his experience at ISEF 2019, 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."

The event saw more than 1,800 teen researchers travel to Phoenix from across the world as winners of various national science fairs.

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Adam was previously named overall winner of SciFest 2018 last November and won this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) for his open source quantum computing simulator.

As part of his SciFest prize, he was able to travel to compete at ISEF 2019 and present this research. The SciFest programme is funded primarily by SFI, Boston Scientific, Intel Ireland and Specsavers.

SciFest director of science Dr Ruth Freeman congratulated Kelly on his achievement, saying: "It is wonderful to see a young Irish innovator competing at a global level."

SciFest founder and CEO Shelia Porter added: "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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