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14th Oct 2014

Three Irish Teenagers Named Among The Most Influential Teenagers in the World

The Cork trio were named among 25 other influential teenagers.


Three Irish teenagers have been named as among the most influential teenagers in the world by Time magazine.

The Cork trio, Ciara Judge (16), Sophie Healy-Thow (17) and Émer Hickey (17) were among 25 teenagers named this month by Time. The Cork girls won the BT Young Scientists of the Year competition before going on to win the global research competition at the Google Science Fair in San Francisco.

Time praises the girls, who were also winners at the 2013 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, on their research into the effects of the bacteria diazotroph.

“This advance could play a crucial role in solving the global food crisis,” states the magazine. “And Judge, Hickey and Healy-Thow are already planning to commercialise this.”

The girls are Fifth Year students at Kinsale Community School in Co Cork and became interested in addressing the global food crisis after learning about the Horn of Africa famine in 2011.

Their research showed that when diazotroph, which is an organism that sucks nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil, is present, it speeds up the germination process of high-value crops – potentially increasing output by up to 50 per cent.

They then carried out an in-depth study on the impact of this on the growth of cereal crops such as oats, wheat and barley which revealed that the bacteria did increase germination by up to 50 per cent and that it increased barley yields by 74 per cent.

On the prestigious Time list the girls joined other teenagers including American President Barack Obama’s daughters, Sasha and Malia, along with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and New Zealand’s singer-songwriter Lorde.


Barack Obama