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Fionn is Google HQ bound

Wednesday, 5th June, 2019 4:53pm

A teenager from West Cork is heading stateside this summer to compete in the largest science fair in the world.

18 year old Fionn Ferreira from Ballydehob has made it to the global final of the annual Google Science Fair, the annual online science competition open to students between the ages of 13 and 18 from around the world.

Fionn will be flown to Google international headquarters in Mountain View, California to compete in the competition.

An alumnus of the BT Young Scientist Exhibition, Fionn is also a student at Schull Community College and started his Leaving Cert this week.

His project, ‘An investigation into the removal of microplastics from water using ferrofluids’ posits a novel way to filter microplastics from water by using magnets. It is one of 20 global finalists chosen from a shortlist of 100 regional entries competing for the top prize of a $50,000 bursary, with category winners each receiving $15,000 grants and exclusive STEM-related experiences.

The Google Science Fair has been running annually since 2011 and is held in partnership with Virgin Galactic, LEGO Education, National Geographic, and Scientific American.

Not content with an already busy schedule, Fionn also works as a curator at the Schull Planetarium, has won 12 science fair awards, speaks three languages fluently, plays the trumpet at orchestra level, and has even had a minor planet named after him by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

Fionn said: “It’s an incredible honour to reach the global final of the Google Science Fair. My project came about as I was constantly hearing about plastic pollution on the news, and as I live by the sea in West Cork I was also seeing the real effects on our beaches every day.

“I discovered to my dismay that at present no screening or filtering for microplastics takes place in any European wastewater treatment centres, so I started looking around for a solution.”

Fionn added: “I can’t wait to get to Google HQ in California to talk about my project, and I look forward to applying my findings and contributing towards a solution in tacking microplastics in our oceans worldwide.”

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