Cormac Larkin – BT Young Scientist Runner Up Individual interviewed Cormac Larkin, runner up individual at the BT Young Scientist. He also won the Intel Student Award for best Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences project and the IOP special award for best Physics-based project. He spoke to us about his success at BT and how TY helped to launch it all.

What is your opinion on Transition Year?                                                                                                

Transition year to me is an opportunity. TY is not a guaranteed success because it’s what you make of it. You have to do something, it’s not handed to you on a plate, it doesn’t just happen. You are given a year to do what you like and if you do something productive that’s great but if you don’t it’s a waste of time. I think TY is an incredible opportunity, but only if taken seriously.

What did you make of your Transition Year ?

If I’m honest, I don’t feel like I did enough with it. The most worthwhile things I did were the Physics experience weeks in Trinity and UCC which led on to my internships and where I am now. In the November of TY I spent a week in the Trinity Physics department which was great. It was the eye opener that Physics was for me. I then applied for the UCC week which led onto a Summer internship there for three months and here I am now. TY helped lead me onto my current research, but I do wish I had broadened my interests a little more during TY.

Tell us about your BT Young Scientist project

I’ve been working on it for just under a year. It’s a new way of using existing data to find really big stars. You fit models to this existing data to find interesting candidates and then check them with a telescope. Studying massive stars helps us to better understand the early universe.

Cormac receiving the Runner-Up Individual Award at BTYSTE

So what advice would you give to TY students looking to make the most out of TY?

Bother – do something, don’t be the person who has a doss year. Find something that interests you. Write to the people who are doing that thing. That works for most career areas, not just academia. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. The worst anyone can say is no.

Twitter – @LarkinCormac

One comment

  1. Cormac Larkin has gone on to win the Priscilla and Bart Bok First Award and $1,000 for his project entitled: ‘Case study of Data Mining in Observational Astronomy: The search for new OB stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud’ and a second place finish in the Physics and Astrophysics category, along with another $1,500 in prize money at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair! He will also have an asteroid named after him and a chance to present his research at the American Astronomical Society winter meeting!

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