Top A level student aims to follow Belfast scientist John Bell
A student with five A*s at A level is hoping to follow in the footsteps of one of Northern Ireland's most famous physicists.
Callum Canavan, 18, from Lumen Christie College in Londonderry, was the top performing student in the country and will study natural sciences at Cambridge. He received his grades in physics, biology, chemistry, maths and further maths.
The talented teenager said he was interested in quantum mechanics, the study of very small objects which became the subject of Belfast scientist John Bell's Theorem.
Mr Canavan said he was delighted.
"It was a lot of work, particularly for biology, there were a lot of things to remember."
Asked who his inspiration was he said: "I like John Bell, who was from Belfast."
The quiet and mature pupil studied at one of Northern Ireland's top Catholic grammar schools. Lumen Christie selects its pupils on the basis of academic ability, despite the abolition of the 11 plus examination.
Principal Siobhan McCauley said: "We are absolutely delighted with the results and extremely proud of all our students."
Northern Ireland's students achieved a lower percentage of A to A* grades compared to 2014, but the overall pass rate has risen.
Mathematics was the most popular subject. The number of girls taking it has risen dramatically as part of a renewed focus on workplace skills.
More females took science, technology, engineering and mathematics (stem) in response to calls from industry for more skilled employees, according to the Joint Council for Qualifications.
Overall, entries were up by 2.5% with standards broadly maintained. Northern Ireland outperformed counterparts in England and Wales.
Some 29.3% of students achieved A or A* grades compared to last year's 29.9%.
The overall pass rate increased by 0.1%, with 98.2% of students achieving grades A* to E.
Nigel Smyth, director of CBI Northern Ireland, said: "To build a balanced, modern economy we need a workforce that can exploit new technologies and drive forward our high value, high growth sectors, so a rise in the number of stem students is excellent news for the economy."
Stormont education minister John O'Dowd said: "Stem subjects are the foundation of the modern workplace and economy.
"It is very good news for young people individually and for society and the economy that maths is the most popular."