Tuesday, 13 December 2016
German engineer Carl Benz patented the first petrol engine motor car 130 years ago. The person who made the motor car a commercial reality and initiated the industry was his fiancé, and later wife, Bertha Benz. Although unseemly for women at the time, Bertha had great interest in Science and Engineering.
Carl owned an almost bankrupt ironworks in Mannheim. He had little business sense but was a talented engineer. He had the idea for the design and construction of a 'horseless carriage' driven by a petrol engine. His fiancé, Bertha, with unshakable belief in him used her inherited wealth to provide the funds to save his business. They married and together, through very hard times and disappointments, they built the first motor car, patened on 29 January 1886.
Carl drove the newly completed car around their town. The vehicle worried the local people who petitioned the Kaiser to ban it. The car was confirmed to the ironworks as a curiosity - by orders of the authorities and under police guard!
Following all their hard work, Bertha just could not accept this and her determined actions changed the world...
Stealing the very car she had helped to build, and with two of her children to push it up the hills, she drove to her mother's home 100km away in Pforzheim.
Bertha had to make running repairs. One to unblock a pipe with her hatpin and another to make improvements to the failing wooden brake blocks by replacing them with leather pads. The catastrophe of a broken drive chain did not stop her and she found a blacksmith to make the repair.
The car used cleaning fluid as fuel, better known to us today as petrol and she stopped at pharmacies on her way to top up. At one pharmacy in Wieslock, she bought the entire stock to the confusion of the chemist. This pharmacy later became the worlds first petrol filling station!
Finally, Bertha made it to her mother's house only to find her out visiting a cousin! She sent a telegram to Carl to explain where she was with the children and a few days later made the return journey. By now, the horseless carriage had caused such a stir, people lined the route to see the astonishing machine with the driver and her passengers.
Bertha made a detailed report on the drive which lead to further technical improvements such as extra gearing and better brakes, proving the importance of rigorous test drives to verify designs. She established many firsts and ideas on her drive: brake pads, petrol filling stations, car mechanic workshops and the concept of the autobahn.
Her clever publicity raised public awareness that reliable petrol driven motor vehicles could be manufactured. Orders for the motor cars soon arrived and the automobile industry began with production of the worlds first cars manufactured by the Benz company.
Famed for her work, Bertha died in 1944 at the age of 95. In 2008, the 194km round trip Bertha Benz Memorial Route was inaugurated to honour her.
One hundred and thirty years after her awesome drive, it might be interesting to wonder what Bertha would have made of the traffic on the A3 through Guildford at rush hour!
Monday, 21 November 2016
In 1851, French scientist Leon Foucault (1819 - 1868), with a simple pendulum, finally showed the earth rotated. - by guest blogger John Faulkner
The motto of the Royal Society is - Nullius in Verba (take nobody's word for it).....
Drop an object and it falls toward the ground, the earth seems fixed where it is. The skies, stars moon, planets and sun, move overhead. Aristotle said this proves the earth was the centre of the universe with the heavens revolving around it.
Over time, philosophers suspected the earth might be rotating on its own axis. Copernicus showed that the Earth orbited the sun and his solution to the moving skies was a rotating Earth. Galileo with his telescope saw that Jupiter spun on its own axis, so why not the earth? Newton discovered gravity, which explained, if the earth rotated (at up to 1000mph at the equator) everything did not fly off into space.
But there was no evidence the earth moved and Egyptian philosopher Ptolemy (100AD), had proposed the earth sat within moving crystal spheres that held the skies. Nobody could disprove it.
In 1851 French scientist Leon Foucault (1819 - 1868), with a simple pendulum, finally showed the earth rotated.
Foucault knew that Newtons First Law of motion means a moving object would continue unless another force acted upon it. Setting a pendulum swinging on a wire, enough to resist forces other than gravity, the pendulum would continue in its plane. Foucault hung a 67 meter long 28 kilogram pendulum from the dome of the Pantheon in Paris running North to South. The pendulum gradually appeared to shift direction but since no new forces were acting on it this must be that the Earth was moving underneath! Foucault worked out that the formula to calculate the degrees of shift as follows....
Degrees shift per day = 360 multiplied by the sine of the pendulums latitude on the earth.
at the north pole where latitude is 90 degrees (the sine of 90 = 1) the shift is 360 degrees/ day
at the equator where latitude is 0 degrees (the sine of 0 = 0) the shift is 0 degrees/ day
Surrey SATRO office latitude is 51.24 degrees (the sine of 51.24 = 0.8276) the shift is 298 degrees/ day
Foucault went on to develop a better, more convenient instrument to demonstrate this effect - the gyroscope.
Thanks to him the search to find if the earth moved resulted with a device found in many objects that need to know orientation. Here are some examples.... ship stabilisers, aircraft autopilots, non magnetic compasses for navigation, virtual reality headsets, robotics, Segway Scooters....
- John Faulkner
Monday, 14 November 2016
My name is Thomas Banks and I currently study A Level Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science and Mathematics (Statistics) at Strode’s College in Egham. I hope to read Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge or Exeter.
I applied for the placement because I wanted to see if I would enjoy a career in science. Another reason is that it is a great experience that will help strengthen my UCAS application.
My placement was to do assessing the biodiversity of different school grounds. I carried out different surveying techniques such as setting up traps and counting and identifying different species. I then looked at the bird and tree data in more detail to see if there was any correlation between the two.
The experience was very enjoyable and helped me to see what it would be like working as a research scientist. It helped me to develop skills in communication and team work, both of which are important in employment.
Friday, 11 November 2016
My name is Sukant Roy, and I go to the Royal Grammar School, Guildford. I am just about to begin year 13 and will be studying Further maths, Physics and Chemistry as my A level subjects. I want to study Computer science at University level.
One reason why I applied for a placement is that I wanted to gain understanding and experience of how it feels to carry out academic research in an institute (being supervised by an expert): I kind of got an experience of how a PhD works, and what the environment he/she works in is like. I also have an interest in semiconductor devices and the physics behind them, and I thought a project in these would be very informative and fulfil my interest, at the same time provoking a greater passion for physics. The things I learnt definitely were not of A level standard: they were more first and second Year Undergraduate level.
My project was on modelling different semiconductor devices through simulations and explaining how they work. The devices were diodes, MOSFET’s AND BJT’s. I benefitted hugely from the placement not only because I learnt concepts in programming and Electronics (semiconductors) but also because I developed key skills such as communication, time management, decision-making and data analysis. I got first-hand experience of the workplace environment. This experience was highly rewarding and enriching.
Thursday, 10 November 2016
SATRO CASE STUDY
I currently study biology, chemistry, maths with mechanics and physics at Esher College. My particular interests are biology and chemistry, especially where they overlap in terms of genetics and chemical processes in the body. I then found that biochemistry was perfect for me, and I intend to study this at university. Post-university I would like to do a PhD or perhaps complete a master’s degree, in order to start out in a career in scientific research and truly gain a deep understanding in a focused area of biochemistry.
I applied for a SATRO placement in order to gain some experience of what it takes to have career in research, and to make sure that it is the path I really want to go down. I think that a month spent in the company of published researchers and doctors is invaluable, and I was especially excited for the potential to help them with their own research during my time there. I was placed in the Cardiology department at St George’s hospital, working alongside the doctors who also do research for the hospital’s attached university. They specialise in sports cardiology; that is, the physiological adaptation of the heart in response to athletic training (‘athlete’s heart’), and whether these adaptations are beneficial or actually harmful to the athlete. Another prominent area of research here is the diagnostic overlap between athletic physiology and disease of the heart, and the detrimental effects of an incorrect diagnosis for an individual. In my time here I have looked into sudden death in athletes taking part in the London Marathon. I have explored whether it is caused by an underlying heart condition, and how that may be differentiated from athlete’s heart on diagnosis, or whether their death was caused by their environment on the day of their event.
I have found that in most cases, it is the former; either inherited conditions that have not presented any symptoms prior to sudden death, or an accumulated disease of the coronary arteries. It is often assumed that the extremely healthy and active lifestyle of an athlete must act as a preventative for heart disease, but this is not always the case. For example, anyone with an inherited predisposition is at risk; their chances can be improved by a healthy diet and exercise, but the risk does not go away.
However, heat stroke was the condition that recurrently affected the most people during the event and was even the cause of one of the fatalities. So I concluded that while underlying disease is most likely to cause sudden death in an athlete, the environment cannot be underestimated in its danger to even the most experienced of marathoners.
From this placement, I have learnt a great deal about working in a small research group. I frequently had to seek advice and help from the other students on this project, and I found that this aided me in working out what was important and what needed changing in my report. Additionally, none of us had much background in sports cardiology, so we initially had to work hard together to understand the subject. I have enjoyed the write up process, trying to adhere to a professional journal article style. I have also learnt that reading and analysis are essential to research and making a balanced conclusion, and that this process is not always easy or fast. However the doctors here have been really patient, taking time out of their days to help us understand what we were looking at and giving great suggestions for project perspectives and focuses.
- Sophie Russell
Name: Sharada Joshi
School: Tiffin girls’ school
Areas of study: Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths.
Future University, I am applying to: I am planning to apply to the following universities: Cambridge, Imperial and Bath.
Career hopes: Chemical Engineering.
Why I applied for the placement: To experience what experience what engineering would be like at university and to learn something new during my summer vacation!
My Project: My project investigated how inorganic and organic solar cells work and the potential advantages and disadvantages of organic solar cell usage in the future. The code which models the structure of an organic solar cell was also analysed and modified to optimise the I-V characteristics produced in order for the code to be used as an example on the Silvaco website.
How I benefited from the placement: This experience has taught me to prioritise tasks when planning and also to allow more time for unforeseen circumstances when making an initial plan for a project. I have also learnt that it is not always possible to learn all the theory before doing a practical task, as is often the case at school. However, it was an amazing experience to learn about so many new concepts that build upon the foundations laid at school in such a short amount of time!
Wednesday, 9 November 2016
My name is Ross Dobson, and I am studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Economics. I’ve been interested in science for as long as I can remember, and am planning to apply for an Astrophysics degree at university, as I am a fan of astronomy.
I applied for a placement because I wanted to experience working in science to help me see if it was the right career choice for me, and I also wanted to gain some useful transferrable skills – it was also something exciting to do in the summer, not to mention the fact it looks very good on university applications!
My placement involved simulating various types of transistors at the Advanced Technical Institute of the University of Surrey – this was so images could be created of different devices and characteristics, which could then be used in new lecture presentations, videos and materials to improve the quality of the undergraduate student’s learning in Electronic Engineering.
I benefited from the experience as I learnt a lot about working in teams, collaborating on and receiving feedback on ideas, working under deadlines, life in a work environment – and I also made some new friends!
It was a highly enjoyable experience, and I recommend anyone thinking of a STEM degree at university to apply for a placement.
I also benefited from a Bursary which provided me with funding to cover all my costs and travel expenses. Without this, I would not have been able to participate in the placement scheme so I am really grateful for my patrons’ support.
Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Name: Rhiannon Sidwell
School: Reigate College
Subjects studied at AS Level:
- · Biology
- · Chemistry
- · Maths
- · Classical Civilisations
- · Critical Thinking.
University plans: Biomedical science or cellular and molecular medicine.
Why I applied: I believed that this would be an invaluable experience for me to work in a real research environment and for me to undertake independent research to produce a written report. I wanted to learn more about the process of research and see whether I would consider it as a future career or not.
What I did:
- · Independent research
- · Observed clinic
- · Read many medical articles and reports
- · Wrote my own report
- · Spent lots of time referencing
- · Attended a presentation given by the fellows on their most difficult cases and how they overcame the problems to form a correct diagnosis.
- · Data based the ECG and echo-cardiogram findings of professional football players.
In writing my report, I learned the correct way to lay it out, what to include and how to reference it. I also now have a better idea of the steps undertaken to plan a study, and then break down all the information to find a common trend. It has helped me to make up my mind of whether or not I enjoy doing research and would consider it for a further career (I would!). During this month I have learned lots of new things, both academic and out in the world, from how to read an ECG, to how to get home when all the trains are cancelled!
Visit my blog!
Monday, 7 November 2016
It's Trustees' Week!
Trustees are the people in charge of a charity. They play a vital role, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about the charity’s work. For Trustees' week, we wanted to find out more about how our trustees' came across SATRO and why they decided to volunteer...see below for what they had to say!
Ian Revill - Ian is a Chartered Accountant and after training with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, spent 29 years with ICI in Executive finance roles, both in the UK and abroad. His roles there included that of Corporate Treasurer, the Global Finance Director of operating divisions and Group Vice President responsible for Finance Excellence. More recently (2007-09) he was the Finance Director of a UK Government owned company, the Forensic Science Service, where he had Board responsibility for a wide range of corporate support services.
Since retirement, Ian has become an active volunteer on a number of SATRO's school programmes and is also a Non-Executive Director of a large Foundation Trust Hospital.
Janet Preston - Janet is Managing Director of Cold Fuzion, her own independent business consultancy. Janet is widely recognised by her clients for sound intellectual ability, structured well-planned approaches, attention to detail and, equally importantly, for her good humour and skills in selling her ideas. In her spare time, Janet has created a broad portfolio of voluntary activities and is Education Liaison Officer for the Institute of Directors in Surrey, a Trustee of SATRO, a member of the Surrey Board of Young Enterprise, one of the UK's largest business education charities aimed at helping young people learn about the world of work with an overriding philosophy of 'learning by doing', Chairman of the Surrey Organising Committee for TeenTech - an organisation aimed at inspiring 12 and 13 year olds to consider STEM careers.
How did you first come across SATRO and why did you decide to become a volunteer?
I: One of the reasons I retired from work when I did was because that virtually, all my energy had been concentrated on my family, my work and walking through airports! It was time to get to know my own community.
Retirement for me did not signify the end of something, but the start of something new... I only have forward gears.
I came across the SATRO name first of all through the Guildford Volunteers website and followed up with a visit to the SATRO offices, unsure what I might be able to contribute. Quickly, this visit turned into volunteering for Business Games and Mentoring and not long after being 'collared' to be Trustee.
While not being a scientist, I had always worked in science based companies and was always on the front row in any R&D presentation. I've also always been passionate about trying to support people who are trying to realise their potential. I wasn't aware that organisations like SATRO existed but I was delighted that they did so and offering to help seemed to be a perfect fit for me and I don't regret a minute of it!
J: I first encountered SATRO in my role as Education Ambassador for the Surrey branch of the Institute of Directors. I was looking for organisations that linked the business world with schools with the aim of showcasing a portfolio of volunteering opportunities for our members. I met up with Beccy Bowden and the team and found a wealth of varied activities that I've been promoting to IoD members (and anyone else who is interested) ever since.
I decided to volunteer for various reasons really - (1) I am at the stage of my career where I want to give something back and now have the time to spare to do this and (2) I wanted to better understand the programmes and activities SATRO offers so that I can speak from first-hand experience when talking to others about what SATRO does and (3) I got hooked on the great programmes and I love to see the energy and appreciation for the students participating. I would have loved to have done something along these lines when I was still at school.
What has surprised you about being a Trustee?
I: In the last 6 years, it's not so much as what surprised me but what knocked my socks off. Frankly, I've been amazed at the time, effort and even money that so many people have been willing to give in support of SATRO whether it be donors, volunteers or staff...even more importantly, I've seen plenty of occasions that with support and encouragement, the young can do amazing things.
J: How very sensible and sensitive everyone is to the fact that we are spending donations from private individuals and companies who want us to do the right thing with their money and their time.
Have you learnt anything from the volunteering you have done with SATRO?
I: Simple answer...boodles...about myself, about the work we do and the people who commit themselves to making it happen.
It has also confirmed to met yet again that organisations (and people for that matter) cannot stand still, have a divine right to continue existing or become self-serving. They cannot sit on their laurels while the world around them is changing rapidly; they must earn their reputation to adapt and remain relevant to their stakeholders. I've been proud to have worked with a CEO and fellow trustees who have always been willing to embrace change and challenge and not to behave 'preciously' in the process.
J: I've made numerous new contacts through the networking that takes place among the volunteers at SATRO events. I've learnt how hard teachers work to put on these events for their students or bring them to events. I thought that it was mainly financial constraints that stopped schools from attending events but have learnt that in many cases, it's actually not having sufficient staffing resources in schools that stops them.
Friday, 4 November 2016
I applied for the placement as I felt it would help me prepare for university; focusing on a bigger project, planning, collecting data and then writing up my findings. On top of this, I was excited to get really immersed into a scientific sector and broaden my knowledge. I felt that having the opportunity to experience a specific area would help me decide on the right university course. Plus I believed it would help me to decide what direction in science I would like to go into and the type of course I wanted to study at university. Finally, the thought that I will be contributing to current research was very appealing.
My placement “monitoring biodiversity in school grounds” was focused on practical ecology and the aim was to collect data on schools’ biodiversity. We spent 4 weeks visiting schools for 2 - 3 days per site to collect as much data as possible on their biodiversity. This involved the use of: pit falls (dry and wet), Longworth traps, wildlife cameras, pond dipping (if applicable), butterfly transects, sweep nets, moth traps and also plant, pollinator and bird surveys. During the placement I had to do extra research in order to identify plants, find Latin names and look up which group to put certain insects in, for example Diptera is how I would group true flies.
Changing my views on what course I wanted to enrol on is the biggest benefit from this placement, before I wanted a course that was very much focused on lab work and now I’m much more open to applying for a course with both lab work and field work. I also felt the placement allowed me to think independently in order to overcome problems we faced, a skill that will be very useful at university which requires you to be very independent. Moreover the placement helped me to expand my knowledge in an area I knew very little about and has made me more aware of the nature around me and how we are impacting it, for example a school with a very strict grounds management had fewer insects than another school that had wildflowers and an area left untouched.
Thursday, 3 November 2016
I am Patrick Harwood. I am currently studying Mathematics, Further Maths Physics and Chemistry A levels at More House School sixth form in Farnham. I have been at More House School since I was eleven. It is an all-boys school that specialises in teaching bright students with learning disabilities. It was established in 1939 and at one point it was a circus. Now it is an ever expanding School with incredibly dedicated teachers and outstanding facilities.
I chose these A level subjects because I enjoy calculation, solving problems and intricate logic of how things work on a fundamental level. I thought these subjects would pair well together and play to my strengths and interests and my dyslexia does not hinder me as much in these subjects.
I am definitely planning on going to university and I hope to study maths. I want to do a more applied course involving Operational research and statistics. Given this I like the prospect of a sandwich course giving me the opportunity to apply my mathematical knowledge. I haven’t decided on any universities yet but I do have a few in mind.
Why I applied for the placement
It seemed like a great opportunity to see what it would be like at university and to get a better idea of what kind university I would want to go to and to see what the people there would be like. I was also interested in the prospect of working under a scientific professional, researching interesting science and learning new skills. I believe this placement has capitalised these aims.
The placement was titled “Innovative learning resources for Undergraduate Electrical and Electronic Engineering modules” I like to call it “Electronics labs ‘How to guides’”. This project was about creating how to videos for lab equipment and processes such as:
- · How to labs (a guide to lab rules and etiquette)
- · Digital Multi Meter (DMM)
- · Cathode Ray Oscilloscopes (CRO) + Digital Oscilloscopes
- · Log book
- · Soldering
- · Breadboard
- · “Veroboard”/Stripboard
- · Operational Amplifier (Op-Amp)
- · Toolkits
- · Prep (tips and guides for pre lab work)
- · Power supply
- · Debugging
For the research, Abigail and I looked at how-to videos of these topics on YouTube, to both learn the topic and learn tips and tricks for our videos. Such as how to demonstrate certain things eloquently, what details to focus on and what didn’t make sense in some videos. We also put focus on common misconceptions so we could address them in our videos. Abigail and I split the topics between us and researched them independently. We decided on this strategy because it seemed the most time effective. We saved links to the more useful videos we found. These are included in the full report. Some of these were difficult to research in this way so Dr Sporea instructed us on the equipment himself.
For each topic the person who researched it would be the one who wrote the script for its video, as they would have the better understanding of the subject matter. After we got all the necessary information we scripted the voice overs and wrote down what images or videos we wanted with them. In some cases we wrote the voice over to explain a demonstration we would film. We did it like this because we recorded sound and video separately to improve sound quality. Once we drafted a script it would be sent around to certain members of the faculty who would comment and add information. After a script was finalised we would start filming and taking photos of relevant objects and actions. To ensure quality Dr Sporea did most of the filming and photography as he had the most experience. We constructed setups and acted out demonstrations for the videos. During this process Abigail and I would go to the sound recording studio to record the narration for the videos. We were writing the scripts for other videos whenever we weren’t filming or recording.
After all the filming and recording was done Abigail and I started producing the videos with “Final Cut Pro V 7.0” software. We distributed the videos between each other based on which videos we researched and scripted, working on them separately. Progress was slow at first because not only was the software new to use, but neither of us were familiar with macs. (Which were the computers we had to work on in the editing rooms).
The first stage for producing each video was to layout the audio and remove any mistakes or errors in the recordings. The next stage is to over lay the relevant images and videos to the relevant narration. After this stage was broadly done, we would show our videos to Dr Sporea and he would give us a list of improvements and adjustments. After the improvements were made we would show the video again. This back and forth continued until the video was completed to a high standard.
After the body of the video was finalised we would overlay the Surrey University logo in the top right hand corner of the video and add the intro and outro music and transitions, along with the title card and end credits. For the music we used royalty free music and asked how the composer would like to be credited. The music was “Therfield Theme” by James Richardson. I will leave a link for his website at the end of the document. The logos were from the Surrey asset Bank website link at the end.
On the final week of our project we presented a couple of our videos to members of the faculty and the remaining placement students. The audiences ranged from Electronics physicists to marketing. Afterwards we got very positive feedback from everyone. We got commended on our videos by a student administrator who had qualifications in video editing. She was very impressed we were using “Final cut pro V 7.0” as she felt it was quite out dated and difficult to use.
Dr Sporea thought that these videos would be useful for teaching undergraduates these skills and techniques in a more visual way. Another useful feature of these videos was that they could be used out of class to better utilise the student’s time with their professors. Abigail’s and my lack of knowledge on these subjects gave us a useful perspective on how the information in the videos should be expressed in order to be understood by a person with no knowledge of the subject matter.
My benefit from the placement
During the placement I learned about all the subjects in the videos in depth. From the functions and controls of cathode ray and digital oscilloscopes, to the proper debugging procedure of simple and complex circuits. I found these technical subjects very interesting and videos such as Log book and Prep have very broad useful information. I learned more useful technical language.
I also learned a variety of useful scripting, filming and editing skills, which have given me a new and greater appreciation for videos and films.
I met many new and interesting people during the placement, including other students in different placements. It was great discussing each other’s placements and I learned a lot of new and interesting things, such as how solar panels work. I got to see one of the students’ printing ink circuits onto laser cut templates.
This was a great experience working on a large project to deadline. I feel like this has changed my attitude toward working.
Overall I really enjoyed working on the videos, working with Abigail and Dr Sporea and I am proud of the videos I made.
I also received a bursary to fund all my costs and travel expenses which meant a great deal to me and my family.
Surrey University asset bank
Wednesday, 2 November 2016
STEMalive! Spotlight On Our Speaking Stars
As STEMalive! at TeenTech on 16 November is only a few weeks away, we thought we’d share some insights into our super speaking stars. We can’t wait to hear the cool science-related career stories Judith, Neil and Sasha will be sharing with our fantastic sixth form audience.
Judith Gregory | GSK
Judith started her career with an education/industry mix at P&G where she obtained a degree in chemistry whilst working in an analytical department. During her 23-year career with P&G she worked across many categories including Health Care, Oral Care, Beauty Care and Prestige; finally specialising in fragrance analysis. Her close collaboration with perfumers included highlights like recreating the smell of cricket and the scent of the Hugo Boss racing yacht.
In 2013 she joined GSK in the Consumer Healthcare Skin Health group where she is an R&D project lead using her knowledge to transfer new initiatives from R&D into manufacturing. As part of the Royal Society of Chemistry and GSK’s Africa partnership Judith is one of the four-person team who run workshops in Africa with the aim of training over 400 scientists in analytical techniques.
Judith has a passion for inspiring the next generation of scientists and is very active in GSK’s Science Education program where she is involved with the GSK Germ Challenge, Big Bang, SATRO and TeenTech.
Neil Phillipson | Outsideology
Graduating from Kent University in 2000 with a Master’s Degree in Physics with Space Science and Systems, Neil had already founded his first “serious” company – an IT consultancy based around high-end database-driven websites. Stemming from an early project for Railtrack (the predecessor to Network Rail), he specialised in database-driven process management systems for businesses in highly regulated sectors including finance, pharmaceuticals and even exam boards.
In 2008 he founded what became the UK’s fastest-growing astronomy retailer, and from this he created a number of further spin-off businesses including a specialist builder of astronomical observatories, a sport-optics business and a touring theatre company.
Today, his main role is as technical founder of Europe’s first purpose-designed astronomy village, a development of 50 observatory-houses with cutting-edge environmental credentials in the Bulgarian mountains. Neil is an engaging speaker on astronomy and space travel; he lives in Surrey with his wife and two children.
Sasha Dodsworth | The Ecology Consultancy
Following completion of her MSc in Wildlife Management and Conservation at the University of Reading, Sasha joined The Ecology Consultancy. She has extensive experience in surveying, developing and implementing mitigation measures for a range of protected species. These include reptiles, great crested newts, badgers, bats and riparian mammals. She also holds a Natural England survey licence for great crested newts.
Her expertise in protected species and 9 years in consultancy have seen her lead several high-profile projects, including winning an award for ecology work on Crossrail. A holder of a Personal Track Safety Card, allowing her to work on or near a railway line, means she has undertaken numerous rail line ecological surveys across the country.
Sasha also gets involved with habitat surveys and Code of Sustainable Homes assessments. She has produced many applications for European Protected Species Licences and the ecological management plans required for planning.
She cares very much about standards in her industry and is a champion for developing upcoming talent.
Tuesday, 1 November 2016
Gearing up with TeenTech in a couple of weeks. See the following blog which explains what one of our Exhibitors BCS Berkshire does!
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, is committed to making IT good for society. We use the power of our network to bring about positive, tangible change. We champion the global IT profession and the interests of individuals, engaged in that profession, for the benefit of all.
Exchanging IT expertise and knowledge
The Institute fosters links between experts from industry, academia and business to promote new thinking, education and knowledge sharing.
Through continuing professional development and a series of respected IT qualifications, the Institute seeks to promote professional practice tuned to the demands of business. It provides practical support and information services to its members and volunteer communities around the world.
Setting standards and frameworks
The Institute collaborates with government, industry and relevant bodies to establish good working practices, codes of conduct, skills frameworks and common standards. It also offers a range of consultancy services to employers to help them adopt best practice.
Monday, 31 October 2016
My name is Olivia Jackson and I go to Woking College. For my AS I took Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, though I am dropping Biology this year. After A-level I would like to do a degree in Physics and/or Chemistry and go on to do a PhD. If I am not sick of universities after that I hope to continue doing research and teaching lectures.
I applied for a SATRO research placement as I wanted to do something over the summer that helped me become a better scientist (and also got me out of bed). As well as this, an extra benefit of the SATRO research placement is that it also looks great on applications for university and can help prepare you for undergraduate learning.
I worked with the Advanced Technology Institute at Surrey University and Altro, a flooring and wall company, to develop a method in order to print electronics onto flexible floor and wall tiles for future developments in sensing for hospitals and homes. The issue with printing using traditional methods such as inkjet printing with rough substrates is that often the adhesion is very bad and the so the printed electrics aren’t reliable or long-lasting. For my project I printed with conductive ink using screen printing and then tested the conductivity of the prints before and after extreme stress testing. Because the method had not been explored much there were lots of problems initially such as how to make templates and clean the screens. However, after experimentation and some research these were overcome.
My research placement helped me to develop a lot of skills such as report writing, analysis, and quick thinking. It was particularly useful for showing me what working in science is like on a day-to-day basis and how researchers often face unforeseen problems which they must overcome.
Friday, 28 October 2016
I currently study Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Physics with the hope to study Biomedical Science when I go to university. For a career, I would love to be involved in research especially either for drugs or genetics. I decided to apply for a placement with SATRO as it was not only a research focused assignment, it also gave me to opportunity to complete a CREST award with their support.
I was excited to find out that I had been selected and was told that my placement would be with the University of Surrey working with their Nutritional Sciences department. In the first week I was set preliminary research to familiarise myself with my project: the effect of weight on Vitamin D levels. As well as the research I was also helping my mentor with her work too which showed me how my research was relevant and how it was progressing in a real life context. My mentor gave me a data set that some student had collected so I picked out the variables I wanted and then produced graphs to analyse.
It was a great opportunity and something that I will definitely mention when applying to university. During the placement I had access to many resources such as their library, scientific journals and talking to scientists and PhD students. The experience benefitted me as I had real life application of the work that I do in school which will prepare me for the future.
- Jaimee Kerven
Thursday, 27 October 2016
My name is Grace Tribe and I study Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Art at The Tiffin Girls’ School. I am aiming to go to university to study Broad-based Engineering or Mechanical Engineering. I applied for a placement because I wanted to try to see the world of work and what an engineering job could involve.
My placement was at a company called KBC where I worked with the chemical engineers and focused on the distillation processes. I was asked to update their existing correlation which helps shows their clients how much energy their site consumes. This involved learning how to use their simulation software and upgrading the old models to the latest versions. I then compared the results and modified accordingly to match the results. A client of KBC asked if a synthetic crude could be applied to this correlation. My next task was to test this and come up with a presentation outlining the results.
I have benefited greatly from this experience because I had the opportunity to talk with both chemical and mechanical engineers at the company for an insight into their work. It was interesting to see how the team worked together as ideas bounced off each other and how they didn’t know what task they could be working on next. I think this is a great chance for any prospective scientists and engineers to get a taste of the workplace and the area of study which they are interested in.
Wednesday, 26 October 2016
My name is Dominic Birn-Pratt.
I am currently studying at Strode’s College in Egham, where I am taking A Levels in Further Maths, Chemistry and Physics. While I have no specific plans for a future career, I know I would like to continue working in and studying maths. I hope to go onto a good maths specialist university or a Russell Group university.
I applied for the placement because I wanted to gain experience with mathematical modelling and help me determine what kind of job I wish to do in the future. In addition, I applied in order to help widen my mathematical understanding. While I have previously taken in part in similar extra-curricular Maths events, I have had little practical experience of applying my mathematics skills and knowledge in a work context.
I spent my three week work placement with Jacobs Engineering, where I was tasked with developing a model to forecast the cost of maintenance of railway stations in Greater Manchester. I had to research various methods of simulating asset degradation, before deciding which best suited the available data. In the end, I succeeded in creating both a linear and an exponential degradation model, which could be transferred and applied to the various assets.
I feel this placement has not only helped me understand some of the more practical aspects of mathematics, but also it’s help me understand the importance of clear, high quality data. If you do not have the information needed, then you are very limited in the models available to you.