Thursday, 23 June 2016

Engineering – something for everyone?

23rd June is National Women in Engineering Day - - a day dedicated to raising the profile and celebrating the achievements of women in engineering.

It is unbelievable that only 6% of engineering professionals in the UK are female – the lowest proportion in Europe.

So this blog celebrates Engineering for everyone, girls and boys, with some useful links if you are looking at a career in this exciting industry.

But if you are a girl dreaming of becoming an engineer – take a look at these inspiring websites!

Female engineers help set new Guinness World Record

The women who rebuilt Waterloo Bridge

The 3 things all female engineers really want you to know

Why I want to be an Engineer

Inspiring product designer gives TED talk

and lets not forget one of the very first female innovators in technological engineering, Ada Lovelace...

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Richard Feynman by guest blogger John Faulkner

Born in New York in 1918, Richard Feynman grew up to become one the great 20th century scientists. He shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for the theory of Quantum Electrodynamics (QED), the explanation of how light and matter interact. To simplify the physics and mathematics involved in QED he invented Feynman Diagrams - the visualisation of complex interactions.


To other scientists he was known as the Great Explainer, excelling as a communicator with his lectures, books and interviews. See the clip below:



In the clip he is saying that to be a scientist you need to:


- Be driven by your natural curiosity - follow wherever it takes you.


- Don't be afraid of the unknown or doubt - some of the great discoveries have been made this way.


- Approach problems in your own way - challenge orthodox thinking.


In one lecture he states a new law in science starts with a guess, then the consequences are computed and compared with experience or experiment...


"If it disagrees with experiment it's wrong. That simple statement is the key to science. It doesn't matter how beautiful your guess is, how smart you are, who made the guess or what his name is... if it disagrees with experiment it's wrong. That's all there is to it."


Here is part of that lecture (10 minutes):



As a practical joker he convinced Italians, where he lived, he was fluent and even made himself understood. He did not know a word - they thought he had an unusual dialect!  He questioned the value of awards and prizes and when pressured into accepting his Nobel Prize he later said "prizes bother me, I don't need prizes, I already have the prize, the pleasure of finding something out new to the world'.


Shortly before he died he was invited to join investigators on the 1986 NASA Challenger Shuttle disaster. Following launch on a very cold day, the main rocket exploded killing all 7 astronauts. At the opening press conference he famously conducted an impromptu experiment to suggest a cause. By placing O ring material, used to seal rocket segments, in a glass of ice water he showed it lost elasticity. This was correct and failure of this seal turned out to be the cause. He found NASA management believed their own unrealistic loss of 1 in 100,000 launches and not listening to engineering concerns. His appendix to the investigation report concludes:


'NASA owes it to the citizens from whom it asks for support to be frank, honest and informative, so that these citizens can make the wisest decisions for the use of the limited resources.


For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.


To find out more about Richard Feynman's life some of his books are:


Surely you're Joking Mr Feynman: Adventures of a Curious Character What do you care What Other People Think: Further Adventures of a Curious Character The Pleasure of Finding Things Out.

- John Faulkner

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

SATROclub Extended Research Placements

This Summer, a cohort of students from all around Surrey will be participating in SATROclub Extended Work Placements at various companies and Universities including, The University of Surrey, Royal Holloway University, St George's Hospital Cardiology Unit, Card Geotechnics Ltd, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, KBC Advanced Technology Engineering and Jacobs Engineering.

SATRO organises these STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) placements to give students aged 16+ a chance to undertake a real STEM research project by working in a research environment for four weeks, after which they are inspired to pursue further study, and employment, in STEM.

Students who have participated in previous years benefitted hugely from the programme,

"The extended work placement gave me a valuable insight into what research in a STEM subject might be like, which helped me in considering career choices and the possibility of post graduate study."

"This placement has helped me become better equipped for life at university, allowing me to gain a much great appreciation of life as a science undergraduate. It gave me the chance to develop not only my subject knowledge but also my practical skills, study skills, time management and organisation."

For monthly updates with more opportunities like this, subscribe to SATROclub by emailing  

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

What do Biologists actually do?

First of all, there's no such thing as a typical biologist, and you might be surprised at some of the careers you could choose with a biology qualification:

  • Biotechnologist
  • Biochemist
  • Plant scientist
  • Geneticists
  • Molecular biologist
  • Physiologist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Sports scientist
  • Conservation biologist
  • Neuroscientist
  • Microbiologist
  • Technician
  • Marine Biologist
  • Ecologist
  • Researcher
  • Teacher
  • Government science advisor
  • Journalist

Great websites: