Engineering Education Scheme Launch

As the sun rose on  Thursday 11 October, a car of engineers-to-be needled through the early morning traffic. Jade, Wiestske, Amelia, Kitty and I arrived at the Engineering Education Scheme (EES) launch day hosted at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories (RAL) where we were soon met by our mentor, Bob, from ASF industries.

Already excited to begin the project, the team’s resolve was further strengthened on seeing some of our competitors. After lectures detailing the timeframe of the course and the benefits of the scheme, we were fortunate to go on a tour of some of the facilities in RAL. I was in awe of the complexity and sheer size of the particle accelerators, ISIS and Diamond, where neutrons, muons and x rays travel at almost the speed of light and interact with samples to reveal their properties. But the most fascinating place was the data collection centre, where all the scientific results from a multitude of labs around the country are stored, because I had never considered how large the support networks of researchers might be. After our short exploration of the complex, we settled down to talk about project management and then enjoyed a quick lunch.

The final, and most thrilling event of the launch day was the team building exercise in which we got to compete against the other schools for the first time. Our task was to build a balloon powered car and using the materials we could ‘buy’ with our budget we constructed our design. Despite two of our balloons popping we were able to make our way to the starting line. With bated breath, we watched as our car made it all of two inches forward, just short of surpassing the only other team whose car had actually moved. To conclude the day, we planned our next steps with our mentor and on the drive back to school looked forward to the future of our project.

Srija, LVI