The Chancellor, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alison Richard, visited the Department on Thursday 12th February. The Chancellor started his visit at the 'Heat Lab' where he met Anthony Law, a fourth-year Aerospace and Aerothermal Engineering student and team manager of the Cambridge University Eco Racing team, along with other members of the team. The Chancellor viewed the eco racing car and was shown how the design and technologies have evolved.
Professor Simone Hochgreb then showed the Chancellor the Cambridge High Pressure Combustion Facility (CHPCF), a state of the art test unit for the study of combustion and instabilities. Simone demonstrated the type of testing that can be carried out in areas such as combustion phenomena and pollutant formation in gas turbines and car engines.
Professor Nick Collings showed the Chancellor his engine test cells and explained how these are used in his research on internal combustion engines in particular the measurement and control of pollution. Nick went on to demonstrate the gas engine in the student teaching lab.
The Chancellor's party accompanied by Professors Collings and Hochgreb, and Mr Law shared a buffet lunch with the following students:
Iain Waugh a fourth year student who is member of the Cambridge University Spaceflight team told the Chancellor about CU Spaceflight and their aim to launch a rocket into space for under £1,000. During various test flights to the edge of space a tiny camera, included as part of the payload, has been used to capture the dramatic curvature of the Earth. The CU Spaceflight team have also been involved with some exciting outreach work with schools in the community.
Sam Cocks a second year student spoke to the Chancellor about his three months working in Kenya where he developed a small-scale wind turbine capable of providing a practical solution for electrifying remote regions.
Barnaby Sleep a member of Full Blue Racing, a team who take part in the international 'Formula Student' competition. Barnaby explained that 'Formula Student' challenges teams of students to design and build a small formula-style race car, with the design brief that the car is a prototype for a 1000 unit-per-year production run for a vehicle intended for amateur autocross racers.
Alex Ridge, a second year student, is a member of the Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (CAUV) team. He spoke to the Chancellor about how the team design and build their own underwater robots and then perform realistic missions in the underwater environment at an annual European competition. This encourages young engineers and scientists to think about underwater technology and its future possibilities, as well as fostering ties between the students and the organisations involved in AUV technologies.
Helen Cavill spoke to the Chancellor about the excellent Engineering Outreach work that goes on here in the Department. Some activities are staged for schools and groups; others are open to the general public. Regular free events such as the Discover Engineering family workshops are so popular that they are booked up well in advance. The events are a great opportunity for local families to visit the Engineering Department, meet some real engineers and complete a fun hands-on challenge. Working with more than 120 undergraduate and graduate volunteers, Joy Warde the Outreach Officer stages a busy programme of activities at the Department of Engineering for children, families and young people. Each year these attract participation by around 2,000 people, many of whom come from a 20-mile radius of Cambridge.
Sakthy Selvakumaran from Cambridge University Engineers Without Borders (EWB) spoke about the work of EWB a student-led charity that focuses on removing barriers to development using engineering. The programmes provide opportunities for young engineers in the UK to learn about technology's role in development. By taking part in the activities, and with the support of the EWB-UK community, EWB members are making a difference to people's lives around the world. Sakthy herself is due to go to Peru to work on a micro hydro project.
Karen Ball, a fourth year student, spoke about her final year project which is in collaboration with McLaren Racing and concerns the dynamics of vehicles at their performance limit.
Warren Rieutort-Louis, a fourth year student, won the Engineering Subject Centre Student Award 2008 for his essay ‘What makes a good lecturer?’, in which he has analysed the great teaching he has experienced as an undergraduate here at the Department, which he shared with the Chancellor.
Helen Randell is studying engineering at Cambridge, where 27 per cent of the students on the engineering courses are female, well above the national percentage of female studentship. She picked the programme after attending Headstart, one of a number of education programmes run by the Engineering Development Trust. Headstart opened her eyes to the possibility that engineering could be a "legitimate career choice". Helen spoke to the Chancellor about providing support, inspiration and information to women working in science, engineering and technology.
The Chancellor's visit was a great success. He enjoyed meeting staff and students and to have a chance to see some of the great work that goes on here, and thanks to Jane Hunter's excellent planning of the visit a lot was packed in.