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Department of Engineering

Ross Henrywood is Undergraduate Visionary 2013

Ross Henrywood is Undergraduate Visionary 2013

Ross Henrywood (right) receiving his award from IMechE President Patrick Kniveton.

PhD student Ross Henrywood has won the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Undergraduate Visionary Award.

More needs to be done through outreach, education and publicity to raise the profile of engineers and encourage the next generation to consider engineering as a career.

Ross Henrywood

PhD student Ross Henrywood has won the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) Undergraduate Visionary Award.

A former Cambridge undergraduate, Ross is continuing his research within the Department of Engineering and is currently working with Dr Anurag Agarwal, Lecturer in Aeroacoustics, on a Dyson-funded PhD.

The IMechE Vision Awards are made annually to showcase inspirational young engineers who are inspiring change and driving innovation forward.

Speaking about the winners, IMechE President Patrick Kniveton said: “They possess talent, leadership skills, motivation and a desire to improve their own lives and the lives of those around them.  By sharing their stories with wider society, we can celebrate the engineers who are shaping our lives today, raise the profile of this great profession and attract the inspirational young talent who will be the owners of its future.”

After receiving his award, Ross said: “Being nominated for the Undergraduate Visionary Award was most unexpected and being selected to receive it is a real honour.

“It is fantastic that IMechE is able to support and encourage young people training to become engineers, be it at university or though apprenticeships. Through my work with outreach, I hope to encourage more people to consider engineering and publicise its virtues to a wider audience.”

Ross was excited by steam engines before he even went to pre-school, and that interest and desire to be involved with railways and engineering has stayed with him. During his degree he spent time in a heritage engineering workshop repairing and maintaining steam engines, and, in stark contrast, then worked in a modern CNC machine shop, where jobs could be completed in a fraction of the time. Leading on from his fourth year project, he is now in the second year of his PhD studying rectangular jet noise, in collaboration with Dyson Ltd, to make machines and engines quieter.  His fourth year project - The Aeroacoustics Of A Steam Kettle – recently received national media coverage as he and Anurag unpicked the science behind whistling kettles.

He is passionate about the vital role that engineers play in modern society, and believes that: “more needs to be done through outreach, education and publicity to raise the profile of engineers and encourage the next generation to consider engineering as a career.”

Ross has been involved in setting up the Cambridge Science Centre where young people can learn about engineering through practical, hands-on activities. As a volunteer he has designed and set up science and engineering exhibits, and in some cases redesigned them in the light of how the public actually uses them. All useful experience as he designs and builds experiments for his PhD. He has also been involved in the Department of Engineering Outreach Programme visiting schools and hosting groups in Cambridge for practical engineering workshops, which are designed to foster interest and enthusiasm for engineering.

Looking forward, Ross reflects on the future of transport, where internal combustion engines will be increasingly replaced by more efficient electric engines. He predicts that the next major step will be automated, driverless cars, which will allow car sharing. No longer will vehicles be sitting idle for most of the time while people are at home or work, they will be shared and fully utilised at all times. The engineering challenges to achieve this are already being considered and pondered by our visionary engineers. For further information on IMechE scholarships and awards visit their website.