Philosophers think, scientists theorise, engineers do. That is what my father has always said, and it’s easy to see his logic. As the architect behind some of Bristol’s boldest new buildings, he has certainly been a doer, and I am keen to follow in his footsteps, as well as those of that other famous Bristol engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Science, for me, has always been a practical thing, and I love it when the theory is demonstrated in practice. This can be the realisation of a mathematical model as a solid structure, or the predicted performance of an electric motor on the test track. For example, I don’t like the vagueness of sub-atomic physics, but I am amazed by the Large Hadron Collider and the sheer engineering genius and innovation that have gone into its creation.
Engineering brings together my passions for maths and science, in a practical and purposeful way that I believe can make a real contribution to both the environment in which we live and they way that we live in it. I have designed and built things from an early age, and have progressed from my Lego and Mechano toy, to having my own workshop in the garage where I can create mechanical and electrical projects of my own.
I have taken my passion into school by forming a team of lower sixth students to take part in this year’s Robot Wars. This involved us working together as a team, as well as dividing work and taking responsibility for our own aspects of the project. We also learned about the less glamorous aspects that are present in any engineering project, such as budgeting, deadlines and coping with setbacks and failure. Sadly, our robot was utterly defeated in the first round of the competition, but it was an exciting and educational experience to even get as far as that. I will be playing a mentor role to this year’s team, as unfortunately my studies will prevent me from playing a more hands on part.
My father has insisted that I see engineering from the bottom up, and so he has arranged labouring work for me on his building projects during school holidays ever since I turned 16 and was legally allowed on site. This has been hard, but it has also given me a real insight into the way structures are actually built, rather than just seeing how they are designed on paper.
I love great feats of engineering, and I get very frustrated when people walk around magnificent cities such as Bristol and London with their heads down or distracted by their mobile phones. Amazing architecture is a free art show for anyone to appreciate; all they have to do is look up and enjoy it. I feel the same when people get annoyed when their holiday plane takes off a few minutes late, completely missing the engineering wonder that allows them to fly at all.
I am applying for this course so that I can follow my passions and learn the skills and techniques that I need to become a true engineer like my father, like Brunel and like all the other engineers who have given Britain such a rich and proud heritage around the world.
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