Fifty students got the opportunity to meet and interrogate thirteen professional engineers from across a wide range of engineering disciplines about their careers. The Speed Meet proved to be popular with lower sixth students in particular, with the event being over-subscribed soon after tickets were made available.

The Speed Meet opened with a short talk by Prof. Trevor Cox of Salford University, who introduced students to his two research specialisms: the acoustics of buildings and audio signal processing. While both areas are fascinating and diverse, Prof. Cox showed how these were small areas within acoustics, and acoustics is only a small discipline within engineering. Students then got to find this out for themselves over the next thirty five minutes as they spoke to engineers and applied physicists from across a range of disciplines, spending five minutes with each; from designers of precision mass spectrometers, satellite components and implantable medical devices, to civil engineers working to earthquake-proof power systems across the globe.

engineeringThe highlight of the students’ evening was handling a component recovered from the Hubble Space Telescope (left), a rare piece of space hardware that has been returned to Earth intact.

After each group had spoken to six engineers, the Speed Meet moved on to a buffet, where students and engineers mingled over the sandwiches and pizza to discuss in more detail possible career options and what degree paths they should be considering. The possibilities of RAF-sponsored degrees proved particularly popular with students.

Both engineers and students enjoyed the event; the engineers were impressed by the depth of students’ questions and students were surprised by the diversity of career paths open to them.