Tomorrow's Engineers Week

09 November 2015

Interview with

Hugh Hunt, The University of Cambridge

Tomorrow's Engineers Week aims to get young people to consider engineering as Engineering drawinga future career. Cambridge University engineer Hugh Hunt explained the importance of such campaigns to Kat Arney..

Hugh - Last week was Tomorrow's Engineers Week and I think it's really important to recognise that if you're doing maths or physics or science at GCSC at school, you could carry on with your maths and physics and maybe go on to study engineering and become an engineer. Because I don't think there is a very strong link at school with the idea that engineering needs maths. So last week there was lots and lots going on in schools and outside of schools to try and show how engineers out there in the real world use what they learned at school. It was just fabulous to see just how much excitement and interest there is in engineering.

Kat - When we think about maths, there is this kind of almost this joke that you learn about this stuff at school and then you never use it in the rest of your life. What kind of jobs come under the banner of engineering because I think people think maybe it's just someone building a bridge or digging a tunnel?

Hugh - I think it's a very interesting thing to think about. The Philae lander that landed on the comet recently and thpses remarkable photos that came back from Pluto. I think it's estimated that 90 per cent of the people that worked on those projects were engineers and a lot of that engineering isn't the engineering of the lander itself or of the devices that are going to space. But all of the ground engineering, how do you receive the signals, how do you analyse, how do you process them. And I think every object that you see in your room, if you look around, there's a chair, there's a light bulb, there's paint on the wall, there's carpet. It's an engineering marvel that all of these things are there.

Kat - And I know certainly from the campaign for women in science engineering, trying to get more girls to go into engineering as well.

Hugh - And it's interesting that in some countries like France, engineering is perhaps about 50/50 men and women. There's absolutely nothing at all that says that engineering should be a male domain.

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