What a Day! 4th School of Engineering Industry & Open Day 2016
Well what a day! We are delighted to report that the 4th School of Engineering Industry and Open Day, held on Friday 11th March 2016 in Devere Hall, UCC was another huge success. With over 320 captivated students from secondary schools across Munster, a brilliant display of Final Year Research Project posters, and a stellar lineup of speakers, we are looking forward to next year already.
Leonard Hobbs, Director Global Public Affairs for Intel Ireland told us the amazing story of the laying of the first Transatlantic telegraph cable, all the way from Valentia Island, Co Kerry (!) to Newfoundland in Canada in 1858 - before they even had cameras to record it. We live in a world of instant communication, so it is very hard to imagine a time when it took two weeks for a communication to get from New York to London - the time it took a ship to carry a letter across the Atlantic. Leonard then spoke about George Boole and how his use of mathematics heralded the dawn of the computer age. Great minds can yield amazing inventions.
Liz Dooley, Director Operations (Biologics) for Janssen then spoke about the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) in secondary schools and in fostering students knowledge of, and passion for Engineering. She gave examples of the process and biotechnology innovations being conducted in Janssen, spoke about the installation of a wind turbine to generate electricity for Janssen and DePuy in Cork Harbour, and the work of an engineer in the process industries. We also watched an interesting short video about the engineering projects that have been completed by J&J engineers - everything from process scale-up and process improvements, to a new car park.
Majella Henchion, Group Resourcing Lead, ESB spoke about her career in the ESB since her graduation, and how life as an engineer is never going to be boring! From the building of the first dam and hydroelectric power plant at Ardnacrusha on the River Shannon in 1922 (14 years before Hoover Dam) which first brought electricity to Ireland, to rural electrification between 1946 and 1979 which brought enormous socio-economic benefits to rural areas, the story of electricity and energy supply in Ireland is one of innovation and determination in the face of war and poverty.
Carl Devlin, Programme Director, Horizon Nuclear Power then rounded off the day with a talk on the challenges associated with designing and building a Nuclear Power Plant in a small coastal area of Wales, where even the task of providing roads for the employees to travel to and from work is going to take time, discussion and innovative ideas in order to find a workable solution. The word Carl used most in his speech was 'challenge', which gave the listening audience a really good idea of the work of an engineer - always striving to solve problems and overcome challenges. That's what engineers do best.
Thank you to all who contributed to making this a great event. Thank you so much to Judy Rea for acting as Session Chair and keeping everything on track. The speeches will be edited and made available as YouTube clips on our website in due course. Watch this space.