Engineering Celebration at the Royal Institution

Year 9 Student Gemma Hutchinson writes about her experience of Masterclasses run by the prestigious Royal Institution.

Every year the Royal Institution runs a series of Masterclasses to encourage young people to learn about engineering.  During the spring term an engineering Masterclass was held at Warwick University, on Saturday mornings which gave the people attending a chance to do practical and fun engineering.

Andrew Smyth give a lecture at the RIEach week, a different topic of engineering was focused on.  In the final week of the course, we were given a tour of the driverless car facility in the WMG building at the university, as well as a talk by Professor Paul Jennings.  We were also presented with certificates by Margaret J Low, who ran each of the sessions.

At the end of the Engineering and Computer Science Masterclasses, everyone who had attended was invited to the Royal Institution of Great Britain in London for a Celebration Day, consisting of two presentations, physics experiments, building and computer activities.

After registering, we were invited to look around the Michael Faraday museum before attending a talk led by Dr Sarah Wiseman about ‘Humans as Computers and Computers as Humans’.  The talk focussed on machine learning and how artificial intelligence is incorporated into our daily lives now and in the future.  Then a scientist from the Royal Institution showed us how energy is all around us.  They did some experiments to show how easy it is to harness the energy to make it useful. After lunch, we did a group activity where we had to make the longest and strongest bridge we could out of rolled up newspaper and cable ties.

Gemma at one of the masterclassesLater, there was an encryption activity and we were set a task of decoding an encrypted message. To conclude the day, Great British Bake Off finalist and Rolls Royce Aero engines engineer Andrew Smyth did a talk about ‘Baked Bridges and Sugar Satellites’.  He used caramel and honeycomb to explain the similarities between baking and engineering which he described as ‘bakeneering’.

This has been a really exciting course, I have learned lots from it and have made friends.  We all thoroughly enjoyed the Masterclasses run by the Royal Institution.