Bloodhound Cancelled.

#61
@Draft Dodger your last paragraph is really interesting, particularly given that I have been out of UK engineering for 8 years. Mid noughties I got quite involved with IMechE, mentoring and doing professional reviews. TBH they had to attract the younger engineers because they weren’t viable without doing so. That’s also why they turned 1 Birdcage Walk into a high end conference centre for engineering business.

I think we’d be far better off if we had a proper licensiate system like the USA rather than leaving it to volunteer membership of charitable bodies overseen by a Quango.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#62
You are confusing engineering with STEM; some STEM subjects require little or no maths (eg chemistry or geography).
One of the key reasons for the STEM agenda was that kids were abandoning science far too early because they didn’t have the pure maths
Just noticed this. I'm not completely convinced. The maths requirement for chemistry isn't massive but it's non-trivial as soon as you get beyond A-level chemistry. The stats requirement would count out a decent chunk of the population. Ditto biology. I think most people would peg geography (minus the earth science bit) as a humanity rather than a STEM subject.

There's no way round the fact that most STEM subjects need people to be capable of handling bits of A-level maths and lots aren't. I say that as someone who studied a non-mathematical STEM subject and found myself at the very limit of my mathematical ability.
 
#63
@Draft Dodger your last paragraph is really interesting, particularly given that I have been out of UK engineering for 8 years. Mid noughties I got quite involved with IMechE, mentoring and doing professional reviews. TBH they had to attract the younger engineers because they weren’t viable without doing so. That’s also why they turned 1 Birdcage Walk into a high end conference centre for engineering business.

I think we’d be far better off if we had a proper licensiate system like the USA rather than leaving it to volunteer membership of charitable bodies overseen by a Quango.
If you don’t know already you might be interested to hear that the imeche will require all members with CEng to register CPD online. If you’re audited and have failed to do so (and fail to provide it as follow up to the audit) then you can lose your CEng. This might go on to help what I see as the CEngs credibility issue.

Long term it could also be used as proof of competence/a CV but we’ll see what happens with it. Other than being asked for a copy of my ceng cert I don’t think it’s something which is checked as a reference might be.
 
#64
Just noticed this. I'm not completely convinced. The maths requirement for chemistry isn't massive but it's non-trivial as soon as you get beyond A-level chemistry. The stats requirement would count out a decent chunk of the population. Ditto biology. I think most people would peg geography (minus the earth science bit) as a humanity rather than a STEM subject.

There's no way round the fact that most STEM subjects need people to be capable of handling bits of A-level maths and lots aren't. I say that as someone who studied a non-mathematical STEM subject and found myself at the very limit of my mathematical ability.
Being able to understand bits of A level maths and having achieving an A level in maths aren’t the same thing though.

You could say the same about the stats requirement in a business degree; the Financial Management module of my MBA filled many of my fellow students with fear because the maths requirement was heavy, but they all passed.

I know plenty of people who have gone through to get engineering masters who started with no A levels, let alone A level maths. Sure, they had to understand plenty of complex maths, but they did it in a focussed manner, just learning what they needed for each subject.

Maybe my view is influenced by my own experiences. I did my first degree at Kings College London where we were taught maths throughout by Felix Pirani. It’s probably not surprising that many of us “ran out” of maths, including my closest friend who failed his degree as a result.

Felix Pirani, mathematician - obituary

Overall, I think we need to make STEM as accessible as possible without compromising on the integrity of those disciplines that really do need deep maths knowledge. Maths has traditionally been a hurdle that excludes many who could otherwise have a great career in STEM.
 
#65
If you don’t know already you might be interested to hear that the imeche will require all members with CEng to register CPD online. If you’re audited and have failed to do so (and fail to provide it as follow up to the audit) then you can lose your CEng. This might go on to help what I see as the CEngs credibility issue.

Long term it could also be used as proof of competence/a CV but we’ll see what happens with it. Other than being asked for a copy of my ceng cert I don’t think it’s something which is checked as a reference might be.
On the other hand, it might further discourage people to accredit.

On balance I’d rather have the American system of compulsory PEng licensing to practice than the “she’ll be right mate” approach here in Aus.

I’m also in favour of mandatory CPD; it’s long overdue. I now don’t practice as an engineer and maintain my CEng as a retiree. There’s no way I’d go back into “proper” engineering as I’ve not done any relevant CPD for a decade.
 
#66
Being able to understand bits of A level maths and having achieving an A level in maths aren’t the same thing though.

You could say the same about the stats requirement in a business degree; the Financial Management module of my MBA filled many of my fellow students with fear because the maths requirement was heavy, but they all passed.

<snip>

Overall, I think we need to make STEM as accessible as possible without compromising on the integrity of those disciplines that really do need deep maths knowledge. Maths has traditionally been a hurdle that excludes many who could otherwise have a great career in STEM.
Sums up me to a T. I failed A level maths twice, passed third time (1987) at night classes during my 1 year work placement on BSc Computing degree. Cheated - maybe a bit, does a programmable Casio calc with 3"x2" LCD which drew graphs count?

My weakness is calculus, my brother - who passed A Level first time - can't do basic geometry when trying to plan/buy-for garden.

A Level maths requirement is as outdated as old Latin requirement.

Oh, passed MBA too, 4th out of 102.
 
#67
OT Sunday Humour

An asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. Only one man can save us. But wait, #MeToo

:)
 
#68
A Level maths requirement is as outdated as old Latin requirement.
I don’t think it’s completely outdated; there are some STEM subjects for which a very high level of maths is absolutely necessary, including many branches of engineering (and, self-evidently mathematics). There are others where the maths requirement is below A level.

I tend to look at maths as being a tool store. You can learn to use the tool when you need it, rather than having to learn to use every tool in the store.

In 30 years as an engineer I never used calculus.
 
#69
I don’t have an A level in Furhter Maths and I have an MEng and have been a Fellow if the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for 15 years. I “ran out” of maths in my second year at university of a very traditional degree course.

I don’t believe you need anywhere near the maths that you once did to follow an engineering career. The young engineers that I mentor have far less maths than my generation because they don’t need it. They are highly adept at selecting using the right software to solve complex engineering problems that we used to do by calculation. Many don’t have the basic first principles knowledge that we had.
I'd disagree to some extent Bob, the first principles stuff is still important.

It simply isn't good enough to push numbers through a black box without understanding what is going on inside, at least if you want to reach signatory level.
 
#70
I'd disagree to some extent Bob, the first principles stuff is still important.

It simply isn't good enough to push numbers through a black box without understanding what is going on inside, at least if you want to reach signatory level.
In no way am I suggesting we need to abandon first principles. But you don’t need to prove every algorithm in a structural analysis program from first principles to interpret and understand the results.

Much of engineering has always been about knowing and understanding the appropriate codes and how to apply them. A small percentage of engineers need to be able to develop and prove those codes.

We still produce engineers who have near zero understanding of the commercial world they will enter. And far too many who lack the leadership skill to enforce the codes.
 
#71
I don’t think it’s completely outdated; , including many branches of engineering (and, self-evidently mathematics). There are others where the maths requirement is below A level.

I tend to look at maths as being a tool store. You can learn to use the tool when you need it, rather than having to learn to use every tool in the store.

In 30 years as an engineer I never used calculus.
Yep, there are some STEM subjects for which a very high level of maths is absolutely necessary. However, the propensity for Unis etc to stipulate it is required for all excludes many for no vailid reason other than superiority/snobbery as with Latin in the past.

I was fortunate to find a Uni where BSc Computing did not require A Level Maths. Lack of it didn't hinder me and I passed with Distinction (top 10%).

Your tool-box analogy is good and I've added to mine when necessary.

.
Now, way OT.

I've searched and found nothing.

Is this being discussed in a thread?
Has the mystery of 'Britain's Roswell' finally been solved? | Daily Mail Online
 

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
#72
Maths has traditionally been a hurdle that excludes many who could otherwise have a great career in STEM.
Sorry, but this is ludicrous. If the subject needs Maths, and fluid mechanics and the like get into second order differential equations (which is further maths land) then the students need to have the A levels. Otherwise you end up with two tier degree in the same course - one stream fro those who can do the math (and therefore understand the theories, implications and can find new solutions) and the others who learn the monkey see, monkey do way.

I would go further and say that if it does not have a heavy maths requirement it's not really STEM. E.g. your example of Geography.

Of course the government wants more engineers, which it calls STEM to make it all inclusive as maths take up by girls / women is low. And Unis want government money so are happy to call anything STEM.

Any other approach will lead to lots of magic box engineering, where people trust the software and don't properly understand the limitations. (This is partly what caused the 2008 crash; I read somewhere that a Goldman Sachs partner said the problem was that they had two days of 26 sigma events. A 26 sigma event happens once per life of the universe. It wasn't two bad days, it was a fecked model).

Ignorance is bliss, until it causes disaster. Avoiding ignorance in a technological world involves hard work - and most can't do it.
 
#73
Sorry, but this is ludicrous. If the subject needs Maths, and fluid mechanics and the like get into second order differential equations (which is further maths land) then the students need to have the A levels
Point being many/most don't. All they need is good Arithmetic with maybe some rudimentary Algebra & Geometry, not Maths.

Maths is much too frequently specified when Arithmetic is the requirement.
 
#74
Sorry, but this is ludicrous. If the subject needs Maths, and fluid mechanics and the like get into second order differential equations (which is further maths land) then the students need to have the A levels. Otherwise you end up with two tier degree in the same course - one stream fro those who can do the math (and therefore understand the theories, implications and can find new solutions) and the others who learn the monkey see, monkey do way.

I would go further and say that if it does not have a heavy maths requirement it's not really STEM. E.g. your example of Geography.

Of course the government wants more engineers, which it calls STEM to make it all inclusive as maths take up by girls / women is low. And Unis want government money so are happy to call anything STEM.

Any other approach will lead to lots of magic box engineering, where people trust the software and don't properly understand the limitations. (This is partly what caused the 2008 crash; I read somewhere that a Goldman Sachs partner said the problem was that they had two days of 26 sigma events. A 26 sigma event happens once per life of the universe. It wasn't two bad days, it was a fecked model).

Ignorance is bliss, until it causes disaster. Avoiding ignorance in a technological world involves hard work - and most can't do it.
Perhaps you should research the list of STEM subjects. Getting a definitive list of STEM subjects is a bit like nailing blancmange but JACS3 as published by UCAS is the one that Government uses. You’ll find lots of subjects that don’t involve maths at all, including physical subjects such as geography and natural sciences like biology. As you say, ignorance is bliss.

We already have a lot of plenty of
magic box engineering going on and have had for a very long time. Technician engineers have been able to size a beam without being able to understand the maths behind the British Standard for over a century. Before magic box, we had magic book.

I’ve seen several engineers charter via the experiential route who could never pass A level maths. And I’ve seen mature students get MEng degrees without A level maths. They’re still engineers.
 

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
#75
We already have a lot of plenty of
magic box engineering going on and have had for a very long time. Technician engineers have been able to size a beam without being able to understand the maths behind the British Standard for over a century. Before magic box, we had magic book.
Quite possibly. But as part of my training as engineer I learned the maths behind magic book, so it wasn't magic (but it was a bloody well informed aide memoir / time saver).

And yes, it may well be the case that 95% of the time magic book is enough. But there will always be cases where it isn't.

IF answer is in magic box /book then why bother with the degree. The whole point of being an engineer is that they can (or should be able) produce new stuff that works. Which is effectively writing the next chapter of magic book/box. Which requires original thought and maths.

Take in part your point on what government / UCAS considers STEM. But don't accept that definition is correct. Applied biology is now very mathematical and computery (simulation cheaper than experimentation) and therefore mathsy. Physics (now, I understand, more od a requirement for med school than biology, is hugely maths based.
 
#76
I’d suggest that the point of doing an engineering degree is to be part of the 5% who need to understand what is behind the magic box. Or to design the magic box itself.

But I’d rather have a project team of highly proficient and productive magic box operators who can deliver my project in time, cost and quality than empty seats because they’ve been excluded for lack of maths.

Which is really what the STEM agenda was about; to encourage kids to go in to science, technology, engineering and maths careers rather than doing useless arts subjects. It’s isnt and never has been about producing graduate engineers.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#77
Physics (now, I understand, more od a requirement for med school than biology,
It's a very minor point but this isn't quite true. Chemistry is the essential course for med school, although almost all applicants have Biology and most have either Physics or Maths.

Slightly more on topic, medical courses have a pretty heavy maths element that's above GCSE level. It's not impossible but it is a challenge for some. It's pretty hard to escape doing a certain amount of maths if you go into any STEM career field.
 
#78
It's a very minor point but this isn't quite true. Chemistry is the essential course for med school, although almost all applicants have Biology and most have either Physics or Maths.

Slightly more on topic, medical courses have a pretty heavy maths element that's above GCSE level. It's not impossible but it is a challenge for some. It's pretty hard to escape doing a certain amount of maths if you go into any STEM career field.
There's tonnes of mechanical design engineers who hardly ever have to deal with maths.

The job primarily being proficient in CAD and the practical aspects of manufacturing and assembly of systems and components in the most concise terms.
 
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#79
As an example, using the aluminium Bloodhound wheel that has to sustain 50k g's at peak velocity, (~500000 ms^-2). 1g = 10ms^-2

The mechanical design engineer will be working in concert with the structural, aerodynamic engineers and other disciplines to design the wheel.

They will be responsible for 3D modelling, producing signed off drawings and producing instructions for manufacture. In the case of these high spec bespoke wheels, they will also be working with manufacturing and peripherally materials engineers to identify a suitable alloy and manufacturing process.

The sizing of the wheel would be dictated by space constraints in the wheel arch and of course structural strength driven by the extreme centripetal forces, vibration and frictional thermal loads. The aero chaps will have their say too in the shaping of the wheel too. I'd imagine that that a dynamics bod needs to be involved to design for resonance avoidance and other effects of this nature.

They'll also be interfacing with design teams for the wider assembly, axle, hub etc

None of this requires a design engineer to have a high level of mathematical proficiency.

What they do need is attention to detail, a high level of CAD skills an understanding of manufacturing process and the ability to work competing design drivers into the physical design of the wheel. Additionally being well organised and able to project manage is key.

Caveat, ive not worked on bloodhound beyond the concept phase way back over a decade ago, so a lot of the above is guesswork wrt to the design drivers.

I am however trying to give an idea of what a mechanical design engineer might be involved with and why they don't need to be a maths wizz.
 
#80
It's pretty hard to escape doing a certain amount of maths if you go into any STEM career field.
Maths or Arithmetic?

I failed A level Maths.

I started on BSc Applied Physics & Electronics; at end of year one moved to year two of BSc Computing and Graduated.
 

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