Fayes Week 1

Day 1: Beamish

To begin with we went down to the pit village to look at the mill and machines that were used to get coal and miners in and out of the pits. We were then given a talk about the lamps that miners had to carry with them while down the mines and how they had become compulsory to carry by 1896. The lamps, we were told, burned oil and at the top of the lamp was a wired mesh that allowed air to pass through and let combustion occur however, the holes in the mesh were too fine for the flame to pass through and therefore stop it from igniting anything outside of the lamp.
From our tour around Beamish I became much more aware of how quickly we advanced over 100 years and how we have 100 years since the Industrial Revolution. Not only that but I also learned that technology that we expected to advance didn’t, an example of this being that many thought in the 1930’s that the future would be steam, which evidently didn’t happen. From this I have realised that it is impossible to predict ‘what’s next’ in terms of engineering and development.

Days 2-4: Nissan Factory

We spent all of the first day at Nissans training centre, trying to get the hang of their software to develop our own cars for the F1 challenge. For most of the morning we spent the time looking at the 20m track that we would be running our own cars down and going through booklets that guided us through how to use the software ‘Autodesk’. Once we had cracked how to use the software and were confident enough we were put into teams of three and allowed to design our own cars.
The next day we continued with our designs and tried to get it to a point of being ready to be cut and have the wings and wheels 3D printed. In the afternoon we were taken on a tour of the Nissan factory, showing us the assembly line, which surprised me at how quickly the car was painted, assembled and tested and how this was managed to such a high standard. I was also surprised at the size of the Nissan factory and how there were separate buildings for different stages of assembling the car, for me this showed how much money is actually invested into engineering in Britain.
For our final day at Nissan we completed our designs of our cars and got them cut our and wheels 3D printed, it took the whole morning to cut out the cars, paint them (highlight them with highlighters) and attach the wheels. When we finally got it all done we raced our cars down the track, unfortunately none of our cars met the 55g minimum weight so all took under 1 second to get to the end. Even though ‘Sexypink’ was the slowest car (by 0.1 seconds) it was the heaviest (by 20g) and so clearly the best car out of the three:)

Day 5: Think Physics Lab

For our final day of week one, we were based in the Think Physics lab at Northumbria University. For the majority of the day we were introduced to our project that would run over the next two weeks and allowed to start it and begin to gather information about Nepal and the earthquake that happened earlier this year. At the end of the day we were allowed to prepare a presentation of what information we had collected and present to the other two groups. The main areas my group looked at was how earthquakes are formed, some general information on Nepal and the impacts that the earthquake had on Nepal as it is a LEDC.



Sophie – Week 1 of the Reece Summer School

 July 13th, Day 1: The Beamish Museum.

On Monday the group met in the Ellison Building in Northumbria University, before taking the bus to the Beamish Museum in Gateshead. When we arrived we met Simon and Holly, who are heads of learning at the museum. Simon explained how in the early 1900s, the area around Newcastle and Gateshead was a leading area for engineering, in particular in rail and steam trains. We learnt also how the area was a leading producer and exporter of coal, with up to around 150,000 miners employed in county Durham around 1920. It was interesting to learn how vital engineering had been to the region in the fairly recent past!
We visited the Colliery area first, and were told how a boiler was used to produce steam, which powered an engine that was used to move miners between the surface and underground. Steam power had replaced horses for this job, and meant that it became a cheaper and more efficient process, because instead of using space and labour caring for the horses, you could now have a machine to do the work of 2, 3, or 4 horses. It showed how engineering can improve processes, and lives. On the other hand, we also talked to a man who used to work in mines, and had seen the mines gradually be shut. He said that it was his heritage being destroyed; this made us think of how progress can leave people behind, and gave us an insight into how the pace of change is ever increasing. How will engineering have changed the world when we are older?
After visiting the Colliery, we went to the regional resource centre, where Simon gave a presentation on the history of rail in the area. He also showed us how engineers improved the safety of mines by improving the design of lamps used by the miners; underground, a lot of methane would build up, and since the Lamps were originally open flames, the flammable gas would lead to explosions. To prevent this, engineer Sir Humphry Davy developed the Davy Lamp, which had a gauze shell, which would draw the heat away from the flame, meaning the flame could not propagate out of the lamp. It was interesting to see this application of theory into an object which could help people in their everyday lives.

July 14th, Day 2: Nissan.
We visited the Gateshead Skills Academy on Tuesday, to have a 3 day introduction to the F1 challenge, in which you design and make a small car and race it against other cars. We learnt how to use the design programme “Autodesk Inventor”, and made the wheels and body of a car. This programme could be used to produce something that could be cut out, or even 3D printed.
In the afternoon we split into teams and started to design our car models, which we would actually build and race. The programme was quite easy to get used to and it was interesting to think about how it could be used to design things we could print in our homes, with the prospect of households owning 3D printers becoming a reality.

July 15th, Day 3: Nissan.
Today we finished working on our designs for our cars, and began making them. The main bodies of the car was made out of wood, and was carved out by a machine which used the design from Autodesk Inventor. The wheels and additional nose cones or fins were to be made by a 3D printer.
In the afternoon we went on a tour of the Nissan factory, which is across the road from the Gateshead Skills Academy. The factory is huge, and it was surprising to think I hadn’t known it was there. It is the only manufacturer of Nissan cars in the UK, and employees about 7,000 people, and produced around 500,000 cars in 2014.
We went around the assembly line of Nissan and saw how they used machines to put together all the parts of the car. It was interesting to see how these machines were making all the processes easier and more efficient, and it called back to what we had learnt in Beamish about steam power replacing horses. The whole workshop was very busy, but there were surprisingly few women, which highlighted to us the need to encourage more women into engineering!

July 16th, Day 4: Nissan.
This was the final day in Nissan, and we finished cutting out and printing all the parts of our cars. Once they were all put together and decorated, we put them on the track. A CO2 canister was put in the back to fire them down the track. Below is a picture of our team’s design, and videos of the cars going down the track. It was great to see something we’d designed and built working!



July 17th, Day 5: Nepal Research.

On Friday we started our research into the recent Nepal Earthquake. Over the remaining two weeks we are going to be researching this area and eventually producing a presentation on the disaster, and on what engineers could do to prevent another incident like this happening in the future. We ended the day by presenting what we had learnt so far in our research to the rest of the group. Below is a link to the powerpoint my group produced.


All in all it was a very interesting week, which gave us a great introduction to the possibilities of engineering in the north east.

Naz – Weeeeeeeeek número uno

To start the week we went back to the 20th century to explore everyday life in the North East of England at the climax of industrialisation. We looked around what would have been the mines 100 years ago and explored what technologies they would have used at them times to go about daily life at work, and at home.

IMG_1051         IMG_1064

This gave us an idea of how dramatic technology had advanced in the last 102 years, particularly in the North East and how industry has changed with time. It made us think how our future may look like in 100 years and what technology advancements there will be.


For the next 3 days of the week we were at Nissan where we took part in the F1 challenge. On Tuesday we were introduced to a CAD software called Inventor, where we were taught step by step how to create a race car with bespoke wheels.

On Wednesday we spent the day advancing our designs and perfecting the measurements. In the afternoon we were taken on a tour around Nissan. By seeing cars starting from an empty shell to fully kitted out cars that were drivable was incredible. In comparison to our trip to Beamish on Monday, we could see first hand how technology has advanced massively in the last 102 years.


By the end of Thursday we had a fully made race car (designed on Inventor & cut by the laser cutter) that we could test and race against other teams’ cars.

IMG_1210         IMG_1213    IMG_1208


On Friday we were back at the ThinkPhysics office for our first briefing of our task which had been set to us earlier on in the week with our teams. We were asked to present a short 10 minute presentation at the end of the day to show our initial findings, and to show what we had found about the earthquake crisis which happened in Nepal earlier this year.


Eleanor – Week One

On the very first day we went to Beamish Museum to explore just how much engineering has changed in the past century. How quickly engineering has changed since the early 1900’s really stood out to me. Back then nearly everything was steam powered and now less than 100 years later we’ve got 3D printers and are travelling in to space – it’s pretty amazing really. One interesting part of the day was learning how difficult it was to transport coal after it had been mined and how much simple physics can actually be applied to it. We did this by building a very small replica of the actual system and to think how much heavier and dangerous the real process would have been is surprising as I didn’t imagine they would have done it in this way.

For the next three days we visited Nissan in Washington to take part in the Formula 1 challenge. We started by looking at previous successful F1 designs to think about which ones would be the fastest and the most aerodynamic. In the morning we also started to learn how to make a basic car body and wheels on Autodesk Inventor. We were then split in to three teams and designed our own unique (none of which matched the required racing specifications), but Phil was definitely the best car. On day 3 at Nissan we laser cut the car bodies and 3D printed the wheels etc. and then raced them down the 20m track. For me the tour around the Nissan factory floor was the most interesting part of our time there because you don’t usually get to see the production line and just to learn that the one factory we visited makes 1500 cars a day with only an allotted 59 seconds for each job was interesting.

On Friday we split up in to groups of 3 again to start our research in to the recent earthquake in Nepal before presenting our findings to the rest of the groups at the end of the day. I liked these presentations as it was a good way to share information and benefit each group’s final research poster. We also got a tour from two current engineering students at Northumbria of the Physics and Engineering department to see all the facilities available to students in all years at Northumbria Uni.


Working on the inclined plane challenge, Beamish.

Tegan – Week 1

We started off the week at Beamish. It was really interesting to find out what engineering was like in 1913 and amazing to see the dramatic development in technology and engineering from then till now. For example the development from using candle-lit lanterns in the mines, to now, where we use electronic lights and even solar power. It was exiting seeing the massive machine which took people down to the mine in action. Later on, we had a chance to work in teams to work out how to piece together a miniature version of this machine, which was pretty fun as we were left to work it out for ourselves without any instructions.





On the second day we went to Nissan in Sunderland. We were introduced to the Formula 1 Challenge with a demonstration of a race. The tiny cars were so quick they could reach the end of the 20m track in just over one second, which I’m sure took everyone by surprise. Later on we had a go on Inventor – a programme which lets you design things. We copied instructions to make parts of a car, which taught us the basics of the software. Then we were put into groups to design our own car, which we would race on the track later in the week. It was a different experience as I’ve never really had a go on any programmes like that before. Not forgetting that it was incredibly frustrating and fiddly at times, especially when we had to redo the same part four times and our screen kept going green!

On the third day we made our finishing touches and finally finished designing the car. We named it the Sharkcar – because it had a shark-like fin on top of it, (even though it ended up looking more like a gay-pride car because of it colourful stripes, than a shark!). After lunch we went on a tour of the Nissan shop floor. At first I was shocked at the vastness of the room and the efficiency of the production line. It was incredible that it took the guys only 2seconds to install the dashboard into the car. We found out the benefits of using robots for certain parts of the car and people for others and the crazy amount of money Nissan would lose for each minute the production line was stopped.

There's absolutely no connection between the car's decoration and the following weekend being Newcastle Pride March. Obviously.

The fourth day was our last day at Nissan. I found it really exciting learning how to use the 3D printers and the 3D router and then having a go at printing out our car and its wheels. It seemed unbelievable that you could produce real wheels by simply pressing buttons on a computer screen! After competitively testing our reaction times to the point of exhaustion, and putting the final details to our cars, we got to the racing part. The Sharkcar was the fastest car, with a time better that the world record… (ignoring the fact that it was less than half the weight of the minimum weight requirement), followed by the other two groups heavier cars.

On the fifth day, we started on our Academic research back at ThinkPhysics, on the recent earthquake in Nepal. We worked in groups of three and each collected information on different areas, for a presentation we had to do at the end of the day. It was interesting to find out about the road and building structure of Nepal and how it maximised the damage of the earthquake. Then the group went on a short tour of the facilities at Northumbria University, before starting to produce our presentations. Our group decided to our presentation in the form of a video of a fake news report, which involved spinning on chairs and hilarious interviews.

Week One – Melinda

Visiting Beamish on Monday was a great way of getting to know each other and seeing how much engineering and innovation have advanced in 100 years.

It was also fascinating to learn about the ways in which advances in engineering are influenced and driven by the needs of industry and society. This made me think about what we can expect or begin to see in the coming 100 years. I also started thinking about what factors affect our ability to develop new technologies and to what degree do each of these factors control the timescale in which these technologies can be developed, distributed and advanced. The highlight of my day was definitely visiting the sweet shop!

The second to fourth days of the week were spent at Nissan, taking part in the Formula One challenge. For this, we were required to design, make and race small race cars. My favourite part of the challenge was working as part of a team and using physics principles to design the fastest car. We also modelling software, used by engineers, to design the cars and machinery such as 3D printers to make components of our cars. When on a tour around the Nissan factory, I was able to see commercial engineering in action. All of the processes were ran with great efficiency which made for an almost seamless production line.

The last day of the week was spent doing some initial research into  our final project and presenting what we’d found to the rest of the group. This helped us develop our communication and teamwork skills further.

Overall, the first week was fantastic and I definitely look forward to see what is in store for the following weeks.

Week one- Beth

On Monday we visited Beamish, this was surprisingly very interesting as you could clearly see how much technology has changed over the past 100 years. Some of the changes were very significant; this made me think what could engineering and technology be like in the next 100 years? We also did one team based activity during our day at Beamish; this involved using problem-solving skills to assemble a track. It involved a lot of communication between everyone within your team, so it helped us all to communicate and interact with each other. After this we were given a short presentation on the history of beamish, and we were shown two experiments one of them involving a small explosion. The other one was where pollen was carefully poured down a tube onto a naked flame causing the flames to go straight up the tube; these small experiments were both fun and interesting to watch. Later on in the day after lunch, we were allowed to go and explore the rest of Beamish on our own before we went back to the university.

Day two, three and four was spent in Sunderland at the Nissan factory. We went there to do a ‘formula one challenge’, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect before I went, but those three days we spent at Nissan were great. When we first arrived we raced some model formula one cars on the track, which tested your reaction time as you had to press the button at a very specific time. After this, we went into one of the classrooms and worked in pairs on a laptop. We used the Autodesk inventor software to learn how to do the basics such as designing the wheels and the body of a formula one model car; I found this extremely interesting, After we learnt the basics of the software we were split into three groups and we had to design our own car with the hope of being the winner! I personally found the software to be very frustrating at times; little mistakes in your design could mean that you would have to start all over again. For example, our group got to the end of our design but we realised that the body of the car was completely misaligned and we couldn’t correct it and so had to start again. However, when we finally got a finished design we all felt a sense of achievement and I learnt quite a lot in a very short space of time.

On day two at Nissan we got a tour of the factory, I only saw a very small part of the factory as I had to leave early on that day but even just the small amount I seen was really quite amazing – the factory was absolutely huge and very busy.
On the final day at Nissan we got our car designs cut out via a machine, and we got to see 3-D printing in action, as mostly everyone’s wheels were 3-D printed. We also coloured in our cars with highlighters as there was not enough time to spray print them and leave them to dry. We coloured our model in pink and gave it the fabulous name ‘sexy pink’, we then raced our cars on the track which was really fun. Ours was unfortunately the slowest, however it was the heaviest and we felt as though we had accomplished something as it was quite fast for a heavy car model. We ended up changing the wheels to ones with bearings in them which were much smaller and lighter, our car was significantly faster with this small change and we were rather pleased. This concluded our time at Nissan, and I actually really enjoyed being there.
The final day of the week, Friday, we spent at the university doing research on the Nepal earthquake which occurred in April 2015. I liked doing the research and writing it all up, and I found it very interesting and it also enabled me to build upon my current knowledge and understanding of earthquakes and the science behind them. Towards the end of the day we were asked to do a presentation on what we had learned through our research, our group decided to record a video based upon a news report. We included interviews of each of our group members in the news report so that we could all share what we had learned (it was very fun to make and did include a lot of giggling but we got there eventually). After everyone had done their presentations, it was time to go home.

Overall, I really enjoyed my first week at the Summer school and I have learnt loads more than what I initially expected to. I am looking forward to seeing what new things I will learn and experience in week two!

Day 5: Nissan

Barely 48 hours after being introduced to F1 in Schools, and the track is cleared for your own creations to be raced. I’ve a few video clips to pull together, but in the meantime here are the stills:

Reece 2015

Excited to be part of the first Reece Summer School with Think Physics!

F1 in Schools launches

Early on the first day at Nissan, we tried our hands at launching F1 in Schools cars. They’re a bit on the quick side – this is what they look like at a quarter speed.