Eleanor – Week Two

On Monday morning we took a trip to BEL Valves which is part of the British Engines group. They make valves for deep sea pipe lines to extract oil and for back-up pipes to stop oil flow in an emergency. The process we saw during our factory tour was much different to that at Nissan in that BEL Valves don’t mass produce; instead they make specific items for each client. I liked this as it showed that to work in a factory like this you aren’t constantly timed to do each little job and it doesn’t become repetitive. In the afternoon we continued our research back at the uni and focused on specific areas within that and started to think about our research posters.

On Tuesday morning we visited the Reece group in their factory in Newcastle. Here we were given a short presentation and a tour of the factory floor and got to see the processes within each of their departments from building each part to seeing the plans and testing copies that each client receives showing how their product was made. In the afternoon we carried on with our research of the Nepal earthquake within our groups.

During Wednesday we got a talk from a lecturer from Durham University and one from New Zealand who informed us more about the science of the Nepal earthquake, what could eventually happen at the collision zone where it took place, effects experienced at places struck by an earthquake of similar magnitude and how Nepal could rebuild itself. They also let us do some experiments to demonstrate what happened to cause the earthquake and how different materials and forces can affect the overall damage occurring. In the afternoon we got a talk from one of the lecturers at Northumbria University about how acoustic waves affect buildings during an earthquake and how we can overcome this problem.

A member of the Think Physics team gave us a talk about research posters on Thursday morning. She showed us examples from a range of subjects and then we discussed what a good scientific research poster should have (references, structure, graphs/results etc.). We then continued to do some more research and started to transfer this in to our own posters; after sketching some designs. In the afternoon we started to write a profile on ourselves for the Think Physics website which contained information about us, physics and the Reece summer school.

On Friday, other than furthering our research, we took part in a task exploring gender inequality within different subjects (not just girls in physics) and started to explore why this is a common thing to see and also what teenagers and adults thought about girls in physics and engineering in particular. We then looked at the roots of these thoughts and started looking at how girls and boys are very much separated at a young age. Then we were each given a bratz doll which we had to revamp into some sort of scientist by changing its appearance and clothes. We also identified skills that we have as individuals and ones that engineers have and wrote these on a tag attached to the doll.

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