Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering

Aerospace

Young designer sees fighter jet technology bring trophy design to life

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 1 November 2017

A young student who designed a trophy that will be presented to some of the world’s leading engineers has been given a behind the scenes tour of BAE Systems’ advanced manufacturing site where the trophy will be made.

Samuel Bentley, 16, of Prestatyn, Wales, visited the New Product and Process Development Centre (NPPDC) at BAE Systems in Samlesbury, Lancashire, where the company is pioneering world-leading technology to revolutionise manufacturing of military aircraft.

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A trip to Mars, via Hawaii!

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 11 October 2017

Jetting off to Hawaii in the name of science certainly sounds appealing, but for one intrepid group, it wasn’t all beaches and barbecues. In January, six scientists and engineers traded their home comforts for a life on Mars. Or at least, the closest imitation of life on Mars without leaving the atmosphere.

The HI-SEAS project, or the ‘Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation’, is a geodesic dome perched on a Hawaiian volcano. Set on a lava field around 8000 feet above sea level, the remote habitat is surrounded by Mars-like geology. Stranding crews on the mountain, the NASA-funded project aims to find out what is needed to endure long-duration space missions, including the trip to Mars.

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What’s next in the world of engineering?

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 2 October 2017

Engineering is responsible for the pulleys, wheels and bows and arrows that carried us towards civilisation. It powered the SS Great Britain across the Atlantic and raised the Eiffel Tower. Without engineering, we wouldn’t have powerful computers tucked away in pockets or a direct line to outer space. Since its inception thousands of years ago, engineering has undoubtedly shaped our world. The question we’re addressing this month, however, is what happens next?

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Turning pee into plastic on long-haul space flights

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 8 September 2017

Astronauts on board the International Space Station are notoriously thrifty. With limited storage space, and a long trip home to pick up extra supplies, resources must be recycled many times.

A clever life support system controls the atmospheric pressure on board and provides clean water and fresh air to astronauts. Filtration systems convert waste water from showers, urine and even sweat into drinking water, while carbon dioxide scrubbers clean up the air for breathing. Some products, however, inevitably go to waste and are ejected into space.

On their much longer journeys, Mars-bound astronauts could see themselves recycling everything (and we mean everything!) to reach the red planet in one piece. Chemical engineer, Mark Blenner has been studying how the microbes that give us bread and beer can help them get there.

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Driving Curiosity with Autonomous Systems

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 9 August 2017

Director of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, Keshini Navaratnam, is joined by two leading roboticists to discuss how autonomous systems can inspire future generations.

Alongside being an electrical engineer, Dr Ayanna Howard is an educator, researcher and innovator. Her work focuses on how humans and autonomous systems can work together and the ethics behind doing so. This research has allowed Ayanna to make significant contributions to artificial intelligence, computer vision and robotics.

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Nigel Whitehead: Leading the way on engineering inclusion

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 22 June 2017

Nigel Whitehead is the Group Managing Director for Programmes and Support at BAE Systems, one of the world’s largest defence companies, developing the most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions on offer. The multinational organisation employs over 83,000 people in more than 40 countries and works alongside customers and local partners around the world.

We spoke to Nigel to hear his thoughts on the challenges of diversity in engineering and the role big businesses can play in bringing about change.

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Industrial Fellowships: collaboration at the cutting edge of engineering

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 31 May 2017

Working with other teams and individuals is one of the most vital aspects of engineering, allowing teams to achieve far more than they could ever do alone. Not only can projects be completed faster and cheaper when working together, but pooling and knowledge and expertise can act as a key driver for innovation.

At the Royal Academy of Engineering, an Industrial Fellowship scheme gives researchers the opportunity to do just that. Joining forces with industrial partners, academics from across the field of engineering can undertake their own collaborative research projects in an industrial environment.  

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Unlocking the secret to avian flight could inform engineering advances

  • Posted by QEPrize Admin
  • 27 April 2017

Hidden away in the Lentink lab at Stanford University, a dedicated team of engineers – and a parrotlet named Gary – have been uncovering the secrets of avian flight. With a brand new method to record how a bird’s wing changes shape in flight, the team hopes to better understand the forces that keep them in the air.

These forces are never more challenged than inside city limits. As space to grow outwards is limited, our cities grow ever taller, bringing with them a ‘skyscraper wind’ effect. When wind collides with the side of a tall building it is directed towards the ground, creating downdraughts and gusty conditions at street level. Clusters of skyscrapers add to the effect, squeezing wind through narrow corridors.

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