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help! astro/aero engineering and physics

(108 Posts)
Hullygully Wed 19-Jun-13 08:39:38

I am an airy fairy arts person with ds wanting to do physics and then aero/astro engineering.

Any advice on the best universities for this? England/abroad? Obviously we are looking ourselves, but all advice/thoughts very welcome.

somebloke123 Wed 26-Jun-13 11:18:58

Interesting link NewFairy thanks.

But what a depressing set of readers' comments! The consensus seems to be that engineering is just not valued in this country, compared with more enlightened places.

Typical comment:

"My advice to Engineering Undergraduates: Get your degree, get Chartered, get on a plane to Australia, NZ, Canada or the Middle East, leaving your student debt behind. There are far better lifestyles to be had outwith the UK."

As the parent of a current engineering undergraduate I find this very sad.

I like the French word for engineer: "ingénieur" - the ingenious one.

glaurung Wed 26-Jun-13 09:24:06

That sounds fantastic RBOTP, what is it she's doing?

RatherBeOnThePiste Wed 26-Jun-13 09:08:56

DD is being inspired this week, loving everything, space debris harpoon testing range yesterday, I have an image in my mind which is possibly way off reality grin She got a really close look at a satellite heading for mercury and one that aims to disprove dark matter. She is though now questioning giving up French as lots of the younger people there are European. Things to think on. Her mentor for the week is a French guy who did a physics degree at Imperial then specialised in astro physics later.

Commuting is bonkers, but so worth it.

Hullygully Tue 25-Jun-13 20:41:35

That's interesting bruffin, ds is really into photography (with great-grandfather's old cameras), and music composition on the computer and I think it's the combination of technology and creativity that appeals.

NewFairy Tue 25-Jun-13 19:32:32

Article here in the Telegraph about the lack of engineers in the UK, and the issue of giving the term engineer protected status.

bruffin Tue 25-Jun-13 18:27:56

I think a lot of engineers are very creative, just not in a flowery way (not sure if that is the best way to put it) FWIW DH and DS (and DD for that matter) are very good photographers and DS can produce to lovely posters on the pc etc, just wouldnt be able to draw or paint them. Its just a different type of creativity.

Owllady Tue 25-Jun-13 17:18:11

lol grin

have you never met an engineer? all they talk about is engineering!

I think though engineering (esp high level) is generally not given the recognition it deserves as people (in general) do not appreciate how much knowledge and skill these professionals posses. That's what i have found anyway. I once had some describe my dh as a manual worker and this person came to this conclusion because her dh worked in an office so wore a suit! err what?! It makes me feel really defensive

(and I am an arty farty textiles graduate so it's all over my head anyway, the code is a different language for example wink)

zamantha Tue 25-Jun-13 13:44:51

Whoops! should read : sounds strange smile

zamantha Tue 25-Jun-13 13:43:23

I feel chuffed my son wants to pursue Engineering - after hearing your work stories as he's very Mathsy but also loves building/designing things and being outdoors.

He thinks Engineering will be creative which to a Drama/English graduate sound strange! smile

I also like the team work aspects of the uni specs I read which I think is less relevant on a Maths degree course. My DS is very sociable

Thank you so much for all your posts - had no idea so many people actually liked/talked about Engineering - I come from and work in a different world! grin

2rebecca Mon 24-Jun-13 15:28:11

I went on a girls engineering course when I was 16 and it put me off. I think that was mainly because the engineering was divided into days for the different disciplines and that particulat uni just did specific disciplines from the start.
Had I realised some colleges start with a year or 2 of broad based engineering I might have been more interested as although I liked the concept of engineering I just didn't get excited by car engines, concrete or really complex circuits.

bruffin Mon 24-Jun-13 14:52:21

I noticed that the girls at the mechanical engineering open daSaturday urdayseemed to be doing the biomedical mechanical engineering.

Dd 15 seems to be swinging from wanting to be an SEN teacher and an astrophysics at the moment. But we will send her on the Inspire girls day when she is yr 11.

Owllady Mon 24-Jun-13 14:45:31

oh i was pulling your leg about the rude thing, i think i most probably came across as just as rude grin . I think that's the problem with things written down v's speaking and body language

I think it's great that there are more women going into engineering. Dh has a lady on his team who does the PCB layouts and designs and he never has a bad word to say about her, she is his reliable iykwim.

rubyanddiamond Mon 24-Jun-13 14:04:59

I realised after I posted that probably sounded ruder than I meant! I just think that sometimes the old-school view of hands-dirty engineering puts a lot of people (especially girls) off studying what is a really interesting subject that can open loads of doors smile

No oscilloscopes here, but I do a fair amount of computer programming in bed!

bruffin Mon 24-Jun-13 13:30:04

"am i the only person on this thread who has an oscilloscope in their hall."

Bet you havent gone to bed to find dh there playing with a circuit board wink

bruffin Mon 24-Jun-13 13:27:09

DH does get his hands dirty but done design and worked his way to management. As i said above he learned on the job, but would need a require a degree now for his professional membership.
DH was talking about the engineers that came in to do the same work as him. This was many years ago when he was in his first job which made clean rooms and the machines that made electronic chips.
He has managed to cross over to marine generators and electric systems for boats,and now works in the test rooms for the pharmaceutical.

Owllady Mon 24-Jun-13 13:26:19

am i the only person on this thread who has an oscilloscope in their hall...confused and a room full of binders. A room you do not want to enter without sunglasses because of the blue glare that shines through <sigh>

Owllady Mon 24-Jun-13 13:22:37

oh how rude wink my husband is a highly skilled design engineer and subject matter expert shock but yes, he likes to still 'get stuck in' and would be the first to admit that, he went into to it because he was good at maths/reasoning and was creative

rubyanddiamond Mon 24-Jun-13 12:50:00

I probably fall into the category of engineers who can't turn on an oscilloscope, but I probably earn more than many of those who can ;) I can use a soldering iron though. Agree with Anne about it being a really wide field - the practical, organisational and analytical skills you acquire doing Engineering (or Physics) really will stand you in good stead for almost any career.

I came across this article recently, it is about non-science careers for academic scientists, but I think many of the things it says and the jobs it suggests are great options for Engineers:

2rebecca Mon 24-Jun-13 12:37:03

I agree with Anne, not all engineers work on "the shop floor" and my son who wants to be a mechanical engineer doesn't want to be a mechanic.
Having said that many engineers start on getting your hands dirty work and progress to more legislative/ design/ management roles.
My son can use a soldering iron but would see chartered engineers as designing stuff for others to solder, not soldering it themselves.
If you have no interest in the getting your hands dirty/ building stuff aspect you're probably looking at the wrong job though.

AnneEyhtMeyer Mon 24-Jun-13 12:23:09

I think there may be some crossover here in people's perceptions of an engineer. It is quite a far-ranging term. My father and husband are both engineers - both studied physics at university but both in massively differing fields, neither needing to use a soldering iron.

The word engineer covers jobs from manual labour on the shop floor through to people who sit in offices never seeing a moving part.

Hullygully Mon 24-Jun-13 11:43:10

yes please owl

Owllady Mon 24-Jun-13 11:40:52

bruffin, my husband would completely agree with your grin he says they leave university not even able to use a soldering iron! He is an old school type engineer though (the best sort he would say...)

HullyGully, they are doing apprenticeships at my dh's place, would like me to PM you the name? I don't know where you live though confused

I think Bae do apprenticeships now though too

glaurung Mon 24-Jun-13 10:20:12

Nowadays bruffin, do you have a feel for what the differences in career opportunities are likely to be for someone entering engineering with a degree as opposed to someone going the apprenticeship route?

Hullygully Mon 24-Jun-13 09:22:54


bruffin Mon 24-Jun-13 09:02:49

From what i can gather NewFerry, industry is desperate for engineers, but what they need is engineers that don't just understand the theories but can jump right in at the deep end and understand the practicallities of the job.
My dh became a professional engineer the old fashioned way, through leaving school at 16 (being an august baby he was actually 15) and getting an apprenticeship. He said you could tell the engineers that went through the degree route, they could tell you how an oscilloscope worked, but wouldn't know how to turn it on.

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