Engineering student has what counts !

A Swansea University Engineering student, currently on work placement, has excelled in a competition to show how she used school maths in real-life problems at work.

Alice Hardy’s winning entry in the 2012 Further Mathematics Support Programme (FSMP) ‘Maths in Work’ competition explained how she had used Pythagorean Theorem to calculate the flight speed of a spray gun to ensure that the coating that it applied to a spiral-shaped bar, was evenly distributed.  

The competition challenges students on an Engineering, Design and Technology (EDT) Year in Industry placement to submit exemplars that illustrate how they used GCSE/A Level maths in their work. The winning exemplars are used by schools and colleges to help give insights to younger students and help them understand that the maths they are learning has important practical applications.

Alice is part-way through an Engineering degree at Swansea University and is spending a year-long placement with Praxair Surface Technologies Ltd in Swindon. Alice decided to study engineering as she always enjoyed maths and physics at school and engineering combined the two in a way that was practical, creative and benefitted society as well as being rewarding. She also liked art and chose product design engineering as it had a more creative side. Alice decided to study at Swansea University because it had the right combination of design and engineering whilst having a high reputation for its engineering department.

Alice chose the year in industry option because she felt that it provides practical knowledge and skills which would supplement her third year studies as well as providing an insight into the world of business and production.

Alice Hardy

Alice said:  “My placement has been invaluable in showing me how my studies can relate to the real world of engineering, and will greatly help me at university. Entering the Mathematics in Work competition was an opportunity to show how my maths studies in particular related to the work we do at Praxair; these seem so much more valuable when it can be applied to something real that is essential for the company to operate.”



Picture caption: Alice Hardy receiving her prize from MEI’s Programme Leader (Industry) Janice Richards, Daniel Lock (Alice’s Manager) and Chris Ward (EDT) also attended.  

Copies of the winning entries, together with several other highly commended entries, can be seen on the Real World Mathematics page of the FSMP website at: