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What do Gollum, the new Olympic stadium that's being built in London and the quest for sustainable energy have in common? They all involve the work of engineers. Engineering provides some of the most exciting applications of maths there are, and they impact on all our lives every day. To highlight the importance and excitement of engineering, we are launching the Constructing our lives project, which will bring you articles and podcasts on engineering, directly from the engineers themselves.

As London is heading for the 2012 Olympics, it's not just athletes who are gearing up for action. Engineers, too, are working hard to produce the cutting-edge sporting equipment that guarantees record performances. If you're a tennis player, your most important piece of equipment is your racket. Over recent decades new materials have made tennis rackets ever bigger, lighter and more powerful. So what kind of science goes into designing new rackets?

Researchers have unveiled the first prototypes of robots that can develop emotions and express them too. If you treat these robots well, they'll form an attachment to you, looking for hugs when they feel sad and responding to reassuring strokes when they are distressed. But how do you get emotions into machines that only understand the language of maths?
In 1997 Andy Green was the first to break the sound barrier in his car Thrust SSC, which reached speeds of over 760mph. Now he and his team want to push things even further with a car called Bloodhound, designed to reach the dizzy heights of 1,000mph, about 1.3 times the speed of sound. Ben Evans explains how maths is used to build this car.
Andy Green, Royal Air force pilot and Oxford maths graduate, is gearing up to break his own land speed record in Bloodhound SSC, a supersonic car designed to reach speeds of up to 1000mph. He tells Plus about the challenges — and the maths — behind this engineering adventure.
Chuck Gill caught the space bug as a child when watching Alan Shepherd launch into space. Since then he's worked as a US Air Force navigator, a satellite operator, and in the US intelligence service. These days he's busy reducing carbon emissions and preparing London for the 2012 Olympics. Plus went to see him to find out more about his career.
Jet engines, aircraft carriers and telecommunications networks — these are just some of the things that Nira Chamberlain has modelled. And while he's figuring out defence logistics, he's also pursuing a pure mathematical interest in games. Find out what mathematical modelling can do and why it can also make you slim and fluent in French.
Adrian Bird, a performance engineer at Rolls Royce, tells Plus that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. You can follow your dreams to do maths and it can lead you to the skies.