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Motivation of Becoming an Engineer

Since early 17th century, Gailieo Galilee initiated the modern era of mechanics ("Chapter
1 The History and Limitations of Classical Mechanics", n.d.). In his Mechanics, he used
mathematics to describe the motion of objects and he introduced the concept of forces. Several
decades later, Isaac Newton, formulated the laws of motion using calculus and universal
gravitation. These laws and principles are examples of classical mechanics("Chapter 1 The
History and Limitations of Classical Mechanics", n.d.). They describe how things work out on
the Earth on a macroscopic aspect.
Classical mechanics have tons of engineering applications in real life. For example, it
explains how a truss bridge supports loads, how the concrete pillars hold up the roof, how the
rotation of the motor drives the engine, how the materials deform under pressure of forces etc.
However, as scientists back in days tried to explain the behaviours of light, Newtonian
mechanics failed address that.
Scientists began to develop a new aspect of physics, quantum mechanics from late 19th
century. Starting from Max Planck, who suggested radiation is quantized, followed by Albert
Einstein, who introduced relativity, scientists dug into the microscopic aspect of nature
("Quantum Theory Timeline", 2017). They discovered subatomic particles, realized radioactive
decaying, and by understanding the complex behaviours of those microscopic particles, they
realized that the universe is made of few basic building blocks with four fundamental forces,
which is known as The Standard Model ("The Standard Model | CERN", 2017). These findings
allow scientists to model macroscopic concepts in a different way, which leads to a bunch of
ideas or theories like Schrdinger's cat, parallel universe etc.
Unlike classical mechanics, which has a lot of practical engineering applications,
quantum mechanics have fewer applications. Even though the models or theories for quantum
mechanics are not quite complete yet, the development of engineering application of quantum
mechanics lags the depth and speed of development of science. The potential to apply those
newly discovered ideas into technological innovations is huge. I believe engineering is the bridge
connecting science and technologies. Engineers apply academic knowledges and turn science
into something useful in real life. I love mathematics, science, and I would love to work on
meaningful projects and make the world a better place. I want to get involved in the innovation
and thats what motivates me to join engineering faculty and become a student engineer.
As a student engineer, it is important to identify engineering opportunities. These
opportunities could be as small as noticing the performance of chalkboard eraser is poor, or to as
big as upgrading the current switching systems to remote systems, or even developing and
commercializing quantum sensor for climatic monitoring. The following is a list of several
observations I made during the first year of university that could potentially be framed into
engineering opportunities and solved by engineers. The solutions I wrote out might not be good
or feasible. They are simply my initial brainstorms about the problems and possible aspects to
address the problems (referred to as Divergence in the design process).
1. The shadow on the lower blackboard in the lecture hall of Bahen Centre
Due to the angle of the light source, the upper blackboard always casts a shadow to
the lower blackboard, as the figure shows.

The text in the shadows is really difficult to read for the students if sitting behind the
5th or 6th row. I think this problem might be solved by introducing an additional light
source below the shades. As a choice, we can have a marker on the blackboard that
tells the professors to write below the shadowed area.
2. The recycling bin is always overfilled
The recycling bins on campus are always overfilled because of several reasons such
as students dont bother to breakdown the large cardboard boxes. It might be solved
by redesigning recycling bins that help users to break large pieces of cardboard down,
or at least having signs around that remind students to tear those large boxes down.
3. Some desks in the tutorial rooms wobbles
Right now, this problem is solved by stuffing tissue papers under one or more table
legs. I think it can be solved by switching off to desks with adjustable table legs when
upgrading the appliance of the classrooms. These types of desks are already available
in market so it would be a selection-based engineering design.
As a student engineer, it is essential to identify engineering opportunities. Even though
the opportunities Ive identified are simple and does not required much innovation to make
changes, I believe these experiences helped me to develop me skills required for engineering
design. Overall, I love math, science and application of those. I am enthusiastic to bring changes
to the world. I want to participate in the innovation process that makes the world a better place.
References
Chapter 1 The History and Limitations of Classical Mechanics. http://web.mit.edu/. Retrieved 16
April 2017, from http://web.mit.edu/8.01t/www/materials/modules/chapter01.pdf

Quantum Theory Timeline. (2017). Particleadventure.org. Retrieved 16 April 2017, from


http://www.particleadventure.org/other/history/quantumt.html

The Standard Model | CERN. (2017). Home.cern. Retrieved 16 April 2017, from
https://home.cern/about/physics/standard-model