International Women in Engineering Day: University of Bristol female engineers to inspire women to pursue STEM subjects

A student in one of the labs of the Bristol Experimental Earth Studies Group (BEEST) which simulates conditions in the deep Earth

Female engineers from the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Engineering are on a mission to inspire women to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects this Friday [23 June] when 90 local secondary school girls, aged 11- to 15-years old, celebrate International Women in Engineering Day.

BRISTOL, 22-Jun-2017 — /EuropaWire/ — The day will start with a Blu-ray™ screening of the Oscar-nominated film, Hidden Figures which is launching on Blu-ray™ and DVD July 3rd, followed by interactive talks and demonstrations from some of the University’s leading female academics who will discuss how women engineers are shaping the future of space exploration.

Hidden Figures is the incredible untold story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), brilliant African-American women mathematicians and engineers working at NASA. They were as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the USA’s launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanised the world. A visionary trio who crossed all gender and race lines, to inspire future generations to dream big.

Following the screening the students will meet some of the University’s world-leading academics and hear about their work.  They will also have talks from current female engineering students.  It is hoped the day will inspire them to pursue their passion for STEM subjects.

Talks taking place during the day include:

  • Dr Valeska Ting from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a member of Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS), a newly created Specialist Research Institute (SRI), will talk about the development of advanced materials for use in space flight and exploration.
  •  Dr Kate Robson Brown will explain about her work in biomechanics, and three projects she is working on relating to human spaceflight, which are radiation effects on bone, microgravity effects on bone, and the development of a space suit to ease these effects.
  • Heather McDonald Tait will demonstrate Ultrahaptics, the new science that is changing the face of virtual reality by allowing users to feel virtual objects in mid-air.  The company was founded by Bristol postgraduate Tom Carter during his PhD in Computer Science.
  •  Dr Alicia Gonzalez-Buelga and Dr Irina Lazar from the Department of Mechanical Engineering will give an interactive demonstration on vibrations in structures.

Dr Lucy Berthoud,Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Chair of Space Universities Network (SUN), said: “International National Women in Engineering Day has been created to celebrate the achievements of women.  The day will give students an overview of what it might be like to work or study in science, technology, engineering and maths.

“Women are currently under-represented in these areas and we need to inspire girls to study STEM subjects and get them excited about what they can achieve in the future.”

Further information

About International Women in Engineering Day
International Women in Engineering Day takes place on 23 June annually. This day focuses attention on the amazing careers in engineering and technical roles for girls, and allows us to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding women engineers. The hashtag is #INWED17

About Hidden Figures
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment celebrates the incredible untold true story of three brilliant African-American women working at NASA, with the home entertainment release of Hidden Figures arriving on Digital Download 19 June 2017, and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™ and DVD on 3 July 2017.

Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. This stunning achievement restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race between Russia and the U.S.A., and galvanised the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

Directed by Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent), and written by Allison Schroeder (Pineapple Express), Hidden Figures was nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer at the 89th Academy Awards®.

About Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS)
Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS) is one of seven newly created Specialist Research Institutes (SRIs) designed to reflect Bristol’s strength and depth in key specialisms.  We lead the way in composites education and research, combining cutting edge fundamental science with strong industrial links for technology transfer.

Advanced composite materials are critical to reducing weight, energy consumption and COgeneration for transport applications. They also enable novel and multi-functional structural designs. They are formed by combining two or more materials to create an advanced material with significantly improved properties. Composites also enable novel and multi-functional structural designs.

As a global leader in composites research and application, the University of Bristol has the strength to make composites in the UK an exemplar of how research and industrial engagement should be done.

About Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL)
Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) is the most comprehensive academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK. It is a collaborative partnership between the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), and home to a vibrant community of over 200 academics, researchers and industry practitioners. Together, they are world leaders in current thinking on service robotics, intelligent autonomous systems and bio-engineering. An internationally recognised Centre of Excellence in Robotics, BRL’s state-of-the-art facilities cover an area of over 4,600 sq. metres (50,000 sq. feet).

SOURCE: University of Bristol

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