Mechanical Engineering

Applied in: Winter 2013

University Offers: Cambridge Interview, Imperial College, UCL, Bath, Edinburgh

I have always wondered what the future would be like when I am older. As a child, I tried picturing the world without its most basic problems and spent time trying to solve them. I imagined systems of growing bollards when red light shows, to force cars to stop and reduce crashes. Growing up I enjoyed reading about authors' fictional societies such as Huxley's 'Brave New World'. His world relies on technological progress even though his humanity does not seem to have a conscience. History has also proved that engineers' creations have had major global impacts. I believe that building our future rests on scientific inventions. I recently read an article about the exploitation of nanotechnologies as early as in Roman times. The Lycurgus Cup is made of a glass impregnated with gold and silver particles. Because of a specific electromagnetic resonance, the glass colour changes according to the fluids it contains, permitting illness detection. The use of nanotechnology by the Romans shows its importance and how much more, potentially, lies ahead of us.

The subject of my Baccalaureate group project was invisibility. The latest cloak experiments also rest on one specific aspect of nanotechnologies: metamaterials. Invisibility is a broad research area that could have numerous applications from defence to new ways of protecting buildings from earthquakes, by directing the waves around them. This project could be seen as an extension of the work experience I did in 2012 at Queen Mary University with Dr. Khalid Rajab. There, I assisted PhD students, helping with experimental preparations and measurements. Precision was crucial as the experiments were used to design and improve an on-body antenna. This experience intensified my curiosity in Engineering throughout the various projects I could approach.

Last year, a PhD student from University of Kent came to my Maths class to explain us continuous fractions' theories and their use in modelling production. It reinforced my determination to take the Baccalaureate Option Further Mathematics this year. Also, I am eager to learn about the matrices in the coming months because it is a totally new notion that is used in Mechanical Engineering to calculate vectors and for stress analysis. Being the eldest and having two brothers, I enjoyed spending time repairing small trains or building elastic thrower guns and radio controlled cars for them to play with. Mending these objects helped me acquire the ability to always search for the small detail which stops the construction from working properly. Engineering is about designing and creating but also about making projects usable and understandable for everyone.

At school, I have continuously been elected as my class representative. It allowed me to participate more actively in various school committees and has given me a stronger sense of responsibility. I regularly play football as a defender, a position that best corresponds to my character. I also swim and run. I believe sport brings lucidity. During holidays, I enjoy mountaineering and have completed a few specialised summer camps in Chamonix where I learnt to climb on glaciers. Basic mountain techniques as well as my international background including an intermediate level in Spanish, have helped me during my trips abroad, especially when I went trekking in Peru last year. I think travelling intensifies curiosity and opens the mind. In the Andes I could compare the evolution of completely different societies, how the Incas coped with a particular environment, designing their temples and carving rocks to resist high altitude, temperature variations and earthquakes.

I look forward to studying Mechanical Engineering, and hope to bring into University my enthusiasm to build a better future, my curiosity for all sorts of projects and technologies and my sense of responsibility.

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