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Mechanical Engineering

Author: Robin

Applied in: Winter 2016

University Offers: Bath, Birmingham, Lancaster, Leeds

I would like to study mechanical engineering because the idea of being able to apply theoretical knowledge to solve physical problems appeals to me - this is demonstrated through my choices of A-level. My motivation to finish a particularly challenging algorithm in computing or solve a mentally demanding maths equation comes from the huge sense of accomplishment upon completion.

I have recently been learning about the basic function of internal combustion engines in my physics lessons and this spurred a curiosity in this topic that prompted me to do further voluntary study in the subject. I was amazed to find that the average efficiency of an engine is only between 20 and 30 percent; this figure reflects shameful waste of finite resources. After reading MacKay's 'Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air', I realised the statistic represents a microcosm of the huge inefficiencies in daily human activities. This fact has been highly influential in my decision to pursue a career in engineering, as I believe that by taking this route I can help to accelerate progression towards a sustainable future. The variety of challenges that a mechanical engineer faces is something that attracts me to this subject, with each new project demanding a different way of thinking about a problem. Also, a course that would fill gaps in my knowledge of fluid dynamics is an exciting prospect to me as I have a particular interest in wind power - the most abundant source of renewable energy in the UK.

I enjoy all my A-level subjects, particularly the mechanics modules in maths and physics, as they both help to predict outcomes of day-to-day real life situations through logical thinking and give explanations as to why they happen. Studying computer science has taught me valuable programming techniques that are increasingly applicable within the engineering industry. My A-levels have also enhanced my analytical skills; a trait that is of emphasised importance in Petroski's 'To Engineer is Human'. Reading this book has deepened my understanding of what an engineering career would entail and taught me about how engineers learn from their mistakes. For example the Tacoma Narrows bridge design not taking into account the torsional vibration mode caused by the wind and whilst causing destruction, it taught us about the necessity of resonance and aerodynamics considerations in structural design. Throughout my life I've always striven to broaden my knowledge of engineering - whether it is through online research, reading books or talking to my family members whose careers engineering is based upon. Last summer I visited the Unimog museum in Germany, this gave me an insight into how engineered products evolve - with each new incarnation of the design addressing weaknesses in the predecessor's and adding innovative features made available by the development of new technologies.

Complementary to my academic life, I'm a keen rugby player and represent my school in the first team. From 8 years of experience on and off the pitch with my teammates I have gained invaluable communication and teamwork skills; attributes that are essential in an engineering career. I'm also an enthusiastic mountain biker. From this pastime I have learnt about the considerations that need to be made when making decisions about materials used for mending or upgrading different bike components. As well as sporting endeavours, I have a part-time job at a swimming pool where I work about 20 hours per week. I've developed excellent time management skills, as it has been imperative for me to do so in order to maintain a high level of academic achievement.

I think I am suited to a mechanical engineering degree as I am hard working and motivated by the prospect of a fulfilling career in a field that I'm passionate about. I believe that skills I've acquired and developed both in and out of the classroom have prepared me suitably for a successful and rewarding time in higher education.

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