Article - Issue 26, March 2006

‘The Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2005’ award; the Nordic experience of energy; a tribute to Brunel

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Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2005

Sara Pullen in the Head Equipment Assembly (HEA) Rig – a fully representative front fuselage of the Eurofighter Typhoon

Sara Pullen in the Head Equipment Assembly (HEA) Rig – a fully representative front fuselage of the Eurofighter Typhoon Aircraft © BAE Systems

Sara Pullen, a Crew Systems Engineer for BAE SYSTEMS, was awarded the title ‘The Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2005‘ by Sir Digby Jones, CBI Director-General, in January 2006. The ceremony was sponsored by The Institution of Incorporated Engineers and The Caroline Haslett Memorial Trust.

After leaving school Sara applied for a modern apprenticeship at BAE SYSTEMS during which she completed an ONC, HNC and HND. In 2001, she joined the Ground Support Equipment Team as a flight Systems Engineer. In 2004, Sara graduated with a BEng in Mechanical and Production Engineering.

Sara's current role at BAE SYSTEMS, working within the Head Equipment Assembly Team, involves the development and qualification of various components of the helmet which will be flown on the Typhoon in-service once full flight clearance is gained.

Sara will be an excellent role model for all young women seeking a career in engineering, and is a worthy recipient of the Award which carries a cheque for £1,000 donated by BT, a silver rose bowl and the title of The Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2005.

Over the next 12 months Sara will visit schools and colleges sharing her enthusiasm for her profession and encouraging young people to consider it as a future career. Sara said at the ceremony: "My classmates at school all wanted to be pop stars, astronauts or fighter pilots... all exciting jobs, but the only thing I wanted to do was dismantle things and see how they worked, which is why I became an engineer!"

Energy - The nordic experience

On Friday 8 September 2006 The Royal Academy of Engineering, in conjunction with the Nordic Chamber of Commerce, is holding a day of lectures entitled ‘A Balanced Approach to Energy – The Nordic Experience’.

The UK’s reserves of gas from the North Sea are declining and there is a need for an energy policy which delivers sustainable, secure and affordable supplies. In the years ahead these may come from renewable sources such as wind turbines,wave and tidal generators, nuclear, solar and hydro power, and perhaps nuclear fusion. The Nordic countries have given considerable thought to this subject. They have placed a strong emphasis on producing ‘green’ energy derived from reliable and sustainable sources.

This conference brings to London experts from the Nordic countries who will speak of their experience and achievements. The conference also aims to demonstrate the expertise in the UK, and elsewhere in Europe, in areas such as security and risk management, the economics and financing of energy projects, and carbon emissions trading.

The keynote speakers include Lord Broers, Sir David King and Paavo Lipponen. They will speak on a variety of subjects including the Security of Supply of Oil and Gas, Carbon Capture and Storage, Nuclear Waste Disposal, The Danish Experience of Wind and The Investment Required for Financing Large Scale Energy Projects.

For more details email:

Brunel 200

A celebration of the life,work and legacy of Isambard Brunel

The 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of the most inspirational and enduring engineers Britain has produced, falls this year. Throughout 2006 the Brunel 200 programme will celebrate and rediscover the life and work of Brunel with a series of events taking place in Bristol and the South-West including exhibitions, arts projects, competitions and walks. Brunel 200 will also be making links with activities taking place at Brunel sites in London, Portsmouth and Wales.

Brunel was born in Portsmouth on 9 April 1806. He was an ambitious young engineer who gained the respect of his colleagues, despite his youth, thorough dedication and hard work, and chose as his motto En Avant – Get Going. At the age of 24 he was the winner of an open competition to design a bridge across the Avon Gorge at Clifton. Although it was not completed until five years after his death, in 1864 (see overleaf ), it was the first of Brunel’s many great achievements.

When Brunel was 27 he took on the building of the 118 miles of the Great Western Railway that would link London and Bristol. The construction of the GWR was to be one of his main achievements and the track continues to be used 170 years later by thousands of people each day.

Brunel was to go on to build giant ships, including the ss Great Britain, and state-of-the-art and enduring bridges including the Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash. Among some of the events planned to celebrate his life and achievements are:
1 April to December – major exhibitions at ss Great Britain and At-Bristol focusing on significant moments in Brunel’s life, and forces he harnessed to meet his engineering challenges.
8 April – birthday weekend celebrations with procession, music, fireworks and more, culminating in the switching on of Clifton Suspension Bridge’s new lighting system.
15 April to 18 June – major art exhibition at Bristol's City Museum and Art Gallery entitled ‘Brunel and the Art of Invention’. Mid-May – Bristol's annual Festival of Ideas will include sessions on ‘Brunel the Polymath’.
24 June to 2 July – Portsmouth festivities which will feature a new Brunel play by Timothy West, talks by Adam Hart Davis, and concerts by Evelyn Glennie and the London Mozart Players.
6 to 7 July – Brunel Bicentenary Conference held at the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum.

For further information about Brunel and the Brunel 200 programme of events visit – for the Portsmouth itinerary call 023 9268 1390.

The University of Bristol and New Civil Engineer magazine are hosting the Clifton Crossing Competition 2006, a re-run of the 1831 competition. The competition challenges young people, from primary school age up to professional engineers to design an innovative new crossing using the latest materials and technologies. It is supported by the Shape the Future campaign and The Royal Academy of Engineering Best Programme. Prizes of up to £5,000 will be awarded with a closing date for entries of 9 April. For further information visit

Dr Jim Shipway wrote an insightful article on Isambard Kingdon Brunel which featured in issue 18 of Ingenia and can be found here (450KB) Document icon image.

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