High fliers, high flying and fast driving

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EPSRC – Strategic Plan 2010 - .PDF file.

A mixed bag of events this week might have some readers of The Engineer wondering if they are suffering from déjà vu.

Attempting once more to engage young minds with science and engineering is BAE Systems, which this week starts its annual Schools Roadshow.

Launched by Dick Olver, chairman of BAE Systems – itself Britain’s largest employer of engineers – the roadshow aims to get 9-14 year olds to take a more active interest in SET subjects.

The roadshow is expected to be seen by over 40,000 children in 300 schools over the coming months.

This week also sees the opening of the EPSRC Impact! exhibition at the Royal College of Art. The exhibition will feature conceptual designs in media such as videos, photographs, interactive installations, prototypes, system diagrams and illustrations.

Open to all and running from March 16-21, the exhibition will attempt to communicate the impact that EPSRC research has on the world and to show how engineering and the physical sciences are ‘vital for our future’. Separately, EPSRC recently published its Strategic Plan 2010; a link can be found at the bottom of this page.

The future of Corus’s Teesside plant is on the agenda of the Unite union’s steel committee today. It is meeting to assess what progress Corus has made in response to a two-week period of grace for the steelmaker to reconsider its decision to end production at Redcar. 1,600 jobs will be lost if the site is not bought.

The automotive industry, a significant consumer of steel components, will this week reveal production figures.

The SMMT’s figures for monthly car, commercial vehicle and engine production in the UK are due on Thursday. Last month’s data revealed a 64.8 per cent increase in car output in January, compared with the same month last year.

Unlikely to bother SMMT’s production figures but exciting nonetheless is the launch this Thursday of McLaren’s new supercar.

McLaren Automotive chairman Ron Dennis will launch the new two-seat, mid-engine MP4-12C supercar. The high performance model will cost between £125,000 and £175,000 when it goes on sale next year.

Still moving at speed, but this time airborne, and news that an attempt is to made for the fastest flight around the world.

Captain Riccardo Mortara, Flavien Guderzo, and Tom Zorman will set off from Geneva in their 30-year-old Sabreliner business jet in a bid to beat the record set by Steve Fossett in 2006.

The crew of the Sabreliner will be making 10 planned stops to refuel, which they hope to complete in under 40 minutes each. They must achieve a minimum distance of 36,700km, passing through all of the meridians to beat the world record of 67 hours, one minute, and ten seconds.