Published: 20 August 2014

NASA’s Chief Scientist hails Surrey’s engineering expertise

NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) visits Surrey Space Centre and explains the importance of studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.

It’s a well-documented fact that UK industry suffers from a deficit of engineers, yet the work of an engineer is highly varied and leads to new inventions, space exploration, medical innovations and science breakthroughs. Careers in the field include automotive, biomedical, civil, computer, environmental, forensic, materials, mechanical, military, through to thermal, transport and water engineering – and the average graduate starting salary after six months sits at £26,000.

NASA’s Chief Scientist Dr Ellen Stofan and Deputy Chief Technologist Jim Adams recently visited the University of Surrey, and were interviewed about their thoughts on engineering and Surrey’s work in this field.

Dr Ellen Stofan said, “It’s really exciting to visit Surrey because of the work being done here, [including] their work on microsatellites on solar sails … it’s a worldwide endeavour. Organisations like Surrey are really contributing [to] the global exploration of space. Engineering, maths, science [and] technology are the building blocks of so much of what we do. It’s incredibly important for young people to get involved in this field because it really gives you the skills you need to cope with our modern world.”

Organisations like Surrey are really contributing [to] the global exploration of space

Jim Adams added, “[Engineering] goes beyond just space engineering. It’s about solving all kinds of problems that civilisations have … like infrastructures, to solving global climate change, from baby bottles to making satellites. So we need engineers; we need qualified mathematicians; we need technologists to be able to do all of these things.”

Full footage of this interview can be seen on the University of Surrey YouTube Channel.

The video has been produced as part of Surrey’s ‘Why Engineering?’ campaign, which looks to encourage students to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.  The campaign will host a range of content to help enthuse prospective students including videos, events and interactive materials, which aim to build better understanding of the full range of careers and opportunities that engineering offers. Partners supporting the campaign include Brooklands Museum, the British Science Association (BSA), Transport for London and WISE (Women into Science, Engineering and Construction). ‘Why Engineering?’ officially launches in September 2014.

In other news, why not read about Surrey academics that recently backed an initiative to inspire the next generation of technologists.

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