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Ostrowski Garners Early Career Award from Department of Energy

Industrial and systems engineering’s James Ostrowski was recently picked a bythe US Department of Energy’s Office of Science for its Early Career Research Program. He was selected for his research into complex algorithms.

James OstrowskiJames Ostrowski

In his work “Symmetric Convex Sets: Theory, Algorithms, and Application,” Ostrowski notes that the growth in use and improvement of algorithms has allowed computers to take on new roles in areas that require rapid decision making, such as transportation, but that some persistent quirks remain.

He theorizes that those problems all have something in common and should be approached with that in mind.

“By developing tools that exploit this symmetric structure, one will be able to easily solve optimization problems considered intractable and improve the computational speeds by orders of magnitude,” Ostrowski says in his abstract. “The challenge of solving optimization problems will thus be transformed by changing a large part of the work to one of seeking symmetry and then exploiting it.”

Awards are pending final negotiations between the researchers and the Department of Energy. The full list of winners and their abstracts can be found at the Office of Science.

Students and Faculty from Many Departments work on Integrated Design Project

New Assistant Dean Position to Foster Collaboration, Student Experience

The Tickle College of Engineering has announced the creation of a new position, the Edwards Assistant Dean and Director of Integrated Engineering Design.

View the job posting, salary information, and other details.

The new position will help expand the college’s efforts to enhance student project, design, and research experience by coordinating across departments and working with the directors of the Cook Grand Challenge Honors and Jerry E. Stoneking engageTM Engineering Fundamentals programs to foster both internal—and external—partnerships.

Another key aspect of the position will be the coordination and distribution of space in the design studio of the forthcoming New Engineering Complex, as well as significant input to the Associate Dean for Research and Facilities for the overall space.

The position is named in honor of Tom, a 1972 graduate of mechanical engineering, and Elaine Edwards for their most recent transformative support.

Accolades: Notable News for August 14, 2017

Congratulations on Faculty Promotions!

Dean Wayne T. Davis congratulates the following faculty members on receiving tenure and/or promotion.

Promotion to Full Professor:

Ivan Maldonado

Ivan Maldonado, NE

Hans DeSmidt

Hans DeSmidt, MABE

Tenure and Promotion to Associate Professor:

Angel Palomino

Angel Palomino, CEE

Kai Sun

Kai Sun, EECS

Cong Trinh

Cong Trinh, CBE

Awarded Tenure:

Andrew Yu

Andrew Yu, ISE

Ostrowski Selected for Research Support

James OstrowskiIndustrial engineering Assistant Professor James Ostrowski was selected for negotiation of a financial award under the fiscal year 2017 by the Early Career Research Program.

His research in “Symmetric Convex Sets: Theory, Algorithms, and Application” was selected by the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

Read more about the program

Troy Eckleberry Earns Award for Paper

Troy Eckleberry

Troy Eckleberry

Nuclear engineering doctoral student Troy Eckleberry was awarded a second-place prize for his research paper in the 2017 Innovations in Nuclear Technology R&D Awards. His paper is titled “Reactivity Assessment of Enhanced Accident Tolerant Claddings in a Modern PWR.” He presented at the Physics of Reactors Conference (PHYSOR) in May 2016. The program awarded 23 prizes in 2017 for student publications relevant to innovative nuclear technology.

Read more about the Innovations in Nuclear Technology R&D Awards Program

Olberding Named Among Tau Beta Pi Distinguished Alumni for 2017

Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, has named UT engineering alumna Terry Olberding as a 2017 recipient of its Distinguished Alumnus Award. She received her bachelor’s degree here in engineering sciences and mechanics and is an active member of the TBP Great Smoky Mountains Alumni Chapter.

Olberding is a management consulting contractor with Eagle Research Group and past nuclear safety specialist for the Department of Energy’s National Security Administration. She is an annual judge at the TCE Engineers Day and at the Science Bowl in Oak Ridge. She also participates in “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” events. She volunteers with Tau Beta Pi, the Society of Women Engineers, and in DOE-sponsored events.

Now in its 21st year, the award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated adherence to the ideals of Tau Beta Pi (integrity, breadth of interest, adaptability, and unselfish activity) and to fostering a spirit of liberal culture on local, national, and international scales.

Read more about Olberding and other 2017 Distinguished Alumni


Citylab: The Brutal Saga of One Extremely Evil Railroad Crossing

Dozens of cyclists have crashed on a slice of railroad tracks in Knoxville. What lessons can be gleaned from this infrastructural pitfall? Chris Cherry was biking to a football game in Knoxville in 2014 when his wheel got lodged in the gap of a railroad crossing. Both he and his wife wound up eating face, though she got the worst of it. “She had to wear this second-skin bandage for months afterward, just because it was kind of a deep gouge,” says Cherry, an associate professor of civil engineering at UT.

Read more about the railroad crossing »

Solar Eclipse Viewing Party

One of the most amazing celestial sights will pass through East Tennessee on Monday, August 21.

A total solar eclipse—when the disk of the moon completely covers the sun—will be visible in the United States along a path from central Oregon through Tennessee and on to South Carolina.

In Tennessee, many points to the south and southwest of Knoxville will experience a total eclipse. Knoxville, however, will have only a 99.75 percent partial eclipse.

Event Details

Solar Eclipse Viewing Party
Monday, August 21
The Hill, Ayres Hall
1–3:30 p.m.

Read More 

Only Lyon sign at the Confluence Museum

Student Reports: Michelle Lames in Lyon, 2017

Lyon: the gastronomic capital of France, the ancient capital of the Gauls, the birthplace of cinematography, the geographic convergence of the Rhône and Saone rivers, and the site of my study abroad. In this interesting city that I came to love, I spent five weeks of my summer with thirty other students from around the world taking an engineering course on Energy and Sustainability and an advanced French course that focused mostly on speaking and culture through the IPL Summer School program. For the engineering course, I would go to a school called ECAM that was right next to Lyon’s famous basilica on the hill, Notre Dame de Fourvière, and enjoy the amazing views of the city on my regular trek to class.

Bridge in Lyon

An image of Lyon taken from the banks of the Saone with the basilica on the hill visible in the background

Group Shot Overlooking Lyon

My fellow ECAM classmates and I (second from the right) with the view of the city, which we passed every day on our way to class

At ECAM, I got to learn about a large variety of topics including heating districts, French environmental policy, renewable energy, control systems, thermodynamics, electrical circuits, and engines both through traditional lectures and hands-on learning that helped to solidify the information. In addition to this, I also went on several engineering-related excursions such as guided visits to a boiler plant, a sporting goods company, and, my favorite, CERN, one of the most well-known international research centers. The visit to CERN was such an exciting opportunity because it is the location of the most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, and it was amazing getting to learn more about the groundbreaking research and tour one of the particle detector sites.

Group Shot of Students at the Compact Muon Solenoid

The group at one of CERN’s particle detector sites called the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS)

Alongside the engineering class and outings, I was also taking an advanced French class at another school called ISARA, and while I had taken seven years’ worth of French classes up to this point, it was quite different and so much more beneficial to be able to learn something in the classroom and immediately practice it afterwards, not to mention the fact that I had no other choice than to speak French anytime I went out. In the five weeks I spent in France making friends with locals and being surrounded by the language, I greatly improved my speaking skills and went from a shy foreigner hesitant to order at a restaurant to an enthusiastic speaker eager to discuss complex topics in French.

I also learned so much about the culture of France in general and Lyon in particular through scheduled outings that were mostly related to food—because it is France after all! These cultural excursions included having dinner with a French family where I had escargot (and it was delicious), buying fresh food at the outdoor market for an organized class picnic, going to a French chocolate factory and learning how to taste the quality of chocolate, visiting a vineyard and winery and learning how to taste and pair wines, and touring a family-owned dairy farm where I had one of the best meals of my life mainly consisting of fresh cheeses and bread. These outings enriched my overall experience because I got to learn about French culture and engineering processes while simultaneously being able to explore other beautiful cities and towns such as Annecy, Aix-les-Bains, Geneva, and the medieval town of Pérouges. Barcelona and Marseilles were also among these incredible cities that I got to visit but they were personal trips separate from the program that nonetheless helped to add to my unforgettable summer.

Group of Students Enjoying Meal at a Dairy Farm

The group waiting for the delicious feast at a dairy farm in the Alps

Michelle Lames Visits Aix Les Bains

Dipping into the warm water of the crystal-clear lake in Aix-les-Bains

Though I have gotten to travel to all these other places, Lyon still sticks out to me as my favorite, perhaps because that was where I got to spend the most time. What first struck me about the city is its historical significance throughout the centuries, which is something that can be seen with the coexistence of a still-functional 2000-year-old Roman amphitheater, the stunning basilica and other churches throughout the city, the houses and old workshops of the silk weavers called canuts left from when Lyon was the hub of the European silk industry, and the secret passageways throughout the city known as traboules that were used by silk workers during revolts and helped Resistance fighters hide from the Germans during World War II. The history and long list of important Lyonnais figures are also showcased through the enormous, elaborate murals that are painted around the city. Even with all of this, the reason for which Lyon is most well-known is its cuisine; the city is teeming with amazing Michelin-starred restaurants, authentic buchons, cafes, and bakeries. Lyon has numerous specialties that can only be found there, the most popular of which—and my favorite—is a pink, sugar-coated almond called praline that is eaten as a candy or can be baked in tarts, breads, or other tasty desserts. From culture and history to food, Lyon really captivated me and helped make my study abroad experience unique.

Finally, perhaps the most defining aspect of my study abroad were all the people I met and with whom I formed strong bonds of friendship. Everyone that was in the program with me was so incredible and open, and without them, the program would not have been the same. From the compilation of experiences, people, and culture, my study abroad experience is one that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Oxford University

Student Reports: Leftwich and Perryman in Oxford, 2017

Students from the Tickle College of Engineering traveled to Oxford in the summer of 2017 to study “The Quest for Meaning.”

Brooks Leftwich

The Oxford Experience 2017 was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I could not be more thankful for being able to experience everything that was offered to me. From trips to London, a weekend in Salisbury and Bath with a trip to Stonehenge, a weekend in Paris, or time spent around Oxford, I am forever indebted to everyone that helped me get to England.

The class itself centered around where we find meaning in life and how to be intentional about the quest for that meaning. Being a conscious human being comes with the consequence of knowing that we are finite creatures. It is important for us to realize that everything we do in life is a choice and even doing nothing is choosing to do nothing. The class explored how humans cope with the idea of finitude and our relationship to our community and to religion. We considered the works of Becker, Kierkegaard, Freud, and Tillich to see if the ideas they presented could be applied to our own lives and connected it to what psychologists are researching today. We also had the chance to listen to Professor Sheldon Solomon, a co-developer of Terror Management Theory, and Professor Peter Hampson, an Oxford faculty member, give lectures covering Terror Management Theory and the idea of the perspective of the journey of life and how it unfolds.

Brooks Leftwich at the Eiffel TowerThis trip inspired me to live intentionally in every moment. Life passes moment by moment and taking full advantage of each second is my responsibility. It is all too easy to live on autopilot and coast through days at a time, but that is the exact opposite of what I wanted while I was on my study abroad and what I want going forward.

Some of my best experiences in life happened on this trip including going to Wireless Festival 2017, being inside the circle of rocks at Stonehenge, visiting The Louvre, climbing the Eiffel Tower, walking through the British Museum, and being at championship Sunday of The British Open. These adventures opened my eyes to the possibilities of life and everything that is out there to see and do. Life is too precious to spend it lackadaisically and without purpose. Being determined and putting in the effort to choose right from wrong instead of rolling with what is easy takes a lot of work. It is not easy to live fully in your morals and by what you value most, but when this happens the beauty of life truly shows.  I have been blessed with the opportunity, and I look forward to everything that life has coming my way.

David Perryman

Over the course of three weeks in July, around thirty students from UT, St. Joseph’s, and Boise State experienced Oxford through the course “The Quest for Meaning.” While we can (and will) describe the experience by separating the course into the lectures, discussions, excursions, and location, the experience itself is truly ineffable. Our trip combined meeting new people, hearing and discussing new ideas, and experiencing a new place in a way that created an experience greater than the sum of its parts.

When we arrived at Oxford, it was easy to feel overwhelmed. Everything in the college and university had so much history and tradition, in a way that we simply do not have in the states. The building that was the Great Hall in Harry Potter was across the river from our dormitory. C.S. Lewis gave up apologetics after a debate in the common room of our dormitory. However, after our initial shock and awe at the grandeur of the college, we enjoyed living on such a historic and beautiful campus.Great Hall at Oxford University


We studied the “Quest for Meaning,” that is, the fundamental human drive to infuse meaning into the world. This course was a veritable blitzkrieg of topics, moving from Aristotle to existentialists, including Eastern thought as well. And while the topics were abstract and philosophical, we discussed the practical application of these ideas as well. This course provided an open forum to discuss and challenge ideas about the world with an eclectic group of individuals. Every professor and student brought a different way of thinking to the table, from Freudian analysis to historical, literary, or biological. In this environment, discussing ideas with a wide variety of honors students created a truly unique community.

Part of what made the Oxford experience special was the guest speakers. Besides having great professors from UT, St. Joseph’s, and Boise, our group was able to have two guest speakers. The first was Peter Hampson, professor at Blackfriars, Oxford, and author of 5 books and 50+ papers, publications, etc. Dr. Hampson discussed Metamodernism and introduced us to his perspective on the “quest for meaning.” Along with Dr. Hampson, Sheldon Solomon, one of the founders of a current psychological school, Terror Management Theory, was able to stay with us for about a week. His personal charisma and detailed knowledge contributed to our discussion with wit and evidence. The contributions of Drs. Hampson and Solomon cannot be understated.

Science News: Radioactive substances leave electron ‘fingerprints’ behind

Walls can’t talk, but scientists can now read stories written in their subatomic particles. And that could make it harder to store radioactive material in secret. Authorities could use this technique to retrace where a dirty bomb was stored before detonation to figure out who built it, says Eric Lukosi, a nuclear engineer at UT who was not involved in the work. “This is still very early in its development,” Lukosi says, “but it’s an interesting approach.”

Read More »

Accolades: Notable News for July 17, 2017

Nature Publishes CBE Post-doctoral Researcher’s Work

Hanieh Niroomand

Hanieh Niroomand

Recent research by Hanieh Niroomand, a post-doctoral researcher working under the supervision of Assistant Professor Dibyendu Mukherjee and Professor Bamin Khomami, was published in Nature’s highly regarded Scientific Reports. This research paves the path for the rational design of future bio-hybrid systems that can mimic natural photosynthesis.

Read more about Niroomand

Mahfouz Noted for Knee-Surgery Innovation

Mohamed Mahfouz

Mohamed Mahfouz

Biomedical engineering Professor Mohamed Mahfouz was recognized for his role in the conception of Zimmer’s X-PSI Knee System, the world’s first CE Marked X-ray-based patient specific instrument system for total knee replacement surgery.

Read more about Mahfouz’s research

Cong Trinh Earns DARPA Award

Cong Trinh

Cong Trinh

Professor Cong Trinh received the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award for 2017 for his research “ViPaRe (Virulent Pathogen Resistance): A highly adaptable defense system against virulent pathogens.”


EECS Professor Receives Award for Paper

Chao Tian

Chao Tian

Professor Chao Tian, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Jie Li, a visiting student under his supervision, have received the 2017 IEEE Jack Kiel Wolf ISIT Student Paper Award. The award was presented to Tian Thursday, June 29, at the 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT) in Aachen, Germany. Their paper is called “A generic transformation for optimal repair bandwidth and rebuilding access in MDS codes.”

Read more about Tian’s award

Student Reports: Engineering in London, 2017

Engineering in London Logo

Twenty-seven classmates traveled “across the pond” to spend five weeks in the beautiful city of London, England, studying thermodynamics and circuits, visiting well-known and historical sites, and making memories to last a lifetime. Here are 10 of those students’ first hand accounts of their amazing adventures abroad.

The Engineering in London 2017 study abroad trip was one that will never be forgotten. This month-long journey proved to be easily one of my greatest college experiences so far. Although this program is obviously centered around learning thermodynamics and circuits, the vast majority of our learning came outside of the classroom. Specifically, the scheduled group field trips provided students with a unique perspective of the city that gave us a level of insight into its incredible history and culture that most travelers never experience. One of my favorite field trips with the group came at the very beginning of the trip on our double-decker bus tour.

Upon arriving in London, it was easy to feel overwhelmed by the rush of the big city. However, this would quickly dissipate as everyone began to introduce themselves and take in the historically rich surroundings on our tour. As the witty tour guide humorously pointed out the notable landmarks and explained their significance, everyone took mental notes of what they would devote their ample free time to exploring over the course of the month. The photos below were taken during the stops on our tour to get some of our first good looks at the city. Passing by the world famous sights of Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The London Eye, and countless others for the first time often left me speechless. As my Snapchat story rapidly grew in length, my excitement for the upcoming adventures mounted. This tour would ultimately set the tone for the rest of the trip and encourage us all to explore as much of London as possible.

As we figured out how to navigate the city and adapt to the rapid pace, we gained valuable skills and formed lasting friendships that we will carry with us long after we have returned to America. I can not recommend this unparalleled opportunity enough to study engineering in its birthplace and relish in the diverse cultural melting pot that is London.

I had an enlightening, rewarding, and above all joyful study abroad experience in London. My fellow engineers and I took coursework that was not only relevant to our respective majors but also relevant to the city we were studying in. Our program included many excursions to places that were relevant to the material we were studying. These excursions included: Bletchley Park, Greenwich, The Royal Institute, The Globe Theatre, The British Science Museum, Kew Steam Museum, and Harry Potter Studios. My favorite excursion is the one I will be blogging about: Greenwich.

Students Pose at the Prime MeridianGreenwich was a very interesting excursion because there were multiple museums and interesting sights to see. The day started off very uniquely because we took a boat down the River Thames to get to Greenwich, which offered several beautiful sights of London from a unique perspective. Once we arrived at Greenwich, we had a few hours to go through all the area had to offer before meeting at the Royal Observatory to go and see the Prime Meridian. Luckily, Greenwich had plenty to keep us preoccupied. We toured the Cutty Sark, which is a Victorian era British clipper that houses many interesting artifacts that a typical trade ship would have in those days. Much of the original wood on the Cutty Sark is still intact giving the ship a certain historical ambiance that one can sense going through the museum. Also, we toured the National Maritime Museum, which is the largest museum of its kind in the world. Finally, after touring both expansive museums, we ascended the large hill that leads up to the Royal Observatory.

The Royal Observatory provided a cool, educational experience. We learned how the longitude problem was solved by John Harrison. He invented the first accurate clock that could be carried out to sea, and sailors could now tell where they were at sea. The huge discovery also allowed Harrison to designate the Royal Observatory as 0 degrees’ longitude, i.e. the Prime Meridian. We got to see the original clocks that Harrison invented, which was truly exciting.

Overall, the excursions provided a unique opportunity to learn more about the city and the scientific discoveries that have taken place in it. I loved every second of this trip, and my only complaint about is that it did not last another month.

Today we visited the British Science Museum. We were given a list of displays to visit, including a slightly improved version of the first steam engine, which was truly incredible, and Babbage’s Difference Engine Prototype, a piece of equipment so advanced that even those responsible for using it did not understand how it worked.

Another amazing machine on display was the first steam locomotive ever made, and right next to it, George Stephenson’s “Rocket” locomotive, built in 1829. The Rocket locomotive was the fastest locomotive of its time, capable of going 29 miles/hour. It won a competition between locomotives based on pulling a load a given distance as fast as possible. The locomotive completed the competition faster than ever thought possible, and as a result, was nicknamed “The Rocket”.

There were many other revolutionary machines on display at the museum, including the There were many other revolutionary machines on display at the museum, including the first self-lubricating engine, an early lighthouse electricity generator, and even Babbage’s Analytical Engine, the device that inspired computer programming. This experience is just one of many that exemplifies the deeper understanding and greater range of knowledge a student receives when studying abroad. The opportunity to see real-world examples of machines that operate using theory learned in class is a great way to strengthen our understanding of the concepts we cover in the Thermodynamics and Circuits classes.

The inner-workings of Babbage’s Difference Engine Prototype.

The inner-workings of Babbage’s Difference Engine Prototype.

Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity for students to learn and grow both in and out of the classroom while exploring a new corner of the word we live in. Engineering in London is no exception; in fact, with this program even more opportunities for intellectual expansion await because you get to learn about thermodynamics and circuits in the heart of England right where the fields of study originated. Some of my favorite things I got to do while abroad were the group excursions we went on. For one of these, we got to visit to the Royal Institute (RI), which is the oldest private research institute in the world.

The building itself was beautiful, but what was inside was even more awe inspiring. They had several exhibits displaying the many scientific breakthroughs that took place there. Michael Faraday, easily one of the most influential scientists in history, did most of his work in the basement of the Royal Institute, making groundbreaking discoveries in the fields of chemistry, electricity, and magnetism. The laboratory where Faraday carried out his research is still preserved at RI, and we were able to see it exactly as is looked when he worked there.  Not far from it was another, much more modern lab where two engineers were working on a research project right before our very eyes. It was incredible to see the history and future of science side by side.

After spending a while looking at all the exhibits, we left to have a nice dinner and then met back up for what was, in my opinion, the coolest part of this excursion. We got the opportunity to attend a lecture in the very place where Faraday began his Christmas Lectures in 1825. The lecturers spoke about ethics in artificial intelligence, and to say that it was fascinating would be an understatement. Afterwards, we were allowed to stay for a while and converse with one of the lectures about his research and the future of artificial intelligence. I always love meeting and learning from professional engineers that work in the field. This was just the icing on top of wonderful visit to the Royal Institute.

Students Visit Cellarium CafeOne of the most interesting side trips I went on during the Engineering in London program was when a group of us went to Westminster Abbey for a service. We were able to briefly tour the abbey before the service started, which took us by the tombs of several important scientists, including Joule and Newton, who we had discussed both in the classes we took in London and in previous ones. It was odd to see the tombs and accompanying statues of such prominent figures, but also served as a reminder that these were real people who made the discoveries we so often use.

Westminster Abbey was also intriguing from an engineering standpoint because of the building itself. The Abbey is tall and impressive from the outside, but from the inside you truly get stunned by its size and complexity. The service provided a lot of time to gaze around the main part of the Abbey in wonder and it was still not enough. After I got over the initial awe, I was able to admire the feat of engineering and architecture that the Abbey was. A building like that built in the present day would be impressive, but one completed hundreds of years ago without modern construction equipment and techniques and computers is stunning because of what they had to work with. It gave me a better appreciation for what humans can accomplish and how far engineering has come.

London has a rich history of innovation, and as an engineer it is a wonderland of first inventions that are ready to be marveled at.  During the Engineering in London program we got the opportunity to visit the Museum of Water and Steam at Kew Bridge.  Water is a part of our everyday lives that we typically take for granted, the complexities of how water gets to our homes is a mystery we do not usually pursue, but has a long history.  The Museum of Water and Steam started as an old water pumping station on the river Thames and helped provide water to the people of London since 1838, today the site is used to preserve some of the oldest working Steam engines in existence.

While at The Museum of Water and Steam we were given the opportunity to see several Steam engines operated.  The Steam engines ranged from the size of car, to the size of a large room.  The significance of these engines is that they are run as they would have been back when they were developed in the early to mid 1800’s.  The operators of the engines have to be trained carefully, and once trained are some of the few in the world who have the knowledge to correctly run the machines that spurred the Industrial Revolution in England.

The Steam engines we saw appeared very complex, even with the knowledge of the science going on behind them.  The entire process being mechanical made their processes very visual, which is not something that is common today with electronic machines.  The mechanical process made the engines a perfect specimen of study for our thermodynamics class.  Studying a process in lab is something that could be done anywhere in the world, but the opportunity to learn a process in lab and then go and touch some of the first engines to every operate under it and see them working and producing energy as they would have in the early 1800’s was so enriching.

The contribution of the Steam engine changed the way the world was looked at, a horse was no longer the only things that could do useful work for humans, now water could be used to produce useful work.  The work could be used to pump water, and to operate machinery.  These machines were the product of the most forward thing of the day, and the process spurred the study of thermodynamics and is the corner stone of mechanical engineering practices.

Stewart Whaley at the Globe TheatreOne of the included excursions during our trip was going to see a theater performance at the Globe Theater. The Globe is relatively new, at least the one currently standing: it was built in 1997 while the original Globe for Shakespeare was built around the 1600s. While this performance did not so much fit into our curriculum, it was nice to do something as a group that did not need to be educational but rather entertaining.

The performance was phenomenal with a great cast and hilarious scenes. The outfits of the cast added greatly to the experience. Our tickets were for the standing pit section which is the area that surrounds the stage. The cast would sometimes bring the audience into the performance, and a few of our group got roped into the act. Sadly, no pictures could be taken during the play, but I did manage to take some before of the inside of the theater. They show the outside, inside, and where our group stood during the performance.

The classes we took were not hard enough to deter us from going out into London and exploring, but they also weren’t so easy that we never had to study. Our group worked together during study sessions for the Thermodynamics quizzes, and we made sure we had all the equations we needed on our sheet for each quiz. I found Circuits to be relatively easier than Thermodynamics, but I have also taken some circuits beforehand. Overall, the classes were great and they added to the experience in London rather than subtracting from it. I would definitely recommend this Engineering in London program to any engineering major!

TCE Students take a Group Photo at Bletchley ParkLiving in London for five weeks was a truly unique experience that helped me to not only gain a better understanding of British culture but supplemented my classwork as well. We learned about the origins of steam engines in class, and then the next day were taken to see live demonstrations of steam engines in their original birthplace. We were always surrounded by museums where we could find machines and original prototypes of the engines we were learning about. This kind of immersion is an advantage that we could not have experienced at UT, and it increased my understanding of what I was learning.

Another great benefit to living in London was our central location in England. The London Underground made travel within the city a breeze, and I made many spontaneous trips to museums and parks throughout my stay. With trains constantly running in and out of the city I was able to go anywhere I wanted to, and took trips with friends to Edinburgh, Dover, and Brighton on the weekends. The fantastic public transport in London freed me to explore and helped me experience the incredible culture of England in many different places.

My favorite activity we did as a group had to be Bletchley Park, the location of much of the code-breaking in World War II. When we arrived we got to tour around and see where new code-breakers would have been introduced into the park. Soon, we were taken to see a demonstration of an authentic enigma machine and learn how it worked. Our circuits class that we were all taking has a huge connection with Bletchley Park, the enigma machine, and of course the Bombe, the next machine we got to see in action. The Bombe, a massive machine that could emulate 36 enigmas at a time, is an absolute masterpiece of circuitry and engineering. However, the most impressive part of Bletchley Park was the Colossus, the first true digital computer, built to break the German Lorenz encryptions. Standing in front of the Colossus you can feel the heat of the circuits as the machine churns away, working at an incredible rate for the first machine of its kind. Behind all of the magic in these machines were the principles we were learning in our classes, and we all had fun reading the diagrams of the machine they had posted now that we had the ability to understand them.

There were a lot of really exciting and insightful experiences from my study abroad trip to London. My peers have written about the Steam Museum, the Science Museum, Bletchley Park, and more. At the end of our time here in London, we were able to visit Harry Potter Studios as a part of our program. This may not seem related to engineering at first glance, but we were able to see how the magic of Harry Potter was engineered behind the scenes and produced on camera. The studios are located in Leavesden just north of London. This is where all eight of the movies were filmed.

For huge Harry Potter fans, like many of us on the trip, this was a truly unique and eye opening experience. We may not always think about the engineering and countless hours that go into amazing productions that we watch everyday. For instance, we were able to explore set and costume design and learn about the processes and material as used to create Dumbledore’s Office or the Forbidden Forest (just to name a couple). Throughout the semester, we learned about steam engines and their relationship with thermodynamics. At Harry Potter Studios, we were able to see a real life steam engine, the Hogwarts Express. We learned that every shot or Hogwarts castle in the movie is actually a shot of the scale model below filmed to look like a full sized castle.

This experience was fun as well as educational. I was thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my classmates at the end of our time here. The studios were a truly magical experience.

I can honestly say that the Engineering in London 2017 trip was one of the best experiences of my life. Thanks in large part to Dr. Berry, Dr. Parsons, and the entire IES staff, the trip was exceptionally planned out and optimal for getting as much out of the experience as possible while still being taught two fairly complicated subjects in Thermodynamics and Circuits. The professors did their best to keep the course work within the scheduled class time in order to give us as much freedom as possible to explore the city of London and the entire United Kingdom as a whole. I could talk for hours about the material that we learned in what is known as the “Birthplace of Engineering,” but I really want to focus on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that we were able to share daily.

While some of the best moments of the trip came in the classroom and on the scheduled field trips, one of my favorite parts about London came after class when we would be walking out of the building and someone would ask “so what do you all want to do today?” There was never a shortage of replies to this question and sometimes even a little mild disagreement would ensue, but at the end of the day we all know there was never a wrong answer to this question. From riding the London Eye to channeling our inner Beatles on Abbey Road, dull moments were hard to come by on this trip.

It would take quite a while to list everything we did in our time in London, but I would definitely like to share a few of my personal favorites to give some perspective on the number of options we had at our disposal. We started the trip off strong by hitting the major sights we were familiar with over the course of the first few days. We visited places such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, the Ferris wheel known as the London Eye. After we hit the postcard sights, we focused on some of the lesser known gems of the city. We made it to Abbey Road, where the Beatles coined the phrase “always cross.” Baker Street was another popular location, home to the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. We were able to see the play “Wicked” at the West End theatre, known as the Broadway of London. We made it to the Tower of London, a historical castle on the bank of the River Thames, which is now home to the Crown Jewels among many other historical artifacts. One of my personal favorites of the trip was playing some combination of basketball, soccer, football, or even baseball in the many beautiful parks throughout the city.

While the city of London itself never ran out of things to do, it is only right to share some of the places we were exposed to thanks to the opportunity this trip provided. A list of the countries visited by students on our trip while abroad included Ireland, Scotland, France, Switzerland, Germany, and more! Personally, I went with a large group to Paris, France on the three-day weekend gifted to us and it was spectacular! We experienced the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arch de Triomphe, and the Catacombes all in a two-day span. Once back in London, we were also able to take a train to the Cliffs of Dover on the southern coast of the United Kingdom. We hiked past caves, castles, lighthouses, and ports all with the coast of France in sight!

As you can see, this trip is so much more than sitting in a classroom for a couple weeks in a different setting. You are actually exposed to a different culture and afforded so many opportunities that would be much more difficult to experience without studying abroad. Life-changing is an understatement and I will forever be grateful those that made it happen.

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