• Question: how much invention did you make

    Asked by yonojobi to Helen, Hollie, Matt, Phil, Stephen, Sylwia on 8 Mar 2018.
    • Photo: Helen O'Brien

      Helen O'Brien answered on 8 Mar 2018:


      I have worked directly on magnetic field instruments for 3 space satellite missions. The instruments which flew on a joint European/Chinese mission to study the near space environment of the Earth (mission was called Double Star), and on the magnetometers for Bepi Colombo which will be launched to study the planet Mercury later this year, and Solar Orbiter which will fly close to, and study the sun, due for launch in 2020.

    • Photo: Hollie Heard

      Hollie Heard answered on 8 Mar 2018:


      For me, inventing something isn’t always coming up with something completely new, it can be combining existing technology into a new approach or idea. I work in research and development although not necessarily inventing new things, more using new materials combinations that can be used to improve the performance of components. You don’t have to ‘invent’ things to be creative, you can find unique and new solutions to problems that are equally as rewarding and successful. I also get to design and build new equipment to produce them which is also very interesting.

    • Photo: Stephen Williams

      Stephen Williams answered on 8 Mar 2018:


      Most of the time I think I am more innovative and less of an actual inventor. That means I am not usually producing a completely new never seen before item but solving problems in a simply and effective way – hopefully. Simplicity is key in engineering because a simple solution probably means you have understood the problem well and just as importantly a simple solution is going to be more reliable in the long term. So if you think of someone like James Dyson as an inventor but then he didn’t actually invent the vacuum clearer (they have been around for over 100 years) but he has perhaps improved it so can it truly be said he is an inventor.

    • Photo: Sylwia Nikel

      Sylwia Nikel answered on 8 Mar 2018:


      I think I’m not really inventing anything. I find innovative solutions to achieve project goals. This isn’t only in the field of the technology only, this also applies to training new team members or being a mentor for more junior colleagues. On every project that I worked on, I managed to find solutions that allowed for the mere efficient use of resources. Sometimes it is very hard to convince high level of management to do something different to what they have been doing for 20 years. It is very challenging and at times frustrating when they don’t always understand the benefits. However, it is as well very rewarding when they finally agree to try it and it works.

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