• Question: how much times have you fail to make a invention

    Asked by yonojobi to Helen, Hollie, Matt, Phil, Stephen, Sylwia on 8 Mar 2018. This question was also asked by st bridget callum15.
    • Photo: Helen O'Brien

      Helen O'Brien answered on 8 Mar 2018:


      So far I have always managed to find a solution to the problems I have faced. They are not always perfect solutions, are we have to make compromises, but with team work and a positive outlook, focusing on what is really important, most engineering problems can be solved.

    • Photo: Hollie Heard

      Hollie Heard answered on 8 Mar 2018:


      Loads! A lot of what I do is developing new materials, equipment or processes and it’s very much a trial and error process. A lot of science and engineering is, and it’s very rare that things work as you planned first time. The important thing is to then try and understand why so that you can make improvements. That’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt in my current job so far, things definitely don’t go as planned but we learn from them and actually sometimes when things don’t work it can lead to even more exciting discoveries. It can still be upsetting when things don’t work out when you’ve spent a lot of time and effort on them, but we dust off our lab coats and keep going!

    • Photo: Stephen Williams

      Stephen Williams answered on 8 Mar 2018:


      Making mistakes is all part of engineering so its a good question. We have a adage at work and its true, nothing ever works first time. Others many not agree with me but the process of trial and error can be quite productive. Ok its better if you can get it perfect at the first attempt but often you don’t know the problem you are working on well enough so by making educated guesses and seeing where it goes wrong can help you understand the problem better. Its really experimentation and I find experimentation really interesting.

    • Photo: Sylwia Nikel

      Sylwia Nikel answered on 8 Mar 2018:


      Oh, the first trial almost always fails, it depends on the complexity of the project. This is one of the things actually what makes the job exciting. You try, you fail, you think hard, you invent a new solution, you succeed and you improve. In the process, you learn new techniques of achieving the goal and “accidentally” (quite often in my experience) come up with new ideas.

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