Blackrock College and UCD
Bachelor of Engineering (BE) Doctorate in Engineering (PhD)
Switzerland and Ireland
My employer is UCD, that is, University College Dublin.
Favourite thing to do in engineering: Controlling the movement of wobbly spacecraft
Friend, engineer, university professor, musician
I’ve always been interested in science and maths, and in trying to find out how things work. I also like making things.
I knew I wanted to study Engineering from the time I started secondary school. After the Leaving I did Engineering in UCD. I choose Electrical Engineering. When I finished the degree I started working on a higher degree, eventually becoming a “Doctor” or “PhD” in Engineering.
In addition to learning about things I also liked teaching. After working outside the university for a few years I came back to UCD to teach part-time on a Master course, and eventually to take up a full-time position. My areas of interest are “Dynamics” (which is like Applied Maths, if you know what that is) and “Control”.
My hobbies are guitar, tennis, cycling, hill-walking and philosophy.
I work as a teacher and researcher in UCD's School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
I work in UCD in Engineering, giving lectures, doing research, and helping students doing research. I spend a lot of time on the computer.
Engineering is about using maths and physics to make new things, or to make things better. Nowadays, this work often begins using a computer to try to work things out. But sooner or later you need to build and test things.
Recently I have been helping in work on making the first Irish satellite. This is very exciting.
My Typical Day
A lot of the day is spent on the computer, writing papers, sending e-mails, looking after student matters. I also advise students about their work.
My work is quite varied.
I do spend a lot of time at a computer, but doing different things. Sometimes it is writing scientific papers, sometimes writing computer programmes, sometimes checking work done by students, at other times doing administrative work.
I supervise students doing projects or research. This can involve talking to them one by one, about what they are doing, scientific problems they may have, helping them make progress.
I also have quite a few meetings.
Recently I have been spending time on various aspects of the first Irish satellite, EIRSAT-1.
What I'd do with the money
I'd give half of it to Citywise (www.citywise.ie) for their STEM program, and half to give out EIRSAT-1 info to schools
I would give half the money to help Citywise (www.citywise.ie) in their progrmmes to promote STEM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths). This activity is in Jobstown, Tallaght, for teenagers of all backgrounds, some of them finding it hard to stay in school
I’m also involved in making the first Irish satellite, EIRSAT-1.
While most of this work is done by students, I’m involved in supervising some of the work.
If I win the prize money, I would use half of it to tell young people all about the project: what the satellite will do; how it was planned, built and tested; how the experiments on board work; what will happen to it over time; and so on.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious, musical, amused
What's the best thing you've done as an engineer?
Learning how to move wobbly things without making them wobble
What or who inspired you to become an engineer?
I liked the idea of using science to make the world better
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
A very few times, but it wasn't my fault!
If you weren't an engineer, what would you be?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Ice cream on dessert
What is the most fun thing you've done?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Play tennis like Roger Federer; play guitar like Eric Clapton; be as clever as Einstein
Tell us a joke.
I knew this guy who got himself a pet Zebra. He called him "Spot".