National Women in Engineering Day

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Today is National Women in Engineering Day, which has been set up by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate its 95th anniversary. Its overall aim is to celebrate the work that women do in engineering, and to showcase the great engineering careers that are available for girls.

One of the means they use as part of their Magnificent Women outreach activity is a series of resource sheets profiling a notable female engineer. Among these notables is Loughborough’s own Claudia Parsons (1900-1998) who in 1919 became one of the first girls to enrol in Loughborough Technical College’s Engineering Diploma courses, graduating in 1922 to become a beacon for other girls seeking to break into engineering.

To find out more about the Society, visit their website here.

Eden Flix Presents ‘How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?’

118_posterThis Wednesday afternoon at 3pm in the Cope Auditorium Eden Flix presents a free showing of the documentary film How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?, introduced by Professor Jacqui Glass, Professor of Architecture & Sustainable Construction in the School of Civil and Building Engineering.

The film traces the rise of one of the world’s premier architects, Norman Foster, and his unending quest to improve the quality of life through design.

Tickets are free, but booking is necessary – follow this link to do that.

Eden Flix are a series of highly acclaimed, thought-provoking and inspirational documentaries on issues related to engineering, design and social consciousness. All staff and students at Loughborough are welcome to attend.

World Water Day 2013

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“Water, water everywhere, only if we share!”

No, that’s not a general statement on weather conditions at the moment, but the winning slogan in a competition organised for this year’s World Water Day, which is celebrated today.

Every year since its establishment in 2003, UN Water helps countries attempt to achieve water preservation goals and promotes key messages to the world in general. This years’ theme seeks to highlight the importance of cooperation in striking a balance between different water needs and priorities, in order to share water equitably across the globe.

The University plays a significant role in preserving global water resources through the invaluable work of WEDC (Water, Engineering and Development Centre), based in the School of Civil & Building Engineering. WEDC is one of the world’s leading education and research institutes for developing knowledge and capacity in water and sanitation for low- and middle-income countries.

For our part, we have access to a range of online resources on the subject, including Aqualine, Environmental Sciences & Pollution Management, and Water Resources Abstracts, as well as a large number of books and journals among our civil engineering collection on Level 1.

For more information about World Water Day and the work of UN Water, visit their website here:

http://www.unwater.org/water-cooperation-2013/events/world-water-day/en/

A Second Prize That’s Not to be Sniffed At

Loughborough’s athletes weren’t the only ones to carry home a major prize this month – our very own Water Engineering & Development Centre (WEDC) claimed second prize in a prestigious competition to produce the next generation in… toilets.

The Reinvent the Toilet Challenge was set last year by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and asked engineers to come up with a more ecological sustainable design to surpass the present flush toilet model created by a Scottish watchmaker, Alexander Cummings, over two centuries ago.

The California Institute of Technology wiped out the opposition with a solar-powered design that breaks down water and human waste into hydrogen gas for use in fuel cells, claiming the first prize of $100,000. WEDC’s design for a toilet that produces biological charcoal, minerals and clean water surfaced for the second prize of $50,000, while the University of Toronto bubbled under for third place with a design that sanitises faeces and urine, and recovers resources and clean water.

Joking aside, it’s estimated that only 63% of the world’s population have access to improved sanitation facilities – that’s a staggering 2.6 billion people without the facilities we tend to take for granted. The billionaire Microsoft chief set universities around the world the challenge to come up with a method of improving this dire situation.

To found out more about the competition, visit the Foundation’s site here. Or to find out more about WEDC’c work, visit their site here.

Image by Robert Ganzer, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

The 2011 EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture

The Neues Museum in Berlin is the winner of the 2011 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture / Mies van der Rohe Award, the European Commission announced this week.

The building is a reconstruction, blending old and new, by the British architect Sir David Chipperfield. The original Neues Museum, designed by Friedrich August Stüler, was built in the mid-19th century. The building was severely damaged in the Second World War and reconstruction began in 2003, with the aim of restoring the site to its former glory.

Launched in 1987, the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture / Mies van der Rohe Award is presented every other year. The Prize is supported by the European Commission in the framework of its Culture Programme and by the Mies van der Rohe Foundation.

The winners were chosen from 343 submitted works in 33 European countries. Six works were shortlisted for the main award. The other finalists were: Bronks Youth Theatre (Brussels, Belgium); MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Arts (Rome, Italy); Concert House Danish Radio (Copenhagen, Denmark); Acropolis Museum (Athens, Greece) and Rehabilitation Centre Groot Klimmendaal (Arnhem, The Netherlands).

The award ceremony will take place on 20 June at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona.

To find out more about the award and the ceremony why not visit the Europa website here. The library has access to a wide variety of databases concerning the subject of architecture and civil engineering on Metalib. Why not have a browse?

Tall, taller, tallest!

London Bridge Tower

"The Shard" - London

Just before Christmas, London Bridge Tower, nicknamed “the Shard”, officially became the UK’s tallest building when the construction of the central core was complete. At 245m it is now taller than the Canary Wharf building at One Canada Square. However, there are still two year’s work ahead before it is finished. The completed structure will be another 65m in height and will become the tallest commercial building in Europe. 

Designed by architect Renzo Piano and famously starting life as a sketch on the back of a napkin in a Berlin restaurant, it has a number of sustainable features including the recyling of heat generated by office computers for apartments higher in the structure. A triple-skin glass facade will contain venetian blinds controlled by computers, reducing the need for air-conditioning by shielding occupants from the sun.

With a final height of 310m it is still a long way short of the world’s tallest building. It’s only a year since that title was claimed when the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was completed. Recently in the news when Tom Cruise was seen apparently dangling from it during filming of the latest Mission Impossible movie it stands an amazing 828m tall.

If you are looking for more information on construction and buildings why not take a look at the following sources: Civil Engineering Abstracts, Compendex and the Construction Information Service. You can find these all in the Civil Engineering category in MetaLib.

Image courtesy of George Rex used under Creative Commons Licence.