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The University of Southampton

Engineering all things bright and beautiful

Published: 30 June 2004

The human and inspirational aspects of engineering are highlighted in a new series of posters being received this week by school science departments around the country. The poster series, Shine, Sniff, Wave, Pulse, has been devised and funded by the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton, and uses arresting images to deliver an unusual message.

"We particularly wanted to show that engineering is more beautiful than people think," says Averil MacDonald, Educational Consultant at ECS, "as well as to demonstrate the astonishing range of activity in university engineering departments."

Using images full of light, the posters focus on the human body, and include a blood pack to demonstrate the 'lab on a chip' for testing blood supplies (Pulse), fibre optics to show the impact on global communications (Shine), sound waves to highlight security and voice recognition (Wave), and an electronic nose (Sniff). "Smell is the most difficult of all the senses to reproduce electronically," said Averil, "yet the strength of these posters is that they will bring home graphically and memorably to school pupils that engineering touches all of our lives very personally."

Reaction from teachers has been positive and enthusiastic, with many requesting more copies for their classrooms. "Thank you for supporting the teacher in the classroom," said Martin O'Grady, Head of Science at the Ursuline College in Kent. "The poster set is a great hit with subject teachers."

ECS is undertaking this initiative to try to encourage more school pupils to consider engineering as a career. "Choices about subject options have to be made well in advance to ensure that pupils have got the right A level profile for subjects like engineering," said Averil MacDonald. "These posters will hopefully inspire potential University students with the possibilities that are open to them if they choose engineering."

Notes for editors

  1. A high resolution image of the Shine poster (which uses a royalty free image), is available from the Media Relations office 023 8059 3212, email
  2. The School of Electronics and Computer Science is a world-leading centre of excellence for research, teaching, enterprise and innovation in Computer Science, Electronics and Electrical Engineering. The Head of School, Professor Wendy Hall, CBE, FREng, who is currently President of the British Computer Society, is particularly keen to encourage more girls to consider engineering as a career.
  3. The posters were devised by Averil MacDonald.
  4. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for pioneering research and scholarship. The University has over 19,200 students and 4800 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £250 million.
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