Last week I visited the construction project site at the new Forth Replacement Crossing with a group of female engineering and built environment students from Edinburgh Napier University. The visit was arranged by the Connect Network for female students studying computing, engineering and the built environment, for which I am a student ambassador.
Whilst the trip was primarily designed for engineering students, my ambassador status got me a seat on the tour—something I was keen to go on because I enjoy learning new things, and I really enjoy having special access to pretty much anything. (It’s one of my many, many quirks.)
But when I got there, I could actually see how computing students would be interested in such a massive civil engineering project, too.
Oh, yes, computers! In addition to the amazing engineering feat of designing and building a bridge that will be 2,633 meters long and 210 meters high (the tallest on-shore structure in Scotland!), it will boast 1,200 sensors to monitor the bridge.
And then there’s the Intelligent Transport System that is being built to help manage traffic as it approaches the bridge. It will be the first time such a system has been used in Scotland and will include things such as variable speed controls and signage as well as metered ramps.
I suppose that I knew there was a lot of computers used in modern engineering projects, but I never really thought about it before.
But then, I’m doing a PhD in the School of Computing and I still struggle to think of myself as anything other than a student of the humanities!
I’m pleased that I went along on the day’s adventure because I think it gave me yet another way of looking at the connections between different disciplines. It would seem that the whole world is one, big, interdisciplinary adventure after another!
And when it comes to the role of women, we’re there making our mark on all of them! (You know, to bring it back to the Connect Network.)