We again have to thank our sponsors, Sharp Laboratories of Europe, Atkins, Glaxo Smith Kline and QinetiQ, for contributing £3250 of prize money between them, which enabled us to offer some worthwhile prizes. SOUE supplied the organisation, and of course the contacts who persuaded the sponsors to give us the money! We had 15 entries, significantly less than the 29 and 24 of the previous two years, but still quite enough to keep the judges busy. Perhaps the fact that the exhibition was the day before the reports had to be in had something to do with it.
The £500 prize for an electronic exhibit went to Ben Jones of St Catherine's (above) for "An LED-based parallel communication system". By having several light beams in parallel the information capacity was greatly increased, and being line-of-sight made for a secure link. A direct descendant of the heliograph used by the British Army in the Boer War? Unfortunately (for the rest of us), he was not allowed to show it working, in case the light from the LEDs got into someone's eyes!
The £500 Atkins prize for a civil or structural engineering exhibit went to James Solly of Magdalen (above) for a "Large-span expandable shelter", another of the series of remarkable folding structures we have been seeing exhibited in recent years. In fact it was a small model of a "large-span shelter", or it would never have got into Lecture Room 3 (or been built with his project budget), but it looked as if full-scale versions of it might have been useful in Burma or China this May.
The £400 QinetiQ prize for an "exhibit working towards an innovative solution of an important problem" went to Annika Wong of St Hugh's (above) for "Understanding the biology of breast cancer using dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (magnetic-resonance imaging)".
Other prizes were awarded as follows:
£250 Poster Prize to Alan Carter, St Hugh's, for "Transporter bridges - an effective way to span a river?", a comparative technical study of two such bridges built about a century ago. He had calculated that the safety factor of one of them under the worst loading was not exactly generous!
£250 Hardware Prize to Matthew Cole, Brasenose, for "Stimulus and test equipment for a smart dust optical receiver". For those not in the know, "smart dust" is apparently a swarm of tiny sensors, ideally about 1 mm across, taking their power from the ambient light and sending back information about their environment.
£250 to David Marshall, New College, for "Full-bore imaging in a spark-ignition engine"
£250 to David Rowlinson, Hertford, for "Modelling the interaction of spectators during grandstand egress"
£250 to Kai Zhong, Wadham, for "Controlling the coagulation stage of water treatment using electrical impedance tomography"
£200 to Winston Churchill, St John's, for "Vision-based path detection for a mobile robot"
£200 to Daniela Footerman, Balliol, for "Cryopreservation of bovine mesenchymal stem cells"
£200 to Adrien Geiger, Somerville, for "Model predictive control of an inverted Furuta pendulum"
Choosing the prizewinners is no trivial task. This year's judges, to whom we are very grateful, were:
Alan Coombs, LMH 1999-2003, now with Cambridge Silicon Radio
Jac Cross, Trinity 1995-9, now with Arup
Hugh Griffiths, New College 1995-9, now with Griffiths
Alexandra Hatchman, Somerville 1993-7, now with Tescos
We have been running this exhibition annually for eight years now, in which time there have been 129 exhibits. There now remains ONE undergraduate college which has never yet produced an entry. But I won't shame them in print by saying which one!
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