Earlier this month, we were delighted to hear that two Year 12 students, Duncan Bouchard and Valentin Trenkwalder, had enjoyed success in the prestigious Keith Maddocks Engineering & Design Prize, an annual essay competition organised by Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge.
The competition is a fantastic opportunity for pupils to explore their chosen subject in greater depth, and to develop and experience independent study skills - which will stand them in good stead for their IAs, Extended Essays, and then undergraduate study at university.
Both Duncan and Valentin responded to the question "Our house is on fire": what can engineers do to mitigate climate change?, and were selected as Runner Up and received a Commendation respectively. This is a fantastic achievement, especially since there were over 370 entries to the Design prizes this year.
Duncan researched three potential low-carbon replacement materials (nesquehonite, ferrock and cross-laminated timber), and the discussed the positives and negatives of each material when used for construction. The judges were particularly impressed with the examples and technical information that he selected, and also the structure of his well-written essay. Duncan will attend a virtual Prize Giving ceremony to receive his award from the President of the College, Professor Dame Madeleine Atkins, later this month.
Valentin's essay had a slightly different focus. He considered wood and other plant-based materials as alternatives to concrete, concluding that the shift to more sustainable materials will take time and will require demand from the general public.
Very well done, Duncan and Valentin!