Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime
July 20, 2015
by Jonathan Sandman
Part of the EPSRC Vacation Bursaries Scheme 2015
Student name: Jonathan Sandman
Student degree course: MEng Acoustical Engineering
Year of study: 3
Supervisor: David Simpson
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
It might seem odd to attribute such a quote to an engineering degree, but bear with me; it actually makes an awful lot of sense.
One of the things that I have found so rewarding about studying engineering is the wide range of problems to which it may be applied; over the past 3 years of my course (still 1 more to go!) I have found myself involved in projects ranging from bridge design to auditorium acoustics, from building a loudspeaker to assessing beat detection algorithms.
In many degrees, having such a broad subject area might weaken it’s value: not in engineering. It might seem that I have been culling opportunities with decisions as far back as GCSEs. On the contrary, the opportunities that I have seem greater than ever.
An area of engineering that I am interested in, but have never had the chance to explore, is biomedical signal processing; that is, the analysis of measurements using signal processing techniques in order to advise clinical decisions. My individual project involved a lot of signal processing, which is thoroughly enjoyed, and I feel that the next step for me is to now apply these skills to something more involved in human response.
Although I am going to be involved in a few different projects throughout my research placement in slightly different areas, I am currently familiarising myself with and editing cerebral blood flow measurements for the purpose of using it to assess the cerebral pressure autoregulation function in humans. I am also planning on taking part in future tests and liaising with MSc Audiology students in order to better understand the physical meaning of the data that I am working with, and how we might use it to investigate cerebral pressure autoregulation or develop better methods of measurement
I am hoping that my research placement will introduce me to, and develop my knowledge of biomedical signal processing ahead of the module that I am taking next year. It has also opened my eyes to the myriad of opportunities that are available in research, and although I do not consider myself a candidate for a PhD, I discovered during my individual project that I find research both rewarding and enjoyable, and would like to continue to explore this further.