College Team Win National Engineering Science Competition!

November 03, 2016 at 2:56 PM

A College team with a love of mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics has been awarded the top prize in the University of Auckland’s annual competition, ‘New Zealand's Next Top Engineering Scientist’. Our congratulations to the team of Year 13 International Baccalaureate students, Cameron Low, Kevin Shen, James Hansen and Henry Mellsop who were awarded $6000 in prize money!

Run by the Department of Engineering Science, the competition is hotly contested, pitting hundreds of teams from across the country against each other and the clock as they try to solve a challenging problem and write a scientific report within a nine hour time frame.  This year, the challenging question put to the students was ‘What is the fastest, humanly possible time for the Olympic 100m freestyle event?’

Teams from all over the country worked simultaneously in groups of four to break the problem into sections and model each of the stages using mathematics.  They had nine hours during a Saturday in August to complete a report and submit it digitally.  When the dust settled, the students used their physics skills to deduce that 44.05 seconds would be the world 100m record that could never be beaten.

Our College team had a critical edge, as the extended essay that Henry Mellsop had written towards part of his IB programme had required him to extensively study the power output of athletes earlier this year. James Hansen brought his competitive swimming experience to the team. This knowledge, combined with the mathematical ability of these top students, honed by the IB Higher Level mathematics and physics courses, allowed these students to produce the winning submission.

In addition to their prize money, the students are also guaranteed paid summer internships at Orion Health, or Fisher & Paykel Healthcare or the University of Auckland should they choose to study at the Department of Engineering Science in future. Well done boys!

Read the team’s report here: Download pdf

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