I think it was a 26th order differential equation, but I can’t be absolutely sure as I was struggling to keep my sleepy eyes open. It was certainly a lecture on vibration analysis, part of my engineering degree, though again we had slipped away into the surreal world of advanced mathematics. Not that I minded a bit of maths, but it wasn’t really what I had signed up for. Had I made the right choice of degree? Is this what the next 45 years held in store for me? Would that be me one day, in front of a lecture theatre, torturing undergraduates with arcane squiggly lines on a blackboard?

Now don’t get me wrong. Engineers naturally have inquisitive minds, so a grasp of the fundamentals of why things work is both important and interesting. Basic physics, and the maths that helps describe it, are essential. Learning maths and physics trains the mind to think logically, and this is vital to successful problem solving. But so too is creativity.

It seems the IET have recognised this and proposed some new approaches to engineering higher education, as described by Michael Tyrrell writing for Production Engineering Solutions. Well worth a read, and finding out more, as this could be key to solving several issues in our industry. A great example of creative thinking indeed.