Diverse end of the academic year

The last term of my third year at the University of Cambridge was very versatile. While in first two years this final term was always mainly used as a preparation for exams, which took place around the middle of June, this year the schedule was quite different. I have gone through exams from all 10 of my this years subjects right after Easter, and have spent the last month and a half or so working on two third-year projects, which mark the end of the Bachelors part of the degree.

The third-year projects are not unique for each student – instead there are about 7-10 options in each of the engineering fields to pick from. In my case this year, I have chosen the projects „Aircraft Wing Analysis“ and „Turbo-expander“. The first one of these was solely a computer analysis of different types and shapes of aerofoils. However, it was a fairly open-ended project, and after programming the background functions we were free to develop a tool of our own which would help us choose ideal shapes of wings for different flight conditions. Me and my colleague have developed an app capable of generating NACA 4 and NACA 5 wing profiles in an interactive environment, where the user could by the means of sliders change the geometry parameters of the wing. The impacts of this on the boundary layers, lift-to-drag ratio and other output data were recalculated live with the user input, thus simplifying the analysis a lot against the basic method which would require to generate the geometry manually for each single type of wing.

The second of the projects was targeting the design and manufacture of the discs of a turbo-expander, and a related analysis of flow characteristics in each part of the compressor and turbine. This we had tackled in a group of four, and I have to openly admit that the time-management and group co-operation were the Achilles heel of the project for us. A large part of analysis was done by a computer program, and I managed to recycle some of my code from the first of my projects for this one, which was a welcome relief in my packed schedule. I liked the practical aspect of this project and at least a little bit of craftsmanship involved, which even engineering students lack now in the age of computers.

The favourite highlight of spring for me are always the rowing races called May Bumps. I have already written about their slightly peculiar rules in one of my previous articles. This year we weren´t very lucky with the weather, which meanns that the fan base on the river banks was not as large as we are used to. Nevertheless, all 4 days of racing were marked by positive adrenaline and great people around. Rowing to me is probably the most team sport of all team sports, because unlike football, hockey etc. it is hardly possible to judge from outside who is good and working hard and who is not. This means that everything relies on complete trust between the crew members. Also it is very true in rowing that best individuals do not necessarily make up the best crew. Thus rowing has a much better impact on improving friendships than, for instance, building of a turbo-expander :).

Because I spent almost the whole last summer in England on an internship, I decided that to freshen my mind I will devote this summer to travelling. One of interesting moments will be participating in a volunteering camp in Ukraine, where I am being sent by the Czech Centre for Talented Minds (CTM), for which I also lead an online mathematical course during the school year. The target will be to immerse the Ukranian kids from small towns and villages in an international environment, where they will be able to improve their language and subject skills. I cannot wait for seeing all the interesting places and meeting new cultures and people this summer. I hope that this will make me arrive back in Cambridge in October fresh and with full enthusiasm for further work in my last year here.

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