First semester finished

I have just completed the first semester of my course. The course organisers were not joking when they described the taught section of the course as “intensive”. So far we have covered six modules, in each going from knowing comparatively little, to writing reports and presenting on the subject for 10-15 minutes just two weeks later!

Particularly challenging for me has been electromagnetism, something I have not studied since high school physics. So getting my head around the idea of real, reactive and apparent power — expressed in terms of complex numbers, with the added complication of the three phases thrown in for good measure — has been somewhat challenging. Then after a two week “break” looking at hydrodynamics of floating structures, we were applying our new found knowledge of electromagnetism looking at the complexities of 3-phase AC motors and generators.

We have also looked at writing academic papers, and how to present this at a conference. Plus the theory and practice of renewable energy resource assessment — for wind, wave, and tidal energy conversion devices. And we have spent the last two weeks learning about physical scale model testing, then applying this in the hydrodynamics labs at Strathclyde.

I have learnt a huge amount over the past two months, but the old adage is true “The more you know, the more you realise there is that you don’t know”. Being surrounded by some very clever people — many of whom are experts in their field — makes me realise that we are only scratching the surface of these topics. But hopefully I now have an understanding of the problems, and how to at least begin to start understanding them…

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