Hi, my name is Tobias Greene. Thank you for visiting my site. I'm 22 and I've just graduated as a Structural Engineer having completed a 4-year course in Bolton Street College of Technology. Although officially a Structural Engineer, I prefer to see myself first and foremost as an Engineer with a particular interest in large Structures and the problems they pose as regards design and construction. In my opinion, an Engineer should be someone who can work with confidence in any area, knowing that building skyscrapers is no different to building microprocessors or building a team of workers for a project. At the end of the day, it all comes down to analysing the situation, defining what exactly the problem is and determining the best solution.
So I've done my four years of studying, I've my diploma firmly in my hand and I'm looking for a job. I'm a native English speaker (born and reared in Dublin) and I have very good German (my mother comes from Ansbach in Bayern, southern Germany). Our family speaks a mixture of English and German which, as you can imagine, can be confusing for visitors at the best of times. Bilingualism though has many advantages, particularly when travelling. To know and understand people, you must know their language. Having fluent German gives me a definite advantage when travelling in Denmark, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It's particularly helpful when getting to know the local girls!
Young, single, mobile (clean driving licence, 4yrs experience), keen to travel, bilingual and eager to tackle whatever comes my way.
Football of course! A Manchester United fan to the last. Although nowadays I also like.....! Well, the list is as long as my arm. Suffice to say, I really enjoy watching a good match. It's a great sport.
Skiing & Snowboarding. If you've never gone skiing or snowboarding then start right now! You're missing out on one of the best sports in the world. I've been to France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. The latter is really superb. I was in Zermatt, Switzerland. The top of the ski slope is at 3500 metres and you can look across at the Matterhorn which looks like a needle sticking up out of the earth. It's an incredible sight and one which you can't appreciate until you see it.
Kickboxing Nothing to do with violence, this is a good way to keep fit and agile. It's a sport which helps to sharpen the reflexes and teaches you how to keep your body stable and under control in difficult conditions. It is also excellent training for the brain as you learn to keep an eye on peripheral objects while staying focussed on the problem in hand. Also, if you are going to fall, you learn how to fall properly. It actually fits in well with snowboarding.
Plastic Wood, what's that you might well ask. Is it plastic or is it wood or a mixture of both? Well, it's plastic, plain and simple. However, it gets a bit more interesting. The plastic has been recycled and made into strips intended for use in construction where previously wood was the material of first choice. Does it offer any advantages? Indeed it does.
As the name implies, the product is made from recycled plastic. It is maintenance free and easy to work with. It is impervious to water which means it can be used in many situations where wood is completely unsuitable. It is very strong and has a high impact resistance. It is environmentally friendly in that it uses plastic which would otherwise go to landfill, it saves trees, lasts longer, doesn't rot and reduces carbon emissions and fuel consumption. The finished product has a surface texture and colour similar to wood. It is used in very many applications ranging from garden furniture to large bridges.
The subject of my thesis was "The Compressive Strength of Recycled Plastic".
The aim of my work was to investigate if there is a clear relationship between the compressive strength of recycled plastic lumber and the angle to the grain at which force is applied.
The work entailed:
I studied Structural Engineering in Bolton Street College of Technology. It was a 4-year course and I graduated in 2011. The first 2 years were pretty tough going, not because the subjects were particularly difficult but because they were awfully boring. It was all so theoretical, so many formulas to calculate seemingly worthless forces, stresses and bending moments etc. and seemed to have nothing to do at all with what I had envisaged as the "real" work of an engineer. By the end of the second year, I was starting to wonder if I had done the right course.
Anyway, I moved forward with some reluctance into the third year and then everything changed. All of a sudden, things started to get real interesting. Now we were getting into the meat, the practical stuff, the real life application of engineering where I could begin to to see myself tackling problems in far-off lands. All that theoretical stuff from the first 2 years now started to make sense and I could see the necessity for not simply learning but also understanding formulas and how to apply them. It was as if somebody was slowing pulling back the curtains in a dark room and the sunlight was starting to stream in through the window.
"The sun just came out
From behind a cloud
Now I feel like shouting out loud
Hallelujah, let the sun shine in
Hallelujah, I'm feeling alright again"
...Elvin Bishop, Sure Feels Good
The third year really made up for the very boring first 2 years. Projects became increasingly interesting and important. We started working in groups on projects, often competing to see which group could build the best structure. It was interesting to see how, despite that fact that we all had the same theoretical background, our approaches to solving problems were quite different. Not only that, but none of the solutions proposed were ever completely wrong, each had its own merits and this showed us the importance of always keeping an open mind when it comes to solving problems. Never be afraid to stand back and reconsider if the solution you favour is actually the best one. After you've put a lot of work into designing something you feel is great, it can be very difficult to admit that it might not be so great after all.
The fourth and final year was the most challenging. When I started the course, four years seemed like an eternity, a jail sentence. Then one day you waken up and realise that the four years are coming to an end and the end seems to be coming up much quicker than you expect. The "lots of time left to study" suddenly becomes "Wow, this is going to be a struggle". And ironically, at the same time as you'd like to spend more time revising what you have learned, the course becomes more interesting and you finish up trying to combine hard revision and simultaneously digest even more of the new material on the course. On top of that, you're also under pressure to complete your thesis (see under Plastic Wood). The thesis starts off as something you just don't want to tackle, something you wish you could just bury in the sand. However, once you get your teeth into it, it becomes addictive. You want to find out more and more. Suddenly, you wish you had lots more time to work on it and do a really good presentation instead of having to cut it short so as to meet a "silly" deadline imposed by the college.
If ever I wanted die, it was the day on which I presented my thesis to the examiners. This is not handing in your leather-bound, gold-embossed volume of notes. No, this is where you stand in front of a group of hard-hitting, very critical professionals and tell them the results of your research. And that, believe me, is a nightmare. All those ideas you had about being complimented evaporate very rapidly as the no sympathy, no-holds barred criticisms come at you from the other side of the table. Afterwards, when the emotions die down, you realise that it was actually a positive experience! Experience is the summation of all your mistakes!
Gaudi designed, among very many other things, the magnificent Cathedral in the centre of Barcelona. Gaudi was nothing less than a genius. He was fascinated by nature, both it's beauty and it's power and tried to incorporate it in every part of his designs. The Cathedral is a work of art inspired by and made possible by imitating nature. Everyone should see it. But give yourself plenty of time. Just having a look at the inside would be like visiting the Louvre and only looking at the Mona Lisa.
The basement contains an incredible collection of models which Gaudi used to check the feasibility of his innovative designs. As with the iceberg, what we see on the surface is only a small sample of what the complete structure entails. The devil, as they say, is in the detail. There are lots of exhibits showing the source of his inspiration for many items e.g. the columns within the Cathedral mimick the shape of trees branching out.
Well its very important. Why? Because it's all about survival. A dead engineer is not much use
to anyone except the person next in line for promotion. With that in mind, and encouraged somewhat
by the appalling snow we had last winter, I decided to try out the skid-control course
at Mondello Park.
That was an interesting experience, real interesting! Having passed my driving test 4 years ago, I expected it to be pretty easy and that the instructor would probably praise my style of driving right from the start. Well, he didn't! Far from it! As soon as we hit the first corner, I knew I was in trouble and had a lot to learn.
The car they use is very interesting. It sits on a frame which has a set of smaller wheels mounted at the four corners. The height of the frame above ground can be adjusted by the instructor who is sitting in the car beside you. Lifting the car even slightly will affect the cars's grip on the road which simulates driving on a slippy surface such as snow or ice.
The nicest part of the course is at the end when you can drive around the track with confidence while watching the newcomers slide all over the place. Far from coming away over-confident, you come away with a lot more respect for just how easy it is to lose control of the car, but more importantly, you now know instinctively how to react.