For our featured engineering students series I spoke to Colin Heffernan, a ’15 who’s here this summer taking ENGS 22: Systems, in Thayer. The course seeks to teach students how to analyze electrical, mechanical, reacting, fluid, and thermal systems.
When I asked Colin what he thinks he’s learned from the class, he’s quick to say that this class has shown him how complex real systems actually and how to apply first and second order differential equations that are derived in class to the real systems that they’re studying.
Colin says the course is very interesting, “because we talk about the systems that we studied in our pre-req and introductory courses, but … with the skill to actually analyze them. Instead of assuming away complicating factors like friction and drag, this course teaches us how to account and adjust for them.”
Heffernan enjoys the class because Professor Trembly, he says, “has great attention to detail, and successfully gives students an effective intuition that teaches them how to efficiently break down these problems. Professor Trembly also helps students to learn critical shortcuts and approximations necessary for the engineering process that aren’t normally taught in similar engineering courses.
The other great aspect of the class that’s great, Heffernan says, is that it reflects what he calls “real engineering.” For example, “in one of our labs, we had the chance to develop a differential equation for the motion of an air car. We got to move the car a couple of times, and our grade on the lab was our percentage error subtracted from 100. While getting points taken off is never fun, Professor Tremble’s system closely mimics the real engineering world.”