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Long Road Physics students win Marshall Launchpad competition and trip to CERN

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Congratulations to Physics A level students Josh Chapman, Josh Emery, Thomas Lucas and Eliot Mann (in photo above) on winning the Marshall Launchpad bridge design competition. Marshall is now organising a trip to CERN for our students, who are now designated as Marshall’s Scholars. David Jones, head of Physics, reports:

At the start of 2016 local sixth-form students were given a civil engineering brief by Marshall as part of the Marshall’s Cambridge Launchpad Scholarship award:

Marshall want to be able to transport state-of-the-art containers to Ely by barge along the River Cam. However, there are three bridges en route, and in order to be granted permission to move the containers, Marshalls need to devise non-fixed bridges for two of the road crossings: at Clayhithe Road near Waterbeach and under the A1123. These bridges must be moveable / opening.

In order to progress to the next round, each team of 4-6 students had to:

  • Research bridges that open to allow objects to pass underneath
  • Produce a report showing their research and solution to the problem presented on the project brief
  • Present their research and solution to a panel of engineering judges

The top team from each sixth form was invited to Marshall to take part in the next round. This involved a day at Marshall with three hours to build the model bridge the team had designed in the previous round. All teams had the same amount of the same materials and were marked on the opening mechanism, strength/weight ratio, teamwork and penalised on use of extra materials.

We also had a guided tour of the hangars to see the type of work Marshalls are currently completing with a brief history of the company.

It took the Marshalls’ team an extremely long time to bring down Josh, Thomas, Josh and Eliot’s bridge, so Long Road was the winning sixth-form college against some stiff competition (each row in the photo above shows the building and preparation for testing process).

In addition to the trip to CERN, which is likely to take place in July 2017, our Marshall Scholars will also be helping as ambassadors at the Marshall Stars Engineering Festival to enthuse younger students on the Marshall programme.

This is a brilliant opportunity for our students to work together on a realistic engineering project. We had an excellent response from our students to the initial visit and presentation by Marshall, and this came to fruition in the excellent and innovative approach taken by our students. I would also like to commend the second Long Road team (in photo below: Molly Goddard (left), Callum Friel (second left) and Emily How (second right) with Marshall Engineers David and Liam), which may not have made the final at Marshall but nonetheless devised an excellent solution to the bridge-crossing task. We are very grateful to Marshall for devising such an excellent scheme to inspire the engineers of the future.