Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Welcome back, Students! & The Tale of a Research Engineer.

The semester will start in less than a week now. Welcome back, students, to the academia of engineering for this current semester, January 2009 session.

"Do you have what it takes to go in there?"

This semester I will be teaching 2 subjects, and assist 3 others.

I will be teaching Physics I and Chemistry II, both using the empirical method of teaching, by means of physical experiments and observations. Which means I am seeing more than 20 headcounts in each of my classes. Four slots totaling roughly 80 students with plus-minus ten percent contingency.

I already have 3 FYP students - final year students that are running their one year duration Final Year Project - from last semester under my co-supervision, and I am expected to get another one or two more. My tasks are to supply them with adequate knowledge prior to their technology in interests, assist them with the engineering works and provide them my expertise in the energy field.

I will as well assist the ETP committee as the Document Master, some sort of book keeper who handles the data of more than 400 students who enrolled into Engineering Team Project subject this semester.

Other than that, I was asked personally by Dr Rohani to assist her in Human Resource Management, also as the Document Master. I may be called to assist her in monitoring tests too.

Today I was officially enrolled into a Research Team from Chemical Engineering Department to assist them with briquetting - a method to densify loose particles of matter - and am expected to start work immediately to prepare the briquettes by February since the team is participating in a national and international exhibitions.

Moving along, I am now still pushing the limit in order to prepare for a symposium which was scheduled to be on this Friday. I will be presenting my works so far in front of two senior lecturers - both are PhD holder, both are foreign - from Mechanical Engineering Department. One of them is Prof. Dr. Vijay R. Raghavan, the smartest guy in Mechanical Engineering Department, and as well as the most feared for his ability to notice even the slightest mistake in the project concepts.

I am seeing my biomass gasifier - a reactor that burns biomass under controlled oxyygen environment to produce flammable hydrogen and carbon monoxide gases to be used as both spark-ignition and compression engine fuel - to be finalized by the end of the month so that the construction can commence shortly after the starts of February. In April, it should have been ready for experimentations et cetera.

* * *

Some of my known associates oftenly teasing me for doing master's degree, when they have been travelling the globe into many engineering facilities, including plants and oilrigs. Sure, they make a lot of money (and high payment in tax too) while I do not (but my payment is tax-free).

But what I hardly accept was when they started to poke me by saying that working in laboratories was out of challenge and was no engineering at all. Being an egoistical man with virtues, my answer was:

"Sure. The difference between us is that your work is more challenging because you need to follow certain procedures precisely in order to ensure that the work is done as expected. This involves a lot of hardwork - you need to be extra careful, you need to read the procedures over and over, and you need to follow whatever the procedures instruct you to - and this will always burn you out and make your life miserable and depressed. And these kinds of procedures,"

(with cynical smile)

" I make them in the lab."


mInImOy said...

wah! who was that person?! come on man. im working in a lab too, and yes we do make the procedures for those so-called more challenged engineers.

urgh. ape. pikir keje lam lab ni senang ke? bleh jadi gila tau ka? crack my head and having to crush my brains to get bloody acceptable results.

like now, i have to be on watch for the bloody reactor for 24 hours. and im sleepy. and i can only get 3 hours of sleep later. again, urgh!!

Mohamad Nazmi Zaidi said...

haha. told ya.

ade la seorang tu. biarlh.

good luck with your 24-hour duty. I started to bleed from my eyes already due to nite session lab.