10 minutes with... Neil Sims

This month, we sat down with Neil Sims, co-director of the IDC, and Head of the Mechanical Engineering department to discuss his tennis dreams! Here's how he answered our lovely questions:

A photo of IDCMC staff

1. How did you get into engineering?

It definitely runs in the family - but I think the main motivation has been a fascination with 'how things work'.

2. Explain to us in basic terms what your research is about

I'm interested in vibration: why structures and machines vibrate, and how to stop them. Normally vibrations are 'bad', particularly for machining, so if you can stop the vibration then you can often make things more quickly, or more accurately.

3. If you didn't have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

All sorts of outdoor sports, so it's great being so close to the Peak District.

4. What job would you be terrible at?


5. What's the last book you've read?

A John Le Carre. Can't remember which one I'm up to now but I got into them after 'The Night Manager' was serialised on TV a few years ago.

6. What could you give a 30-minute presentation on, with absolutely no preparation?

An introduction to control engineering for mechanical engineers....

7. Where is the most interesting place you've been?

That's tricky to choose. The continental divide in America was surprisingly thought-provoking. And the limestone karst caves of Cat Ba Island, Vietnam.

8. What's the best concert you've attended?

This is showing my age but I'd probably say The Verve at Reading Festival in 1997.

9. What do you have in your pockets right now?

Keys. Question 7 was much more interesting.

10. Who would you like to swap places with for a day?

Hitting a backhand like Federer would be pretty amazing. But presumably, I'd still only have my own meagre sporting skills even after swapping places. So I'd probably try being a park ranger in Yosemite - I've never been there and it would be fun for a day.

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