Cafe Scientifique: Reaction Engines – Dr Emma Ryan

Tuesday 11th October 2022 3:00PM – 3:00PM
Location/Venue: Cellar Bar Kennaway House EX10 8NG

It’s not rocket science – An explanation as to why building engines for spacecraft isn’t rocket science.

The talk will cover the maths of rocket science, a brief history of space travel, why the engineering behind building rockets is more complex than the maths and science, and some complex thermodynamics using coloured plastic balls to demonstrate.

An introduction to SABRE (a synergic air breathe rocket engine) and how it works will be explored along with why it’ll change space travel and the impact it’ll have on Earth. There’ll also be discussion on how to become a rocket scientist and Emma’s career path to get there.

Dr Emma Ryan is Industrialisation Lead for Applied Technology at Reaction Engines. She directs efforts into ramping up from prototypes to low volume production for technology from SABRE. Her previous role at Reaction Engines was a development engineer, developing novel manufacturing techniques. She previously worked at Lockheed Martin UK in a similar role, industrialising 3D printed parts for space.

Emma is also a technical author of an international standard (BSI EN ISO 6010) on feedstock material for additive manufacturing. She was the Events Coordinator for the UK Mars Society, an active member of the ASTM Committee F42, a founding member of the Women in STEM committee at both Lockheed Martin and Reaction Engines and helped set up the first IOM3 accredited Student Materials Society.

She completed an engineering doctorate on improving the reproducibility of wire and arc additive manufacturing at the University of Surrey. She earned a BSc (Hons) in Physics at the University of Edinburgh where she specialised in astrophysics-based modules and had a summer internship at the Astronomy Technology Centre based at the Royal Observatory.

This talk is part of Ada Lovelace Day.