Celebrating the Patron Saint of…Engineering?

In my short tenure at SolidWorks I have learned that more things are connected to engineering than I ever thought possible. Take St. Patrick’s Day. I could tell you about all the beer mugs or beer taps or Irish products designed with SolidWorks, but that would be expected. But, did you know that the patron saint of Ireland is also considered the patron saint of engineering?

It’s at the bottom of the Wikipedia listing, hidden among the ways in which different cities celebrate. An engineering college in Rolla, Missouri has been celebrating St. Patrick, the legendary snake chaser, for the past week – in fact, the past century. After a little digging, I found out that the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is one of our customers, and gave them a call.

Missouri S&T’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration culminated on Saturday after a week of activities that began with underclassmen battering rubber snakes with large, decorative sticks called shillelaghs. Saturday’s parade featured the newly crowned “St. Pat” and his court cruising down the freshly painted Pine Street aboard the traditional manure spreader. This is the 103rd celebration at Missouri S&T since students at the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, as Missouri S&T was originally known, declared St. Patrick the patron saint of engineers. And just like the previous 102 events, it has been the “best ever.”

“Things get quite interesting,” says Richard Dalton, safety and shop operations manager of Missouri S&T’s Student Design & Experiential Learning Center (read their blog). He recalls a clever student who transformed the gnarled roots of a red cedar stump into a shillelagh so elaborate “it belonged in a museum. A lot of funny things go on.”

Celebrating Engineering

When speaking with Dalton, I learned that shillelaghs aren’t the most interesting tools on campus, and manure spreaders aren’t the most compelling vehicles. The antics of St. Pat’s are only one way in which the students celebrate engineering. “March is a great time to be a Missouri S&T student,” continued Dalton. “It’s a time to play hard, work hard, and watch the work part pay off.”

DSC_0168_2_2 The school’s Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) team is the current ASME HPV national champion in every speed class event, including design, presentation, male and female sprint races, and the 2 ½-hour endurance race. The school has placed in the top three eight of the last nine years. For seniors Adam Jankowski and David Long, key members of the team, St. Pat’s also indicates the upcoming start of the ASME HPV challenges.

For those of you who don’t know, an HPV is a fully fared recumbent bicycle – you lie back in it for optimum aerodynamics. It’s capable of speeds above what can generally be sustained on a traditional two-wheel racing bike, or upwards of 30 mph for a 60-mile endurance event.

DSC_1284_2 Jankowski and Long used SolidWorks CAD and SolidWorks Simulation software extensively in the design analysis of the speed vehicle designs, and have just begun performing aerodynamic simulation using SolidWorks Flow Simulation. To overcome stopping challenges, the team designed a bike with “landing gear” rather than adding a third wheel as many others do. When the bike slows to stop, a swing arm pops out of the fuselage and roller skate wheels touch down on the tarmac to steady the craft.

“There’s no way we would have been able to complete the landing gear assembly without SolidWorks and the simulation software,” says Long. “SolidWorks automatically performs calculations that would have slowed everything down if we had to do them on paper.”

Capture1 So when you raise your glass of green beer today to celebrate St. Patrick, remember to thank an engineer for designing the mug and the tap that made it possible. And toast Missouri S&T for introducing us to the Patron Saint of Engineering.

Adh mor ort, Missouri S&T.

Kristen Wilson

Kristen Wilson

Senior Manager Brand Offer Marketing, SolidWorks at Dassault Systemes
As the Senior Director of Communications, 3DEXPERIENCE Works, Kristen drives marketing strategy and oversees the team responsible for developing and executing multi-touch marketing plans across the Buyer's Journey, including 3DEXPERIENCE World.
Kristen Wilson
Kristen Wilson