National 5

FRACTIONS, DECIMALS AND PERCENTAGES

SUBJECTS STUDIED AT SCHOOL

French

ROB HEATON

Retired

O Levels in:

FURTHER EDUCATION:

BSc Electrical Engineering & Electronics, MSc Digital Systems & Instrumentation

A Levels in:

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German

English Language

English Literature

Maths

French

German

Maths

Physics

CAREER JOURNEY SO FAR

Engineer working on military manpack radios (Racal BCC)

Design engineer working on microwave radio links for outside broadcasting (BBC)

Communications projects manager responsible for research projects (Mitsubishi Electric ITE)

Technical manager responsible for microwave radio communications (CML)

Now retired

FUTURE ASPIRATIONS

To assist the IET (Institute of Engineering & Technology) and others to encourage young people to
take an interest in a career in Science & Engineering.

Q&A WITH ROB

What does your company/organisation do?

Mitsubishi Electric VIL carried out research work dedicated to digital video broadcasting, also to improvements to GPS (global positioning system) receivers and to improvements to collision avoidance radar for cars. Other work involved the latest techniques in video processing.

What types of activities do you do in your job?

Research typically involves looking for ideas by any means possible then making a model using
computer software initially. The idea can then be tested and compared with other known ideas to see if the new idea has promise. Later a hardware model can be constructed and measurements can be taken to check the efficacy of the software simulation. Finally a patent can be applied for or a paper published.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A typical day could involve reading research papers, attending meetings, reading and writing reports and interacting with other members of the team. The aim is to work together in order to find new ways of dealing with communication problems related to digital signal processing, such as synchronisation, channel estimation and dealing with errors occurring during digital transmission, in order to produce patents or make discoveries.

What are your favourite things about your job?

One of the favourite aspects about working in research and development was the opportunity to travel and meet other experts and academics working in similar areas of activity.

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HOW ROB USES FRACTIONS, DECIMALS AND PERCENTAGES AT WORK

Science uses very small and very large numbers. For example the power output of a transmitter might be 100 kW (100,000 Watts) and a received signal level may be 0.001 uW (1/1000th of a micro Watt). Using fractions, decimals and percentages makes it easy to compare numbers such as efficiencies, a unit that is 90% efficient against one that is only 10% efficient.

ACTIVITIES

Assume that we are in the business of selling expensive communications equipment and we want to encourage our customers to pay on time. The cost of our equipment is £5,000.00 and we want to make a profit of 20%. To encourage our customers to pay on time, we add an additional percentage and offer them a 2% discount if they pay on time. What is the price that we quote to our customer, which includes the added discount.