Sean Lawrence

Co-founder @ High Impact Engineers



I am a co-founder of High Impact Engineers where I help engineers maximise the impact they can have with their careers. Previously I did a PhD in mechanical and aerospace engineering.

How others can help me

  • Joining our network of physical engineers
  • Provide advice on community building
  • Help me learn more about the physical engineering needs in EA, both current and future

How I can help others

  • Providing access to a community of physical engineers
  • Discussing community building for a network of professionals


Topic contributions

Thanks for the comment Denis.

I have the same impression about on time. The idea of different duty cycles for different contexts is interesting. I could imagine a useful study looking at the effect of different duty cycles on plastic degradation and pathogen impression to identify the tradeoffs between the two. Perhaps there's a happy medium if you tie the duty study to building occupancy (otherwise a < 100% duty cycle of a full-power far-UVC system is the equivalent to a 100% duty cycle of a lower-power far-UVC system).

My feeling is that it will be hard to sell far-UVC as a tool only used in pandemics because that will limit the shorter-term upsides of the tech. For example, the cost savings from reducing employee sick leave in an office could be the most significant selling point for the tech in that context. Without that short-term upside, it begins to look more like an 'in case of emergency' system, much like fire sprinklers and extinguishers -- many people only install them because it's required by building code. 

On eye/skin damage, I found this article informative. My takeaway was that permanent eye/skin damage shouldn't be a concern but more studies are required to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the effects just in case (and also to help the tech pass regulation).

Coatings could work for retrofitting. There are also ways to make plastics UV stable at the point of manufacturing through additives to the plastic. So maybe retrofitting with UV-stable plastics in critical infrastructure contexts (ie. hospitals, airports, etc.) could be an option if UV stability is indeed a concern. I agree that the right research plan would answer these sorts of questions though.

I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about marketing over the past few weeks and found this really interesting. I think it will help me refine my thinking around our org's marketing strategy, thanks for sharing it!

I attended this talk not knowing much about mechanistic interpretability at all and came away quite excited about the idea of working on it. Particularly, I found that there were concepts and intuitions around MI that overlap or have similarities with fluid mechanics and turbulence, which were the focus of my PhD. This surprised me and I've since been looking into MI further as something I could work on in the future. 

I also think there could be similar transferable intuitions from other fields of physical engineering which I'm interested in exploring further to help other engineers transition into the field (as part of my work at High Impact Engineers).

Thanks for giving this talk and sharing such a comprehensive write-up, Neel!

This is a fantastic overview, thanks for sharing it! 
There are a few more 'Groups by profession' orgs in this post. (Although, the specifics of some of the groups may be out of date now). 

Have you looked into integrating any of these chatbots with Emacs through APIs?

Thanks for a great post. 

+1 to the following:

Often by the time projects receive funding they don’t know “what to do with the money” and start looking fast into fiscal sponsors or other ways to receive the funds

Specifically, this is a concern for projects that have more than one paid member as one person receiving the money for many people and then distributing it can have adverse tax implications for the person receiving the large lump sum. We were in this position last year, along with quite a few (5+) other orgs we were communicating with. Happy to discuss this more if it's helpful.

Physical engineering (i.e. not software engineering) is another option if you're interested in a STEM field. For some examples of projects you could work on with an engineering skillset you can look at . I'm not sure if it's the best undergraduate degree for research in biorisk but I think it's a valid option for biorisk more generally.

(Disclaimer: I help run High Impact Engineers)

Thanks for sharing this, I found it really interesting!

Are there any resources in particular (e.g. 1-3) that you would recommend for learning more about this topic?

Civilisational resilience is a cause area that we're definitely looking to add! If you've got any recommended starting points for engineers to learn more about the area, I'd love to know.

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