Engineering Culture

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

The relationship between culture and materials is most obviously demonstrated in the naming of ages of civilizations after materials, such as the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. The defining material of the Victorian era, steel, allowed engineers to give full rein to their dreams of creating suspension bridges, railways, steam engines, and passenger liners. In doing so, engineers used steel as a material manifesto to transform the landscape and to sow the seeds of modernism. The twentieth century is often referred to as the age of silicon, in reference the materials breakthrough that gave rise to the silicon chip and digital computing. But this is to overlook the kaleidoscope of new materials that revolutionised twentieth century living. Architects took the new mass-produced sheet glass and combined it with structural steel to produce skyscrapers that invented a new type of city life. Product designers and fashion designers took the new plastics and transformed the home and fashion. Polymers were used to produce celluloid and in doing so ushered in the biggest change in visual culture for a thousand of years, the cinema. The development of aluminium alloys and nickel superalloys allowed us to fly cheaply and changed the rate at which cultures collided. Medical and dental ceramics allowed us rebuild ourselves and change the social context of disability and age. As the term plastic surgery itself implies, materials are often the key to new treatments used to repair a patient's faculties (hip replacements) or to enhance their features (silicone implants for breast modification). The Gunter von Hagen's Bodyworlds exhibition and Stelarc's plastic surgery experiments, also testify to the cultural influence of new biomaterials and illustrate that materials are not confined by discipline boundaries. Thus the twentieth century witnessed a materials revolution in which new materials played a central role in transforming architecture, product design, urban design, fashion, transport technology, medicine and the visual arts. I could describe a similar picture for many other branches of science and engineering, and so it is clear that it is not remotely possible to separate the development of music from science and engineering nor is it possible to separate art, design, architecture, film, or fashion, and yet, somehow, incredibly, we as a society have managed to do it. My agenda in all my public and media engagement activities is simple, to reinforce the message that science and engineering are part of culture, not separate from it. I will write for National newspapers, and develop TV and Radio programme ideas that explore this theme with interested production companies, and to pitch these to broadcasters.I will fight for more recognision for engineers, especially their role in project thats win high profile prizes such as Sterling prize for architecture, and the Turner prize for contemporary art.I will continue respond to media requests for TV and Radio interviews on breaking materials science and engineering stories, but also to be pro-active in alerting journalists to new research results.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Chef versus Science: The Ultimate Kitchen Challenge 
Description A 90 minute documentary film about the science and art of food. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Viewed in 200 countries worldwide on BBC World. 
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0752bbd
 
Title DVD - This Working Life:Steel 
Description A series of films and a DVD set, at the British Film Institute, to celebrate British Steel Making 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact Events in the UK. DVD sold in the UK. 
URL http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/bfi-news/this-working-life-steel-introduction
 
Title Deconstructing Demolition Film 
Description Dr Hilary Powell and Prof Julian Evans received a small research grant for work on the project 'Metal Skies and Shades of Brick: Urban Print and Palette' to put the physical remnants of industrial decline to creative use. Hilary salvaged an array of materials from the demolition site and using these to create images of processes and sites of urban change. Reclaimed roofing zinc and copper were used as etching plates and heavy demolition machinery became alternative printing presses. Using specialist machinery (like vibroenergy mills) and expertise within the Chemistry department, the team developed a palette of intaglio ink pigments and washes made from ubiquitous urban materials ground to micron-size powders. London stock brick ink became the urban alternative to burnt sienna/ochre, lime mortar is used for off-white, chimney soot becomes the original lamp black and manganese-rich brick stock is used for red and purple tones. This project was documented and the film - 'Deconstructing Demolition' - can be seen on the dedicated project website: www.demolitionsite.net. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact 'Deconstructing Demolition' was premiered as part of a series of events on the theme of demolition, put together for the UCL Urban Lab's film series in February 2014: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/urbanlab/events/deconstructing-demolition-scrap-and-salvage. On the basis of this work, Hilary Powell also has an article on technique and process in 'Printmaking Today', Spring 2014. 
URL http://demolitionsite.net
 
Title Pop Up Pop Up Book 
Description Dr Hilary Powell (Bartlett School of Architecture) produced a pop-up artists' book, 'Legend: An A-Z of the Lea Valley', as part of a public engagement event in an industrial building in Stratford, East London. The book was designed in collaboration with numerous practitioners, including the London Centre for Book Arts and Calverts Cooperative Press, and various 'pop-up apprentices' from departments all around UCL. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact 'Legend' was Winner of Birgit Skiold Award as part of the London Art Book Fair 2014 at the Whitechapel Gallery (September 2014). It was also acquired by both the V&A National Art Library and the Saison Poetry Library, featuring in their New Acquisitions open day display until Sunday 16th November 2014. It will also feature in the Moveable Book Society's January 2015 newsletter. 
URL http://www.popuppopup.net
 
Title TED-Ed Animation - Why is glass transparent 
Description An animation which explains why glass is transparent. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact 1,291,543 views so far 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwRLIt6jgdM
 
Title TV Programme - Secrets of the Super Elements 
Description Forget oil, coal and gas - a new set of materials is shaping our world and they're so bizarre they may as well be alien technology. In the first BBC documentary to be filmed entirely on smartphones, material scientist Prof Mark Miodownik reveals the super elements that underpin our high-tech world. We have become utterly dependent on them, but they are rare and they're already running out. The stuff that makes our smartphones work could be gone in a decade and our ability to feed the world depends mostly on a mineral found in just one country. Mark reveals the magical properties of these extraordinary materials and finds out what we can do to save them 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Greater public understanding of materials science and engineering 
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08rv9r6
 
Title TV Series - Everyday Miracles 
Description Two programmes that reveal the amazing stories behind everyday objects of desire and how they are miraculously transformed from raw materials into the very stuff of the modern world. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2014 
Impact Broadcast on BBC4 in the UK. Viewing figures unknown. 
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04fd6s9
 
Title TV Series - How It Works 
Description A three part TV series on materials science broadcast on BBC4. One hour programme on the Metals, one on Cermaics and one on Plastics. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2012 
Impact Seen by millions it was repeated several times on UK TV, broadcast on BBC Worldwide to more than 200 countries. 
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01fm490/episodes/guide
 
Title TV series - Dara O'Brien's Science CLub 
Description TV magazine show including science guests, demonstrations and reports. It ran for two series of six one hour programmes. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact Broadcast on BBC2 and on BBC Worldwide - audience of millions in more than 200 countries. My How-To Guides still widely downloaded. 
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b037mkj3
 
Title TV series - Genius of Invention 
Description A four part TV series broadcast on BBC2 examining the inventions that led to the electrical, the transport and the communication revolutions that shaped the modern world. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2013 
Impact Seen by millions on BBC2 and BBC Worldwide to more than 200 countries. 
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qb0p5
 
Title TV series - Size Matters 
Description The 2010 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures televised as a three part TV series aimed at children and young people on the important of scale in understanding materials science and engineering. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2010 
Impact Seen by millions in the UK and worldwide. DVD and booklet distributed to UK Schools. 
URL http://richannel.org/christmas-lectures/2010/2010-mark-miodownik
 
Description This was a media fellowship that allowed me to develop my skills as a writer and broadcaster. It also allowed me to employ a research assistant to help with my research into biological materials.
Exploitation Route More scientists and engineers need to get involved with the media.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Electronics,Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmace

URL http://www.markmiodownik.net
 
Description Many more scientists and engineers are now getting involved with the media. The important of supporting active research scientists to continue their research while interacting with the media is understand by many senior leaders.
First Year Of Impact 2008
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Construction,Creative Economy,Education,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Transport
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Title Design-led Materials Research MOOC 
Description A on-line course taking users through a case-study in design-led materials research. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Free - worldwide. 
URL http://www.instituteofmaking.org.uk/research/online-course
 
Title Introduction to Steel MOOC 
Description This course is an introduction to steel, exploring its history and cultural context, where it comes from, how it works, why we use so much of it, and how we might use it in the future. The following concepts will be covered: The basics of steel smelting The properties of steel and their origins Its relationship with society The sustainability of a world underpinned by steel The course is delivered in a lively manner using everyday examples, demonstrations, and film footage of steel making. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact The MOOC Introduction to Steel was released in self-paced format last September, 1st. During these two months, 4,969 participants (see attachment for details) enrolled to the course and 27% of them got an edX Honor Code Certificate. It's amazing to know that 12,568 participants from 133 countreies (1st edition + self-paced format) have enrolled to the course to learn about Steel and its properties. 
URL https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-steel-tenarisuniversity-steel101x#.VSbjnReaQ1g
 
Description BBC Radio 4 Start The Week: Materials Culture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We discussed for 45 minutes the relationship between politics, art, and materials science and engineering in materials culture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06bgbvx
 
Description BBC Radio 4 Today Prorgamme: Defending Art History A-Level 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interviewed on the BBC Radio 4's Today Programme about the proposed closure of Art History A-Level. They were interested in the views of Engineers like me. I argued for a broad curriculum including art history as vital for modern engineering education.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07zv3gf
 
Description BBC website: how to make a perfect cup of tea 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interactive website with video content
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zsbv9qt
 
Description Cheltenham Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk on the Science of Chips
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Contributor to BBC Radio 4 news and cultural programmes 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 1. BBC Radio 4 - The Science of Dr Seuss - Contributor - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b085z058?ns_mchannel=social& - 2nd Jan 2017

2. BBC Radio 4 - Print Me A New Body - Contributor - - 5th June 2017 - BBC Radio 4 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08rq6dl

3. BBC Radio 4 - The Science of Cake - Contributor - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1pSjKGxlHPVkFYvzp34CVjM/how-science-can-help-you-bake-the-perfect-sponge-cake - 25th Sept 2017

4. BBC Radio 4 Today Programme - The Science of Crisp Packets - Contributor -- http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05qbsq8 - 7th Dec 2017

5. BBC Radio 4 PM Programme - The Problem with Plastics - Contributor - 17th, 18th and 19th 2018 Jan http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qskw
6. BBC World Service Newshour Programme 17th Jan 2018: - The Problem with Plastics - Contributor : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w172vr1kyqhhhfs

7. BBC Radio 4 - A Good Read - 24th Feb 2018 - Contributor: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09snj94
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Public Talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 1. Cheltenham Science Festival, June 25,000 visitor - https://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/science/ - June 2017

2. New Scientist Live - Sept 30,000 visitors - https://live.newscientist.com/ - 22nd Sept 2017

3. IET Engineering Festival -http://www.engfest.org/ - 17th Oct 2017

4. Three Physics in Action talks to 800 A-level student held in London - - Nov, Dec 2017 & March 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description Radio Programme - Science of Dr Seuss 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Contributor to radio programme - on the science of non-newtonian liquids.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Stoke Lunar Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Public talk with MP for Stoke on Trent Tristram Hunt - for Lunar Society in preparation for City of Culture 2021 bid.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description University of Chester Christams Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Materials Science and Engineering schools talk.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016