The Advanced Propulsion Centre is planning to build on the UK’s historic reputation for world leading engineering innovation as it joins the long and illustrious list of members at the Royal Institution (Ri).
A tour through the Ri’s Michael Faraday Museum and archives demonstrates the depth of scientific and engineering breakthroughs which occurred there: The very first electric motor complete with design notes; the first iron filing maps which demonstrated the electromagnetic field around a bar magnet; a hand written letter from William Grove outlining the design of the first fuel cell; an original letter from Einstein; and a Nobel Prize and the original notes on crystallography from William Lawrence Bragg that contributed to this recognition for him and his father William Henry Bragg (one of an impressive 15 Nobel Prizes associated with the Ri, including Dorothy Hodgkin’s 1964 award for her work on crystallography). Some of the first stainless steel alloys ever made can also be found within its walls.
The science and engineering of Michael Faraday, hero to Einstein, who worked most of his life at the Ri, is particularly relevant to the low carbon transport sector. Faraday was responsible for the invention of the electric motor, generator, discovering electromagnetic induction and playing a leading part in the development of the fields of electrochemistry and electromagnetism which shape much of our modern world – including battery and fuel cell electric and hybrid vehicles.
Today, the Ri is recognised globally as a leading centre for the promotion of science and engineering. From the heart of Mayfair the Ri hosts over 100 public events a year in the famous lecture theatre where Faraday and his peers used to hold spectacular and entertaining demonstrations of scientific experiments. The Ri was the first place to announce such diverse things as the invention of photography (announced by Faraday on behalf of William Fox Talbot in 1839), the discovery of the electron (by J.J. Thomson in 1897) and has always encouraged the leading scientists of the day to present their research to a public audience, such as Pierre and Marie Curie’s work in 1903. Today, the Ri’s online presence, the ‘Ri Channel’, has lectures from many of today’s leading scientists and engineers – supported by 195,000 followers it has received over 16,000,000 views.
The APC is already beginning to establish its own communities of excellence, centred on the world class research capabilities at some of the UK’s leading Universities – the ‘Spokes’. The Spokes will be involved in numerous events as part of the APC’s presence at the Ri, bringing together their communities and encouraging them to discuss the new and exciting breakthroughs happening around their technologies, and sparking collaborative conversations between partners who may never have met before.
Looking towards the next generation of engineering researchers and industrialists, the APC will work with the developers of the Ri Masterclass programmes to develop outreach programmes which explain to children of all ages both the science behind future transport and the exciting opportunities being an engineer can bring.
Mike Woodcock, National Network Programme Manager at the APC, said: ‘Membership of the Ri demonstrates the Advanced Propulsion Centre ambition to continue the great traditions of world leading science and engineering in the UK, and to build on the legacy of Michael Faraday and others to ensure that the next generation of British engineers and scientists deliver world changing technologies.’
You can find out more about the Royal Institution by visiting its website www.rigb.orgor join the conversation online by following @Ri_science on Twitter.