UCL CENTRE FOR LANGUAGES & INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION (CLIE)

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To most of us, viruses are the cause of illnesses like flu and measles. But to Angela Belcher of MIT, they’re the ideal building blocks for creating new materials at close to the atomic scale, in the new science of nanotechnology.

To most of us, viruses are the cause of illnesses like flu and measles. But to Angela Belcher of MIT, they’re the ideal building blocks for creating new materials at close to the atomic scale, in the new science of nanotechnology.

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When I returned to this Engineering Department from the USA in 1984 my wife and I bought an historic and wonderful house some ten miles south of Cambridge. It was built around 1520, a date that could be substantiated to within a decade by the form of the oak beams that comprised its floors and ceilings. These had been shaped by iron blades that only lasted about ten years. Being someone of the present rather than the past I had not previously been much preoccupied with history but living in the splendid oak structure - like a fine sailing vessel that had gone aground - inspired me to wonder what had preoccupied the technologists and scientists of that age...

When I returned to this Engineering Department from the USA in 1984 my wife and I bought an historic and wonderful house some ten miles south of Cambridge. It was built around 1520, a date that could be substantiated to within a decade by the form of the oak beams that comprised its floors and ceilings. These had been shaped by iron blades that only lasted about ten years. Being someone of the present rather than the past I had not previously been much preoccupied with history but living in the splendid oak structure - like a fine sailing vessel that had gone aground - inspired me to wonder what had preoccupied the technologists and scientists of that age...

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Since time immemorial people have been entranced by structures of great size. From the Colossus of Rhodes and the Great Pyramid, themselves no mean technical achievements, to the mighty Cunard 'Queens' built here in Glasgow, and whichever is transiently the tallest building in the world, beholders have gaped at the gigantic. One simple attraction has been that of comparative scale, so many times the size of a man or a horse or of Nelson's column, as popular illustrations used to show. It was easy for the bystander immediately to apprehend the vast size of these objects...

Since time immemorial people have been entranced by structures of great size. From the Colossus of Rhodes and the Great Pyramid, themselves no mean technical achievements, to the mighty Cunard 'Queens' built here in Glasgow, and whichever is transiently the tallest building in the world, beholders have gaped at the gigantic. One simple attraction has been that of comparative scale, so many times the size of a man or a horse or of Nelson's column, as popular illustrations used to show. It was easy for the bystander immediately to apprehend the vast size of these objects...

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Almost exactly 93 years ago tonight, on 15 April 1912, over two thousand terrified and bewildered people found themselves with little warning drifting or drowning in the ice-cold North Atlantic. Only 712 of them survived that night. They were, of course, the passengers, officers, and crew of the White Star steamship Titanic, and they were in a sense victims of 'failures' of technology…

Almost exactly 93 years ago tonight, on 15 April 1912, over two thousand terrified and bewildered people found themselves with little warning drifting or drowning in the ice-cold North Atlantic. Only 712 of them survived that night. They were, of course, the passengers, officers, and crew of the White Star steamship Titanic, and they were in a sense victims of 'failures' of technology…

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Four thousand years ago, just 5 miles north of present day Thetford, our Neolithic ancestors began what may have been the largest early industrial process in these islands. This is the site that the Anglo-Saxons called 'Grimes Graves' and it contains nearly four hundred mine-shafts, built to extract high-quality flints, which could be chipped to produce sharp cutting edges. Using nothing but tools of bone and wood and presumably the flints themselves, these ancient people excavated to a depth of up to twelve metres, to reach the buried flints. It has been calculated that the miners needed to remove 1000 tonnes of waste to produce eight tonnes of flint. The site covers nearly 40 hectares and the whole project is astonishing...

Four thousand years ago, just 5 miles north of present day Thetford, our Neolithic ancestors began what may have been the largest early industrial process in these islands. This is the site that the Anglo-Saxons called 'Grimes Graves' and it contains nearly four hundred mine-shafts, built to extract high-quality flints, which could be chipped to produce sharp cutting edges. Using nothing but tools of bone and wood and presumably the flints themselves, these ancient people excavated to a depth of up to twelve metres, to reach the buried flints. It has been calculated that the miners needed to remove 1000 tonnes of waste to produce eight tonnes of flint. The site covers nearly 40 hectares and the whole project is astonishing...

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When Ralph Waldo Emerson reputedly and memorably said that the world would beat a path to the door of a person who made a better mousetrap, he was perhaps being unduly optimistic, but at least he realised that the mousetrap had to be made and that it would not be sufficient merely to have an idea, or even a patent, for a better mouse trap. Ideas have to be proven to be useful, and the world told about them, before any paths are beaten. Profound changes have taken place in the development of ideas and their translation in to the market place and in my third Reith lecture I argue that this innovation revolution demands a new approach to research and product development...

When Ralph Waldo Emerson reputedly and memorably said that the world would beat a path to the door of a person who made a better mousetrap, he was perhaps being unduly optimistic, but at least he realised that the mousetrap had to be made and that it would not be sufficient merely to have an idea, or even a patent, for a better mouse trap. Ideas have to be proven to be useful, and the world told about them, before any paths are beaten. Profound changes have taken place in the development of ideas and their translation in to the market place and in my third Reith lecture I argue that this innovation revolution demands a new approach to research and product development...

  • Measurements and their Uncertainties - A Practical Guide to Modern Error Analysis

  • Ifan G. Hughes & Thomas P.A. Hase , Oxford University Press , 2010

This hands-on guide is primarily intended to be used in undergraduate laboratories in the physical sciences and engineering. It assumes no prior knowledge of statistics. It introduces the necessary concepts where needed, with key points illustrated with worked examples and graphic illustrations. In contrast to traditional mathematical treatments it uses a combination of spreadsheet and calculus-0based approaches, suitable as a quick and easy on-the-spot reference. The emphasis throughout is on practical strategies to be adopted in the laboratory.

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This hands-on guide is primarily intended to be used in undergraduate laboratories in the physical sciences and engineering. It assumes no prior knowledge of statistics. It introduces the necessary concepts where needed, with key points illustrated with worked examples and graphic illustrations. In contrast to traditional mathematical treatments it uses a combination of spreadsheet and calculus-0based approaches, suitable as a quick and easy on-the-spot reference. The emphasis throughout is on practical strategies to be adopted in the laboratory.

  • Oxford English for Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (Answer Book with teaching notes)

  • Eric H. Glendinning & Norman Glendinning , Oxford University Press , 1995

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Following the challenges involved in building Hinkley Point C, one of Europe’s largest projects and the first new nuclear power station in Britain for a generation.

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Following the challenges involved in building Hinkley Point C, one of Europe’s largest projects and the first new nuclear power station in Britain for a generation.

A series of documentaries examining the history of local people, places, inventions and events that changed the world. Adam Hart-Davis tells the remarkable story of Thomas Newcomen, the Devon man who invented the world's first working steam-powered engine.

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A series of documentaries examining the history of local people, places, inventions and events that changed the world. Adam Hart-Davis tells the remarkable story of Thomas Newcomen, the Devon man who invented the world's first working steam-powered engine.

Chris Tarrant discovers how one simple invention revolutionised the industrial heart of Britain. He travels by narrow boat to see how the Brindley Lock created a canal network that would transform the Midlands from rural backwater to industrial giant.

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Chris Tarrant discovers how one simple invention revolutionised the industrial heart of Britain. He travels by narrow boat to see how the Brindley Lock created a canal network that would transform the Midlands from rural backwater to industrial giant.

Coal had powered Britain's industrial rise, with her mills and furnaces, railways and steamships depending on it. In the peak years a million men laboured in the mines, many in poor and dangerous working conditions like those contributor Dick Martin found when he began as pit boy aged 14.

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Coal had powered Britain's industrial rise, with her mills and furnaces, railways and steamships depending on it. In the peak years a million men laboured in the mines, many in poor and dangerous working conditions like those contributor Dick Martin found when he began as pit boy aged 14.

  • Brave New World With Stephen Hawking

  • Channel 4

Professor Stephen Hawking examines how science is striving for humankind's next leap forward

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Professor Stephen Hawking examines how science is striving for humankind's next leap forward

The team showcase breakthroughs in technology and engineering that are creating a new generation of machines.

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The team showcase breakthroughs in technology and engineering that are creating a new generation of machines.

The experts examine how scientists are fighting for our survival by battling the world's big killer diseases.

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The experts examine how scientists are fighting for our survival by battling the world's big killer diseases.

Science turns superhero as it battles to save the planet and preserve the human race.

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Science turns superhero as it battles to save the planet and preserve the human race.

The experts unearth the amazing breakthroughs that are transforming the resilience and strength of the human body.

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The experts unearth the amazing breakthroughs that are transforming the resilience and strength of the human body.

A century and a half ago, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Britain's most famous engineer, was about to launch a ship five times bigger than any that had ever been built before, the most revolutionary vessel the world had ever seen: the SS Great Eastern.

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A century and a half ago, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Britain's most famous engineer, was about to launch a ship five times bigger than any that had ever been built before, the most revolutionary vessel the world had ever seen: the SS Great Eastern.

The project sees its biggest lift to date using the world’s largest land-based crane. Meanwhile, we learn about the extensive flood defence system, and specialists work to uncover unexploded bombs.

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The project sees its biggest lift to date using the world’s largest land-based crane. Meanwhile, we learn about the extensive flood defence system, and specialists work to uncover unexploded bombs.

A team of experts try to recreate astounding feats of engineering. Prof Chris Wise and Dr Caroline Baillie attempt to build a replica of the first submarine.

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A team of experts try to recreate astounding feats of engineering. Prof Chris Wise and Dr Caroline Baillie attempt to build a replica of the first submarine.

The unexpected marriage of high-tech glamour with the gritty reality of 1970s Northern Ireland captured the public's imagination but this early optimism would end in failure. Although the cars looked great, the windows leaked and the engines seized; as his financial problems mounted the maverick DeLorean faced charges of drugs trafficking. Adrian Dunbar narrates the story.

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The unexpected marriage of high-tech glamour with the gritty reality of 1970s Northern Ireland captured the public's imagination but this early optimism would end in failure. Although the cars looked great, the windows leaked and the engines seized; as his financial problems mounted the maverick DeLorean faced charges of drugs trafficking. Adrian Dunbar narrates the story.

When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon in 1969, America went down in popular history as the winner of the space race. But that history is bunk. The real pioneers of space exploration were the Soviet cosmonauts.

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When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon in 1969, America went down in popular history as the winner of the space race. But that history is bunk. The real pioneers of space exploration were the Soviet cosmonauts.

It's a voyage of exploration like no other - to Titan, Saturn's largest moon and thought to resemble our own early Earth. For a small team of British scientists this would be the culmination of a lifetime's endeavour - the flight alone, some 2 billion miles, would take a full seven years. This is the story of the space probe they built, the sacrifices they made and their hopes for the landing.

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It's a voyage of exploration like no other - to Titan, Saturn's largest moon and thought to resemble our own early Earth. For a small team of British scientists this would be the culmination of a lifetime's endeavour - the flight alone, some 2 billion miles, would take a full seven years. This is the story of the space probe they built, the sacrifices they made and their hopes for the landing.

  • Engineering Giants

  • BBC

The world's most enormous machines are stripped down and torn apart to discover their hidden secrets and to reveal out how each one has changed our world in its own unique way

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The world's most enormous machines are stripped down and torn apart to discover their hidden secrets and to reveal out how each one has changed our world in its own unique way

Engineer turned comedian Tom Wrigglesworth and Rob Bell, rising star of mechanical engineering, climb on board Victor X-ray, a 200 ton, £200 million Boeing 747.

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Engineer turned comedian Tom Wrigglesworth and Rob Bell, rising star of mechanical engineering, climb on board Victor X-ray, a 200 ton, £200 million Boeing 747.

Engineer turned comedian Tom Wrigglesworth and Rob Bell, rising star of mechanical engineering, tell the story as an entire North Sea Gas installation, the Lima Platform, is pulled from the sea by floating cranes, brought back to Newcastle, and then torn into tiny pieces for recycling.

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Engineer turned comedian Tom Wrigglesworth and Rob Bell, rising star of mechanical engineering, tell the story as an entire North Sea Gas installation, the Lima Platform, is pulled from the sea by floating cranes, brought back to Newcastle, and then torn into tiny pieces for recycling.

Engineer turned comedian Tom Wrigglesworth and Rob Bell, rising star of mechanical engineering, climb on board the Pride of Bruges, a massive, 25,000 tonne North Sea ferry as it is brought into dry dock in Newcastle.

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Engineer turned comedian Tom Wrigglesworth and Rob Bell, rising star of mechanical engineering, climb on board the Pride of Bruges, a massive, 25,000 tonne North Sea ferry as it is brought into dry dock in Newcastle.

Mark Miodownik reveals 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.

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Mark Miodownik reveals 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.

Professor Mark Miodownik concludes his odyssey of the stuff of modern life. This time he looks at how materials have enabled us to indulge our curiosity about the world around us.

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consumerismengineeringmanufacturingmodern worldraw materialsscience

Professor Mark Miodownik concludes his odyssey of the stuff of modern life. This time he looks at how materials have enabled us to indulge our curiosity about the world around us.

Engineer Jem Stansfield is used to creating explosions, but in this programme he uncovers the story of how we have learnt to control them and harness their power for our own means.

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Engineer Jem Stansfield is used to creating explosions, but in this programme he uncovers the story of how we have learnt to control them and harness their power for our own means.