I retired in April 2013 after 25 years as a librarian at the British Library specialising in inventions. This included running numerous workshops; writing books on inventions and a work blog; carrying out searches for clients; and one-to-one meetings with inventors. [more]


20 August 2014

Everyday miracles TV series

Last night was the first episode of Everyday miracles: the genius of sofas, stockings and scanners on BBC4.

The hour-long programme had Mark Miodownik of the Open University explaining in a very engaging style the stories behind how products we take for granted such as plywood, razors and stockings have their specific properties. It is often a matter of combining two materials to give a product specific desired properties. I particularly loved the example of how nylon could be drawn endlessly from a beaker with two liquids in it, with the material being generated where the two layers meet. The excitement of making something work was, for me, vividly conveyed.

I always say that we can't take any manufactured product for granted -- no matter how mundane it is, someone had to think it up, design it, and work out an efficient and cost-effective way of manufacturing it.

That was the "home" episode" and there will be a further "away" episode (on travel) on the 26th. They can be seen for a limited period by UK residents on the BBC website for Everyday Miracles.

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