Ingenia - Issue 50, March 2012


Data Innovation

Dr Scott Steedman CBE FREng

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In brief

Inspirational Technician Award; The Big Bang Fair; Carbon capture and storage collegium; Domestic heating report; Technology Horizons Award; Queen Elizabeth Prize; Academy new year reception

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Education, engineering and global competitiveness

Sir James Dyson CBE FREng

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Lord Drayson FREng

Driving force

The successful entrepreneur and three-time Minister of State is now developing the world’s first ‘Formula E’ electric racing car.
By Michael Kenward OBE

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Featured Article


Dr Scott Steedman CBE FREng and Derek Hanson FREng

This is the fiftieth edition of Ingenia and a chance to look back at some highlights

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An Airship Renaissance?

Dr Rebecca Pool

Part-aircraft, part-airship, the new class of flying machines that are being constructed for military and civilian use

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Creating stratospheric instrument platforms

Dr András Sóbester

With smartphones, GPS and 3D rapid prototyping, the ASTRA project transforms humble radiosondes into sophisticated and recoverable data capture devices

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Return of the Vulcan

Dr Robert Pleming

After a long fundraising campaign and restoration programme, the historic Vulcan bomber is flying again

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Straddling the Thames

Hugh Ferguson

How engineers have widened and rebuilt Blackfriars railway bridge to withstand barge strikes, accommodate increased Thameslink traffic, and house London’s largest solar array

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After-School Clubs

Anna Paczuska and Dr Scott Steedman CBE FREng

Engineering and STEM clubs in schools are on the rise, engaging a diverse range of students with projects involving robotics, smart materials, and programmable devices

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What's so clever about Smart Cities?

Rick Robinson and William Webb FREng

The availability of cheaper sensors, mobile communications and data processing have opened the door to smarter cities and infrastructure

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INNOVATION WATCH - Railway track reinforcement

Balfour Beatty’s XiTrack is an innovative polyurethane polymer that gels around the ballast beneath rail tracks to stabilise them

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How we use machines to code, scan and capture increasingly complex optical data

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Editorial Board

Editor-in-Chief Dr Scott Steedman CBE FREng
Managing Editor Dominic Joyeux
Copy Editor Emily Bick
Editorial Board Professor John Burland CBE FREng FRS
Derek Hanson FREng
Michael Kenward OBE
John Loughhead OBE FREng
Martin Manning FREng
Dr Ian Nussey OBE FREng
Professor William Stewart FREng
Professor Liz Tanner FREng
Professor William Webb FREng
Stephen Vranch FREng


Director, Policy & Public Affairs Beverley Parkin


The Royal Academy of Engineering acknowledges the generous support by the following organisations for Ingenia: ARUP, BAE Systems, ConocoPhillips, Lloyd's Register, Rolls-Royce plc

The Royal Academy of Engineering acknowledges the generous support by the following organisations for Ingenia:


ARUP Sponsor pictureARUP is a global firm of designers, engineers and business consultants providing a diverse range of professional services to our clients around the world. Sustainability underpins our work and the firm is the creative force behind many of the world’s most innovative and sustainable buildings, transport and civil engineering projects. Established 60 years ago, ARUP has nearly 9,000 employees, based in 86 offices in 37 countries, working on up to 10,000 projects at any one time. ARUP is a wholly-independent firm owned in trust on behalf of our staff. With no external shareholders, this independence enables us to shape our own direction with no outside pressure or influence.

- BAE Systems

BAE Systems Sponsor pictureBAE Systems is a global defence, aerospace and security company with approximately 84,600 employees worldwide and operations in the US, UK, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Australia and India. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services.

- ConocoPhillips

ConocoPhillips pictureConocoPhillips is an international, integrated energy company. As of 31 December 2010, it is the third-largest U.S. integrated energy company, based on market capitalisation, as well as proved reserves and production of oil and natural gas, and the largest refiner in the United States. ConocoPhillips is the seventh-largest holder of proved reserves and the fourth-largest refiner worldwide, of nongovernment-controlled companies. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, ConocoPhillips operates in more than 30 countries. As of 31 March 2011, the company had approximately 29,600 employees worldwide and assets of $160 billion. ConocoPhillips stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol COP.

- Lloyd's Register

Lloyd's Register Sponsor pictureLives and livelihoods depend on quality systems you will probably never see, ships, roads and railtracks on which you may never travel and distant production plants about which you have never heard.

The Lloyd’s Register Group is an organisation that works to enhance safety and to approve assets and systems at sea, on land and in the air. We check that assets and systems work so that people and communities around the world can get on with everyday life. We are driven by a strong sense that what we are doing matters.

To make this happen, we set, uphold and apply high technical standards of design, manufacture, construction, maintenance, operation and performance across many industries to the benefit of many businesses.

Lloyd’s Register stands apart: independent, objective, experienced and uncompromising in our commitment to helping our clients.

- Rolls-Royce plc

Rolls-Royce Sponsor pictureRolls-Royce depends on its ability to innovate and invests over £900 million on Research and Development, two-thirds of which is aimed at improving the environmental performance of its products and operations.

With annual sales of £11 billion, an order book of over £60 billion and 39,000 people employed globally, Rolls-Royce has manufacturing and service facilities in 50 countries. Our customer base comprises 500 airlines, 4,000 corporate and utility operators, 2,000 marine customers and 160 armed forces and energy customers in 120 countries. We have over 54,000 gas turbines in service worldwide which generate a demand for high-value services throughout their operational lives. Rolls-Royce service revenues have grown by ten per cent compound over the past decade, now representing 51 per cent of annual sales.

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