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Inventive Podcast

Mixing Engineering Fact and Fiction

Meet inspiring and diverse engineers whose ground-breaking work is making a difference and inspiring writers who create compelling fiction.Engineering is at the heart of being human: for thousands of years we’ve been inv
12/5/2021

Episode 11: Jack Haworth

Season 2, Ep. 5
Put your headphones on and take some time out to listen to this episode. Your ears are in for a treat! Thanks to Adam at Overtone Productions, we're bringing you outstanding sound design in the final episode of this series.Inventive Podcast is all about mixing fact and fiction - featuring engineers whose work is transforming the world we live in and award-winning writers who transform their stories. We have another first for you in this episode as we feature sublime poetry from Katrina Porteous interwoven with presenter Trevor Cox's interview with electrical engineer Jack Haworth. Jack works with robots designed for extreme environments at the clean-up of the Sellafield nuclear site.When he was at school, Jack thought he was going to university to study business and become the next Alan Sugar. But he took the long road into engineering instead. On the graduate scheme at Sellafield, he's working with machines that go where human beings can't - inspecting outdoor areas for radiation and highly radioactive nuclear cells. But what about the darker side of robotics? Will they put people out of work or even take over? And what made him choose an industry with such a bad reputation?Katrina doesn't have any qualifications in science – not even a GCSE! But she's worked for many years with scientists and she believes the distinction between the arts and sciences is an extremely unhelpful one. It's all about imagination – for engineers and artists, it's all about imagining new worlds.Katrina's poem is a response to Jack's chat with Trevor, interwoven throughout the episode, and explores themes that include how the data-driven systems that increasingly dominate our world may impact on our freedom and, on a more optimistic note, how we may gain more freedom by the possibilities for interaction between human consciousness and machine learning.A informative and highly creative listen!What did you think of the episode? We're evaluating Inventive. Please fill in our listener survey
11/17/2021

Episode 10: Larissa Suzuki

Season 2, Ep. 4
A fascinating insight into how AI will influence how cities operate in the future and the ethics of collecting big data.Larissa Suzuki is a polymath – she's a computer scientist, engineer, entrepreneur, writer, inventor, and philanthropist. She was awarded the Engineer of the Year at the Engineering Talent Awards 2021 and the Royal Engineering Society's Rooke Award and she made The Guardian's Top 50 Women in Engineering.She has one foot in academia and the other in industry – she's an Honorary Associate Professor at University College London and she's a Data Scientist at Google working on Artificial Intelligence for Smart Cities and the Interplanetary Internet – that involves connecting devices and satellites to ensure we have connectivity to provide services to the international space station and remote planets.Larissa is autistic and she tells Trevor Cox that it's important that companies hire people who don't fit a particular profile as that's not the way to create better products and be more successful. She's an advocate for women in STEM. The pioneering computer scientists were women, so why were they not given credit for their achievements?Trevor and Larissa delve deep into the ethics of collecting data on citizens for smart cities. Should we be even more concerned about our privacy in the future?Author Tim Maughan's short story, My City is Not a Problem, focuses on the first AI system built for the public sector. It appears to know how to solve London's problems better than its politicians.What did you think of the episode? We're evaluating Inventive. Please fill in our listener survey
10/31/2021

Episode 9: Enass Abo-Hamed and Manjot Chana

Season 2, Ep. 3
How can we create carbon-free energy? The future is hydrogen. As Glasgow hosts the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, engineer and activist Enass Abo-Hamed and systems integration engineer Manjot Chana from renewable energy company H2GO chat to Trevor Cox about their groundbreaking plans to help save the planet.The carbon we produce in heavy industries, aviation and energy supply emits pollutants. 1.2 billion people in the world don't have control over energy supplies – they can't get it at the flick of a switch.Chemical engineer Enass from Palestine is as much an activist as she is an entrepreneur. She is passionate about raising awareness of the problems associated with climate change and set up her company H2GO to provide a solution. Palestinian Enass explains her vision to Trevor Cox - to store renewable energy as low-cost hydrogen with zero emissions.Manjot began his career as an apprentice engineer with Jaguar. He tells Trevor how his desire to change people's lives for the better led him to switch to a career in renewable energy - and it turns out the skills he learned in the car industry are transferrable.We mix fact and fiction in Inventive and in this edition, writer George Sandifer-Smith's short story highlights one of the biggest challenges in the climate change movement - people. There's conflict when engineers are sent to repair green energy boxes smashed by conspiracy theorists.What did you think of the episode? We're evaluating Inventive. Please fill in our listener survey
10/18/2021

Episode 8: Josh Macabuag

Season 2, Ep. 2
This episode of Inventive Podcast is an exciting insight into a profession we only get a glimpse of in news reports, through the eyes of an engineer who wants to make a positive impact on the world.Disaster Risk Engineer Josh Macabuag been at the scene of major natural disasters around the world. He was part of the SARAID (Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters) relief team at the tsunami Japan in 2011, the earthquake in Nepal in 2015 and, most recently, the earthquake in Haiti in 2021. As a volunteer with SARAID, he has to find the least dangerous way of getting people out of collapsed buildings, making on-the-spot decisions relying on his intuition. His day job involves quantifying the risks and costs of catastrophes for The World Bank. Josh was the first person in his family to go to university, studying engineering at Oxford. He counts his dad, a car mechanic, as one of his major influences. A humanitarian and engineer, Josh tells his remarkable story to Trevor Cox.Writer Nina Allen, a winner of the British Science Fiction Association Award, is included in The Guardian's 2018 list of 'Fresh voices: 50 writers you should read now'. We asked Nina to write a short story based on Josh's interview with Trevor. On the process of writing her story, 'Forces and Loads', Nina says, 'It was the most engaging and inspirational, most unusual participation that I've ever experienced'. Her sinister story uncovers more than people trapped in the rubble of an earthquake.What did you think of the episode? We're evaluating Inventive. Please fill in our listener surveyJosh Macabuag - https://www.ice.org.uk/what-is-civil-engineering/civil-engineer-profiles/joshua-macabuagSARAID - https://www.saraid.org/The World Bank - https://www.worldbank.org/en/homeFresh Voices: 50 writers you should read now: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/mar/31/fresh-voices-50-writers-you-should-read-now