College of Engineering and Physical Sciences takes to the British Sciences Festival stage

For more than a century our scientists and engineers have been pioneering scientific research that has a major impact on people’s lives. From transplant surgery and developing the use of microwaves to synthesising Vitamin C, our scientists have been enhancing and changing lives for the better.


In September 2014, the British Science Association is bringing the British Science Festival to Birmingham. The College of Engineering and Physical Sciences is delighted to present some of our leading academics at the Festival. Look out for our experts in the programme to learn about advances in 3D printing, explore the night sky with our astronomers and listen to the sounds of the stars, participate in the cyber privacy debate, explore HS2 from an engineer's viewpoint, unravel the mysteries of the Universe, and find out the latest results from CERN. 


Examples of our College events are highlighted below.


The College is also running a number of activities in the Young People’s Programme, a dedicated strand designed to engage young minds in the power of science.


Printing Planes, Cars and Houses

Saturday 6 September, 10.00–11.00
Lecture Theatre 117, Physics West Building
Delivered by Professor Moataz Attallah
Additive layer manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, is believed to be the new game-changing technology that will revolutionise the high-value manufacturing sector in areas such as aerospace and healthcare. Professor Moataz Attallah explores how 3D printing creates new manufacturable structures including gas turbine engine components, metallic functional structures for catalysis and armour applications, and large structures.

The Sound of the Stars and the Search for New Worlds

Saturday 6 September, 11.00–12.00
Lecture Theatre S02, Poytning Physics Building 
Delivered by Professor Bill Chaplin
When you look up at the sky on a clear night did you know that many of the twinkling stars are playing a stellar symphony, like musical instruments? And that many host planets like our Earth? Professor Bill Chaplin explains how astronomers are ‘sounding’ stars and finding new worlds in our galaxy.

High-Speed Rail: An Engineer's Perspective on HS2

Saturday 6 September, 14.00–15.00
Lecture Theatre S02, Poytning Physics Building 
Delivered by Professor Felix Schmid
The current plans for HS2 may not deliver maximum benefit because of a lack of systematic thinking. Drawing on lessons from Japan, China, France and Spain Professor Felix Schmid explores how HS2 could benefit from better integration of engineering, urbanisation and societal aspirations that will allow integration of high-speed railways into the fabric of society.

Privacy and Security in an Age of Surveillance

Saturday 6 September, 16.30–17.30
Lecture Theatre 117, Physics West Building
Delivered by Professor Mark Ryan
Privacy vs surveillance: between a rock and a hard place. How to counter terrorism while still maintaining the values of a free society?
As we increasingly live our lives online, mass surveillance by governments and industry has become the norm. Mark Ryan asks what scientific or technological innovations could help avoid the complete erosion of our privacy and personal freedom?

Inside Future Robots

Sunday 7 September, 12.00–13.00
Elgar Concert Hall, Bramall Music Building
Delivered by Professor Jeremy Wyatt and Dr Nick Hawes
Autonomous robots have suddenly hit the public consciousness. Join Professor Jeremy Wyatt and Dr Nick Hawes on a journey to the frontier of intelligent robotics. Discover the ‘smarts’, the intelligence required to make robots autonomous, and the latest research which makes robots perform intelligent manipulation, plan, learn, see, communicate and navigate. What are the big challenges for the future of robotics and how close are we to over-coming them?

Recreating the Big Band with the World's Largest Machine: The Large Hadron Collider at CERN

Sunday 7 September, 13.00–14.00
Elgar Concert Hall, Bramall Music Building
Delivered by Professor David Evans
Professor Evans will explain the physics behind the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN,what we have discovered and what we hope to discover in future. To demonstrate the science behind the LHC, this talk includes some audience participation and demonstrations with liquid nitrogen.

New Nuclear: Does size matter

Monday 8 September, 10.00-11.30
Lecture theatre S06, Poynting Physics Building
Organised by the Midlands Energy Consortium
In order for the UK to meet carbon reduction targets within the next 20 years, a reliable and economic source of electricity will be critical. With large scales power plants requiring large, high risk capital and facing opposition, could the development of smaller nuclear reactors in the UK create an opportunity for us to meet these targets and catalyse a supply chain in an emerging market?


How Quantum Technologies can improve our future

Monday 8 September, 13.00-15.00
The Dome, Bramall Music Building
Delivered by Professor Kai Bongs
Quantum technologies with fantastic new features are closer than you might think. A £270m government grant will help turn research into applications within the next five years. Enjoy a series of short talks on clocks and gravity sensors and workshops, posters and the presentation of a system trapping cold atoms in laser light

Women in Science and Engineering: Networking Event

Monday 8 September, 18.00–19.30
Cafe Aroma, Staff House 
Organised by University of Birmingham, Daphne Jackson Trust, Royal Society of Chemistry and ScienceGrrl
Come and meet the scientists conducting cutting-edge research which directly impact on people’s lives. This is an opportunity for women in science and engineering to expand their networks and for media professionals to engage with women from all scientific backgrounds.


Unravelling the Mysteries of the Universe

Tuesday 9 September, 16.00–17.30
Barber Concert Hall, Barber Institute of Fine Arts 
Delivered by Dr Cristina Lazzeroni, Professor Alberto Vecchio and Professor Jo Dunkley
Take a journey through some of the greatest modern physics experiments that will allow us a much deeper understanding of the Universe. How does the Large Hadron Collider recreate conditions similar to the Big Bang? How do lasers help in the hunt for gravitational waves? And how does measuring the cosmic microwave background helps us understand the infant Universe?

Making body parts

Thursday 11 September, 11.00-12.00
Lecture Theatre 117, Physics West Building
Delivered by Professor Liam Grover and Professor Duncan Shepherd
Join Liam Grover and Duncan Shepherd to explore the history of implant development, from the use of sea shells to replace teeth, through to the implantation of materials designed for use in the aerospace industry. Implants now allow us to stay mobile into our old age, and will eventually allow us to regrow our own tissues.


For a more detailed programme visit


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