“I could have used all sorts of images. Engineering is the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Hoover Dam, Durham Cathedral, things like that. Or integrated circuits.”

“I was looking for something that was archetypal engineering. So, you look at this picture and there are two obvious pieces: one obvious piece of civil engineering, the viaduct, and an obvious piece of mechanical engineering, the train.” Explore more >>

“This is one of the first steam-powered ploughs brought into operation. You can see that it digs a very large furrow indeed. That’s because this is about making that entire landscape, having that landscape irrigated in a new way entirely. So this is about changing hundreds of acres of land and re-purposing it entirely.” Explore more >>

“There’s not a single blade of grass that hasn’t been affected by some sort of engineering activity. So humankind and engineers and the way that we interact with everything can be seen as sort of, forms of engineering.” Explore more >>

“It was a political decision made by the president to go to the moon, and the engineers delivered on that. And there was a huge economic spinout. That’s what engineering really has to be, it has to be a benefit to the economy.”

“Doing engineering for me is creating value, tools creating value. The immediate question comes up, ‘how do you do that and by what kinds of things are engineers creating value?' 'And what kind of value?’” Explore more >>

“This press is brilliantly engineered in the sense that it’s a perfect size for small-scale distributed production of local fuels. It runs on petrol, so you don’t have to have electricity, which is the case in rural Kenya. It’s reasonably sized for what it’s worth. But when I was working on agricultural politics stuff in Kenya, and I was talking to a small-scale farmer, and I was asking him about biofuels, he said, ‘oh, you’re talking about jatrophra? I have a jatrophra press in the shed from the 90s that a German NGO gave me. Do you want it? We don’t, we are not going to use it.’” Explore more >>

“The viaduct is an 18th century thing that can trace its origins back to Roman times. So viaducts as a technology were shaping society thousands of years before we coined ‘engineer’ as a word. So engineering’s kind of always been around human activity, human endeavour. And the way that we shape our socio-technical systems to create value, whatever value is.” Explore more >>

“This one in particular was the launch of Apollo 8. And Apollo 8 was the first time that man went out of the gravitational field of the Earth and went around the moon. You know the ‘Earthrise’ photograph, yeah? It was this mission.”

“This is a television series that shows many engineering marvels. And I though that the title was really good: ‘Impossible Engineering.’ So for me engineering is really making the impossible possible. And what I added, which is ‘using systematic and rigorous understanding.’” Explore more >>

“When these were being used for experimentation, aeronautical engineering didn’t really exist; it was just getting going. So in a sense, it was in a similar state to what synthetic biology finds itself in now.” Explore more >>

“What actually touches on the comments about the Apollo missions, the ‘Earthrise’ picture, is one of the reasons that I like this. It put me in mind of the concept of ‘the overview effect’ The effect of having that image of the Earth sort of capture the fragility of life on Earth and how small Earth was in relation to the rest of the universe. That, for me, captures a lot of what I think about in engineering.” Explore more >>