I am a lecturer in Science Communication at Imperial College and also presenter of the BBC World Service tech show Click. At Imperial, my main interests are radio and social media. Wearing my teaching hat, I coach students in everything from which way up to hold the microphone to advanced studio and documentary production. I also lecture on the history, cultural practices and semiotics of radio, audio and sound art. At the BBC, alongside Click I am regular voice on Radio 4 and World Service, presenting various programmes on engineering and technology. My geek tendencies go back to childhood where I stayed out of trouble by building stuff out electronics. I studied Electrical Engineering at Imperial and after a brief spell climbing tv masts for a living, transferred to communicating science. These days, I write regularly for Focus magazine, host numerous short courses on science communication around the country, speak and MC at various events and then tweet about it all to anyone who’ll listen.
Aldo FaisalLecturer in Neurotechnology
Dr Faisal is a Lecturer in Neurotechnology jointly at the Dept. of Bioengineering and the Dept. of Computing at Imperial College London. The Faisal Lab combines cross-disciplinary computational and experimental approaches to investigate how the brain and its neural circuits make decisions, learns and controls movements. The neuroscientific findings enable the targeted development of novel technology for clinical and research applications (Neurotechnology). Aldo read Computer Science and Physics in Germany, where he wrote his thesis on non-linear dynamical systems. He moved on to study Biology at Cambridge University (Emmanuel College) and wrote his M.Phil. thesis on the electrophysiology and a complex behavior in invertebrate animals. For his Ph.D. he joined the Zoology Department in Cambridge to study the reliability of the nervous system. He was elected a Junior Research Fellow at Cambridge University (Wolfson College) and joined the Computational & Biological Learning Group (Engineering Department). Between and after his studies he gained experience in strategic management consulting with McKinsey & Co. (BTO) and as a “quant” with the investment bank Credit Suisse.
John Graham-CummingComputer programmer and Author
John Graham-Cumming is a computer programmer and author. He studied mathematics and computation at Oxford and stayed for a doctorate in computer security. As a programmer he has worked in Silicon Valley and New York, the UK, Germany and France. His open source POPFile program won a Jolt Productivity Award in 2004.
He is the author of a travel book for scientists published in 2009 called The Geek Atlas and has written articles for The Times, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, New Scientist and other publications.
If you’ve heard of him at all, it’s likely because in 2009 he successfully petitioned the British Government to apologize for the mistreatment of British mathematician Alan Turing.
He is a licensed radio amateur.
Michael KornInventor and Designer
Michael Korn is an inventor and designer. In 2007 he invented KwickScreen, a portable and versatile retractable room divider while researching hospital environments on the Royal College of Art’s Industrial Design Engineering course.
He chose to manufacture the product in Britain, and has since established a mass manufacturing facility in the Midlands. KwickScreen is now being used across the NHS, and in the United States, Middle East, and Europe..
Michael’s passion is to develop innovative useful products which are revolutionarily simple. He believes in the value of bootstrapping and designing for the real world. He is currently a Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Design Fellow, visiting fellow at The Work Foundation and was named Shell LiveWIRE young entrepreneur of the year 2011. He holds degrees from the Royal College of Art, Imperial College and Cambridge University.
KwickScreen was recently named in Britain’s Top 50 Radical Companies by The Observer and NESTA.
Andrew MorleyAnaesthetist and Musician
Dr Andrew Morley is the Director of ‘Music From the Genome’, a unique project where the results of DNA analysis from 40 members of the New London Chamber Choir were used to create a major new choral work, “Allele”. He is a consultant anaesthetist at St Thomas’ Hospital whose research interests include genetic susceptibility to the clinical effects of propofol, an intravenous anaesthetic. As co-curator, he is currently devising “Senseless; Anaesthesia, Consciousness and Pain”, an exhibition due to open later this year at the Science Museum, London. For many years, he wrote and performed his own songs on medical science, and his life as a doctor, at comedy venues in London and Hong Kong, creating a sell-out one-man musical show for the Hong Kong Fringe Festival.
Sophie ScottCognitive Neuroscientist
Sophie Scott is a cognitive neuroscientist and professor at University College London. Her work concerns how we express ourselves with our voices, and how our brains control this. Her work at the Institute of Cognitive Neurosciences, at UCL, has more recently focussed on the neuroscientific study of human laughter. She has exhibited her work at Royal Society‘s Summer Science Exhibition and since 2001 has been funded by the Wellcome Trust.
Andrew ShobenFounder of greyworld
Andrew Shoben is the founder of greyworld, a world renowned artists’ collective who create art in public spaces. Primarily, greyworld‘s work is about play, and allowing some form of creative expression in areas of the city where there is usually none.
In 2004 he launched The Source, a permanent installation for the London Stock Exchange which was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and was watched by millions everyday on television around the world. In 2010, they unveiled Paint an installation allowing phones to paint on the city. Commissioned by Nokia, it has recently been nominated Interactive artwork of the year by the Design Museum. Andrew is a regular contributor to television, radio and print, and lectures extensively around the world. Most recently he presented a show on BBC Radio 4 about public art. After lecturing at the Royal College of Art for four years, he became Professor of Public Art at Goldsmiths University. More information at greyworld.org
Nick SireauEntrepreneur and Author
Dr Nicolas Sireau is Chairman of the AKU Society, a medical charity that works in partnership with the Royal Liverpool University Hospital to find a cure for AKU, a rare disease affecting his two sons. He is a founding member of the international AKU coalition, which brings together leading research institutions, biotech companies and patient groups from across Europe and North America in order to find a cure to AKU. He previously worked in international development, where he set up SolarAid, an award-winning social enterprise bringing solar power to Africa. He is the author of several books, including ‘Make Poverty History: Political Communication in Action’, ‘Microfranchising: How Social Entrepreneurs are Building a New Road to Development’, and the forthcoming ‘Rare Diseases: New Models of Entrepreneurship’. He is a fellow of the Ashoka Fellowship of Social Entrepreneurs and of the Royal Society of Arts.
Junior SmartSocial Innovator
Junior Smart is a social innovator working to break the cycle of re-offending in the UK’s prison system. Growing up in economically disadvantaged and crime-rife estates in Southwark, Smart’s turned began to turn his life around during a ten-year prison sentence. He became heavily involved in the prison’s peer-to-peer support system ‘the Listeners’, supporting his fellow prisoners through crises and implementing literacy schemes.
Setting up the St. Giles Trust’s Southwark Offenders Support (SOS) program he aims to reduce re-offending through providing holistic, tailor made one to one support by training and employing ex-offenders as personalised peer mentors to support people leaving prison. In the 5 years since the program has been running, 580 clients have personally gained from the project’s support, and fewer than 10% of these have gone on to re-offend. With the support of St. Giles Trust he has gone on to more than double the size of his peer-led mentoring program, and has extended his efforts to Kensington and Chelsea. He has won two awards from the South London Press in the past. More information is available here.
Manel TorresFashion designer
In the Department of Chemical Engineering, a research group is working on a technology that may excite as much interest from Vogue as from scientific journals. Fabrican, the instant spray-on fabric from an aerosol can, aims to bridge the gap between science and fashion, as well as provide a new material with potential applications for the medical, transport and chemical industries.
Spanish fashion designer Dr Manel Torres is an Academic Visitor at Imperial, where he leads the interdisciplinary initiative to produce novel, instant materials for designers, enabling them to create garments in completely new ways. Manel joined the Royal College of Art with the intention of developing a spray-on fabric from an aerosol can. He began with a protoype fabric made from cotton fibres sprayed with paint, but realising the need for a more formal scientific input, he turned for advice to Imperial. Here he was fortunate to meet Professor Paul Luckham, Professor of Chemical Engineering, who became Manel’s PhD supervisor. A very practical collaboration between art and science had begun.
Aleks is currently the Supersonix sound artist-in-residence at the Science Museum where he is creating performances and installations based on his research of the collections and recordings made within the museum.
In recent years Aleks has explored the potential of historical sound recording and reproduction technology to make contemporary mechanical-acoustic music. His works for singers, instrumentalists and even singing canaries often feature live-made sound inscriptions onto wax cylinders and lacquer discs using Edison phonographs and old disc recording lathes.
Other activities include repurposing discarded digital CDs as 45rpm analogue records and both sound installations and performances where historic sound reproducing machines, mechanical musical instruments and archival recordings are combined with state-of-the-art electronics. Such practice-led research using antiquated audio technologies and investigations into little-known forms of mechanical amplification led to the award of a PhD from Brunel University.
His major project to date has been an archive of contemporary musicians, artists and writers recorded exclusively on wax cylinders. Begun in 2006 and continuing, the entire Phonographies collection may be listened to online.
Aleks will begin a new series of weekly radio shows made at the Science Museum on Resonance 104.4 FM in March.
Joanis HolzigelSocial entrepreneur
Joanis is a final-year undergraduate Physics student from Imperial College London with a passion for social entrepreneurship. For the past two years, Joanis has formed an integral part of e.quinox, an entirely student-run non-profit organisation from Imperial College. e.quinox’s aim is to develop a blueprint solution to the challenge of rural electrification in developing countries, thereby effectively eradicating insecure and unaffordable kerosene lamps. Its projects focus on so-called Energy Kiosks, power generation hubs that use battery boxes to distribute energy which is harnessed through solar panels or other sources of electricity. With five Energy Kiosks already operating on the ground, e.quinox has managed to impact a total of 2,000 lives since its inception in October 2008. It has secured funding from institutions such as GE, the IEEE and TOTAL and liaised with international NGOs and the UN-Habitat. Not only is e.quinox an organisation with a tangible impact in developing countries, it also serves as a platform for students to apply and test the knowledge they have gained in the classroom.
Alexander ScheyElectric car pioneer
While studying Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College, Alex found his passion in energy and the future of transportation. He realised that the technology for sustainable transportation was already present, but that the public were ill-informed about its potential. In January 2009, Alex set up Racing Green Endurance; a project aimed at designing and building the world’s longest range electric car, and then proving this technology to the world by driving it the 26,000km long Pan-American Highway from Alaska to Argentina! Documented by the BBC, the project was well received throughout the world, and helped change public perception about electric cars forever