scientist 52: the civil engineer – Robert Mair on Crossrail and Westminster (2014)

Asking someone to send you an “engineer” will conjure up all sorts of people who build and fix things. But today’s show is about civil engineers. Professor Robert Mair of the University of Cambridge Engineering Department will explain what do they do. What’s the difference between a civil engineer and a washing machine engineer? Is it that a civil engineer wears a suit? Maybe not, but you’ll hear about the civil engineering in “Crossrail”, a £15 billion project to a build train route from Reading, tunnel across London and then on to Essex and Kent. Work started five years ago and the first trains will run in 2019.

Follow-up link to hear more about engineering in these podcasts:

  • Learn about aerodynamics and the need for bumps on airplane wings from Prof Holger Babinsky at the University of Cambridge.
  • The technology behind the world’s best selling electric vehicle. Steve Groves of Nissan tells about the Nissan LEAF car that drives across town without adding pollution or traffic noise.
  • How materials science is put to use in medicine where there’s a need for replacement tissues. Dr Michelle Oyen from bioengineering at the University of Cambridge explains about measuring the properties of bone and hydrogels. We also discuss the uptake of engineering by girls.
  • The engineering initiative to build the world’s fastest car – called Bloodhound– aims to recruit students to engineering. We speak with the project’s education officer about this unusual car.


Tagged 105science, Chris Creese, civil engineering, engineering, physics, Robert Mair, Roger Frost, science, technology, University of Cambridge