The Annual Industry Lecture

The Department of Engineering hosts an annual lecture by a distinguished member of the engineering community. The Annual Industry Lectures are intended to be of interest to engineering students and practising engineers, as well as the general public.

On the 8th of March we will be delighted to welcome Mark Miodownik, MBE, UCL Professor of Materials & Society, who will deliver the 20th Annual Industry Lecture entitled Materials for the 21st Century

In this lecture I look fifty years into the future of materials science to assess the possible technical advances and their impact on engineering, society and culture. Themes such as sustainable cities, energy security, food security and healthcare are explored in terms of their materials requirement needs and our likelihood of achieving them. Materials desires, are much harder to forecast; I take the approach that they are likely to be theory-led. Thus possible directions for materials science are explored such as meta-materials and technical textiles and their potential impact on human expression in design, fashion and architecture. Finally, as the number of materials increases, I assess the likelihood that the methodology of materials development itself may evolve. Will theory continue to dominate, or will approaches that combine big data and combinatorics become more important forms of materials discovery? Or, more controversially, will our 10,000 year old track record of materials innovation come to an end, as we run out of new materials to invent? "

Professor Mark Miodownik is the UCL Professor of Materials & Society. He received his Ph.D in turbine jet engine alloys from Oxford University, and has worked as a materials engineer in the USA, Ireland and the UK. For more than ten years he has championed materials research that links the arts and humanities to medicine, food, engineering and materials science. This culminated in the establishment of the UCL Institute of Making where he is Director and runs the research programme ( He was elected a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014. Prof Miodownik is a multi-award winning author and broadcaster. He wrote Stuff Matters, a New York Times Best Selling book, which won the Royal Society Winton Prize in 2014 and the US National Academies Communication Award in 2015. He regularly presents BBC TV programmes on engineering which have reached millions of viewers worldwide. In 2013 he was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering Rooke Medal. In 2015 he was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science Prize for Public Engagement with Science. In 2017 he was awarded the Faraday Medal by the Royal Society. In 2018 he was awarded an MBE for services to materials science, engineering and broadcasting.

The lecture will start at 6:00pm in the Rattray Lecture Theatre, University of Leicester. Free buffet supper will be available after the lecture, in the Graduate Lounge, on the 1st floor of the Charles Wilson Building. Contact Charlotte Watts for more information: or t: 0116 252 5488. Poster for this event is available here.


Previous Lectures

  • 2013 - Stuart Wood (Chief Engineer, Concept and Design, Triumph Motorcycles) - Integrated Design for Passionate Customers
  • 2012 - Alan Berman (Berman Guedes Stretton Architects) and Thomas Pearson (Arup Design)
  • 2011 - Hugo Spowers (Riversimple LLP)
  • 2010 - Jem Stansfield (Presenter of BBC's "Bang Goes the Theory")
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