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Department of Engineering

Cambridge engineers lead the way in STEM outreach

Cambridge engineers lead the way in STEM outreach

Researchers from the Department of Engineering have released a film aimed at inspiring teenagers to pursue engineering-related activities.

This film celebrates the history, technology and art of how we make and use metal. We’re hoping it will have a wide appeal and in particular will catch the interest of teenagers as they think about their future education and careers. 

Professor Julian Allwood

Titled Forging Identity: metal shaping people, the film traces the story of metal forming to its origins. The theatrical performance, staged by theatre producer Julius Green, was first performed at the opening ceremony of the 2017 International Conference on the Technology of Plasticity (ICTP), and is based on a forthcoming book by Professor Julian Allwood.

The film, recommended for secondary school children, sees actor Sir Tony Robinson take the audience on an inspiring journey through the history, technology and art of metal forming with live music, dancing, knife-throwing and much more.

The conference attracted 600 delegates from around the world, as well as more than 600 pupils from schools in the Cambridge area, who were invited to attend the opening ceremony. The children rubbed shoulders with the world’s leading researchers and industrialists who gathered to discuss the advances being made in forming metals into cars, buildings, aircraft, medical devices and coins.

Professor Allwood, who led the conference, said: “This film celebrates the history, technology and art of how we make and use metal. We’re hoping it will have a wide appeal and in particular will catch the interest of teenagers as they think about their future education and careers. 

“The story of metal is intimately coupled with human history, and as we now start to respond to climate change, we’re going to have to make an enormous change in the way we think about and use metal. The more imaginative young people we can engage in this journey, the better, and we hope the film, which is being released with subtitles in 14 languages, will be entertaining, informative and inspiring.”

88 Pianists

The research group’s latest project, 88 Pianists, is launching now. Aimed at Key Stage 2 primary school children, this project invites thousands of children across the UK to take part in design and manufacture sessions run by the 88 Pianists Engineering Teams, and will culminate in a world record attempt in August 2019. More information is available here.

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