A conference dubbed the ‘Olympics of Metal Forming’ was hosted by the Department of Engineering this week, including a new activity to attract more young people into the metals industry.
ICTP is the world’s leading conference on shaping metal, but this is the first time this community has specifically aimed to connect to teenagers before they choose their A-level subjects.Professor Julian Allwood
This was the first time, the five-day International Conference on the Technology of Plasticity (ICTP) had been held in the UK, and it was attended by 600 delegates from across the globe.
A highlight of the conference was an opening theatrical performance on Monday (September 18) at the Cambridge Corn Exchange, which celebrated metal forming in the UK. It was presented by actor Sir Tony Robinson and staged by theatre producer Julius Green, with multiple acts including dance and music performances by pupils from Parkside Federation Academies in Cambridge.
The performance was based on a newly written book by Julian Allwood, Professor of Engineering and the Environment, and chairman of ICTP 2017, tracing the story of metal forming to its origins.
To celebrate the conference and to leave a lasting legacy, Cambridge architect David Carmichael worked with the Department of Engineering to design and build a majestic metal peacock sculpture which was unveiled during the theatrical performance. It is now positioned in the grounds of the Department and was created using several new processes, originally developed by the University of Cambridge under the leadership of Professor Allwood.
More than 600 pupils from schools in the Cambridge area were invited to attend the opening ceremony, rubbing shoulders with the world’s leading researchers and industrialists who gathered to discuss the advances being made in forming metals into cars, aircraft, medical devices, coins and much more.
The conference was sponsored by many industrial partners.
Professor Allwood said: “Metal forming – the art and science of shaping metal – has a low public profile but a high impact on our everyday lives. Our cars, offices, bicycles, coins, jewellery, drink cans and rail track are all made by metal forming and the art of metal forming is still evolving today.
“The conference programme featured the presentation of 408 papers as the world’s leading researchers shared their most important advances to inspire the next generation.
“ICTP is the world’s leading conference on shaping metal, but this is the first time this community has specifically aimed to connect to teenagers before they choose their A-level subjects. The committed support of our industrial sponsors has allowed us to bring together a world-beating creative team to deliver a spectacular theatrical event that will also lead to a fantastic legacy film.”