(OE 1982-1987)

Mark Miodownik is an engineer, broadcaster and writer who has popularised science and engineering. He was included in The Times 2010 list of the top 100 most influential people in science and has won numerous prestigious awards. He is currently Professor of Materials and Society at UCL, where he teaches and runs a research group.

Mark recalls the ‘amazingly beautiful place’ that is Emanuel School, with ‘that incredible setting which seems timeless’. He praises the good teachers he had who would encourage pupils to ask them interesting questions. Former Physics teacher Mr Ellis sent him home with equipment with Physics because he thought he would be interested in conducting experiments at home – a theory, Mark says, that was proved correct.

Make things. Connect the Physics and Chemistry to the Art and Design and History and Culture. It is all connected through making and it is deeply pleasurable. It opens a door to lots of things in the world. Don’t feel you just have to be academic.

Upon leaving Emanuel, Mark worked in an Engineering firm for a year and then studied for a degree, and later a PhD, at the University of Oxford. He spent some time working in American and Ireland before returning to London and a job at King’s College London.

Mark addresses the challenges of material development in the modern age, such as weaning ourselves off fossil fuels and developing renewable energy to ensure that it meets the demands of our world. He believes that we need to move towards an economic model where we don’t produce waste – where something can be designed so that when it reaches the end of its life, all of the ingredients can go back into the manufacturing cycle.