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Science Museum’s ‘Engineers’ exhibition aims to bolster struggling sector

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The Science Museum has announced plans to open a new gallery this summer dedicated to engineering innovations that have changed the world.

The gallery will feature illustrated stories from more than 60 engineers working in a broad range of industries, such as farming, fashion, robotics and medicine.

The museum said the exhibits, which will focus on winners of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize), will attempt to “shine a light on their lives, motivations, thought processes, and what they do day to day”.

The stories will be presented in four sections: Bodies, Lives, Connections and Creation.

Bodies​ will look at how controlled drug delivery and surgical robots place people and their bodies at the heart of precision engineering practice.

In Lives​, LED lighting and digital imaging sensors will​ illustrate how engineers work sustainably and attempt to minimise their ecological footprint.

Connections will focus on GPS, internet and web technologies and how engineering teams created new infrastructure for global information and communication systems.

The final section, Creating,​ looks at how engineers create products, from software to suspension bridges.

Sir Ian Blatchford, chief executive of the Science Museum Group, said: “Everyday life depends on the skills and creativity of engineers.

“In bringing this fabulous new gallery to life, we’re delighted to be working with the QEPrize, whose recognition of some of the most brilliant minds and important innovations of our time is so vital. I know our many visitors will be inspired by the stories they will encounter."

Lord Browne of Madingley, chairman of The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, said: “Engineering enables and enhances every aspect of modern life and we are honoured to be able to work with the Science Museum to showcase the creativity and exhilaration of engineering innovation in such a public forum.

“Engineers hold the key to solving many of the global challenges we face in the future and the QEPrize exists to celebrate their visionary achievements."

According to research from EngineeringUK, young people’s knowledge of engineering is low, and what they do know is often influenced by stereotypes and misinformation.

The Science Museum hopes the exhibition will provide a ‘way in’ to the subject that many feel disconnected from.

Visitors will have the opportunity to take a closer look at iconic objects from the cutting-edge CMR ‘Versius’ surgical robot arm to the first digital camera, and a miniature atomic clock which the entire GPS system depended upon, as well as learn more about the people who invented them.

In December, the IET called on the government to help tackle the UK’s engineering skills shortage by embedding the subject into the current curriculum.

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