Art Inspired by Engineering

Celebrating 50 years of the MacRobert Award

By Museum of Engineering Innovation

Pegasus (2019-05-29) by Ted Humble-SmithMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Engineering inspiration

A series of unique images, specially created to celebrate some of the UK’s greatest innovations, all winners of the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award.

1969

Pegasus engine used in the Harrier aircraft - won by Rolls-Royce

Severn Bridge (2019-05-29) by Ted Humble-SmithMuseum of Engineering Innovation

The images are an artist's impression of the thought process that enabled the engineers to make these world-leading breakthroughs and are not intended to explain the innovation in a technical sense.

1969

Severn Bridge - won by Freeman, Fox and Partners

CT Scanner (2019-05-29) by Ted Humble-SmithMuseum of Engineering Innovation

History of the MacRobert Award

The MacRobert Award is the most prestigious award for the UK engineering profession. 

Over the years, winners have included the engineers behind a huge variety of pioneering products, from catalytic converters and the roof of the Millennium Dome to intelligent prosthetic limbs and the Raspberry Pi microcomputer. 

1972

CT Scanning  - won by EMI ltd

Lady Rachel MacRobert in 1948 by MacRobert TrustMuseum of Engineering Innovation

The prize was inspired by a remarkable woman, Lady Rachel MacRobert.

Lady Rachel MacRobert in garden by MacRobert TrustMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Lady Rachel MacRobert studied geology at Royal Holloway College in London. Throughout her career, she researched glacial geomorphology, petrology, and mineralogy in Scotland, Sweden and Norway. 

Paintbox TV graphics (2019-05-29) by Ted Humble-SmithMuseum of Engineering Innovation

She was active in the research community and tried to attend as many scientific meetings as she could and was never deterred by the custom that women were not allowed to join learned societies at the time.

1988

Paintbox Television Graphics - won by Quantel Ltd

Intelligent PIG (2019-05-29) by Ted Humble-SmithMuseum of Engineering Innovation

She became a Fellow of the Geological Society of Stockholm before becoming one of the first female Fellows elected to the Geological Society of London in 1919. 

1989

Intelligent PIG - British Gas

Klea (2019-05-29) by Ted Humble-SmithMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Like her mother, she was a suffragette, and often attended events and meetings supporting the movement.

1993

Ozone safe refrigerant - won by ICI KLEA

Soil Machine Dynamics (2019-05-29) by Ted Humble-SmithMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Sadly, Lady MacRobert lost all three of her sons in aviation accidents, two within five weeks of each other during World War II. In response to these tragedies, she donated £25,000 to the RAF.

1994

Subsea cable ploughs - won by Soil Machine Dynamics 

Kinect for Xbox 360 (2019-05-29) by Ted Humble-SmithMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Between 1943 and 1950, Lady MacRobert established a series of trusts and The MacRobert Trust continues its work today, supporting charitable causes. 

2011

Xbox 360's Kinect - won by Microsoft Research

Cobalt light systems (2019-05-29) by Ted Humble-SmithMuseum of Engineering Innovation

In 1967 the Board of the Trust was looking for new ways to distribute its charitable funds and established the MacRobert Award for Engineering. 

2014

Liquid Security - won by Cobalt Light Systems

Bombardier, Resin-infusedadvanced composite wing (2019-05-29) by Ted Humble-SmithMuseum of Engineering Innovation

There was no similar prize for engineering anywhere in the world, and at the time, the £25,000 award was more than the Nobel Prize (it was doubled to £50,000 in 1993). 

2019

Composite wings - won by Bombardier 

Photographer Ted Humble-Smith (2019-05-29) by Ted Humble-SmithMuseum of Engineering Innovation

The artist inspired by engineering

Ted Humble-Smith is a photographer and director who brings a sense of magic to the meticulous conceptual images he creates for the luxury fashion, beauty, jewellery, and business worlds. 

Photographer Ted Humble-Smith (2019-05-29) by Ted Humble-SmithMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Ted Humble-Smith uses his imagination and technical expertise to produce vibrant images that push the boundaries of commercial photography. He talked to engineers involved in MacRobert Award-winning projects to picture the concepts behind the innovations. His images capture the thought process behind the breakthroughs, rather than illustrating the innovations’ technical workings.      

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps