Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Interferon Pilot Plant: 1980

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

In the February 2019 blog, about Imperial Biotechnology Ltd, I included a Thames Television interview with Dr Trevor Langley. Through the current digitisation of the STOIC archives I now have something homegrown about the pilot plant. In May 1980 Tracy Poole (now Dudley) reported on the current work being undertaken and also interviewed Prof Brian Hartley, a former Head of Department in Biochemistry.  He was then overseeing the entire project.

The pilot plant was ultimately closed and dismantled in 1994 and was finally refurbished as the Flowers Building.

Colin Grimshaw February 2020

 

And now the Imperial Weather: 1983

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

The background to this weather forecast, and images, is something you may recall if you were around Imperial at the time. What I mean by this is, do you remember the Level 2 area of the Sherfield Building by the lifts in the early 1980’s? If you do then you might remember seeing the TV monitor that I oversaw the installation of. To the left of the two passenger lifts you would have seen a 15 inch monitor showing weather satellite images. These were a live feed from Atmospheric Physics where they were processing and animating, in false colour, the received data from MeteoSat using the Interactive Planetary Image Processing System (IPIPS).

A cable was run from Physics to both the Level 2 area of Sherfield and also straight down the walkway to the TV Studio. That meant that I could access the IPIPS feed from our patch panel. And, if you look at this photo (right) from 2007 you can still see the socket marked IPIPS. It was this feed that STOIC used in 1983 to provide their daily weather forecast. It was this processed end-result that Francis Wilson used for his BBC Breakfast weather forecast. You can see more of him using this feed when he did the weather from the Queen’s Tower in 1988.

This IPIPS feed used for STOIC’s weather has been recovered during the digitisation of the STOIC videotape archives.

Colin Grimshaw December 2019

Constructionarium: 2006

Monday, April 1st, 2019

In June 2006 The Duke of Edinburgh put on a hard hat and boots to watch students building their own versions of engineering landmarks.

The engineering students from Civil Engineering were taking part in Constructionarium, an annual event in which groups had just five days to tackle a challenging project, such as creating a seven metre high version of the world’s tallest vehicular bridge, the Millau viaduct in Southern France.

The event was designed to give students hands-on experience of engineering in a realistic environment. The projects took place on a two hectare section of a Norfolk site which is used for training specialist construction trade workers such as scaffolders and steeplejacks. The site, in Bircham Newton, was owned by the National Construction College.

Prince Philip visited on the students’ last day and saw the projects in their final stages. He was given a tour of the different projects underway, and watched as students pulled a replica oil rig to the middle of a lake and stabilised it. The TV Studio (by then called Media Services) was on hand to capture the event.

Colin Grimshaw April 2019

Imperial Biotechnology Ltd: 1982

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019

In 1982 all the talk around campus was about the Fermentation Plant in the Bio-Chemistry building. The plant had been transferred to a private company to be called Imperial Biotechnology and employing its own members of technical staff. The plant was set up initially to satisfy the needs of Sir Ernst Chain in the 1960’s. There is excellent footage of the building and the plant in my previous blog where the Queen Mother opened the building.

This news item from the Thames Television News archive is a report from April 1982, it shows the Fermentation Plant and includes an interview with Dr Trevor Langley who was instrumental in the formation of the company.

 

Colin Grimshaw February 2019

Speaking Backwards at Christmas: 1974

Monday, December 18th, 2017

In previous posts I have mentioned the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures given by Professor Eric Laithwaite in December 1974.

I was involved with one of those lectures ‘Jam Tomorrow and Jam Yesterday’ which was lecture 3 in the series. During the late summer of that year Eric Laithwaite had approached me to discuss various ideas to do with things going backwards. He particularly wanted to play around with the idea of speaking backwards. These days you can very easily do such things on your computer let alone on a phone. I managed to find within our Electrical Engineering Department an audio/instrumentation recorder that was able to run backwards.

I asked Eric Laithwaite to call into the TV Studio so that I could demonstrate this to him. I recall us both playing around with speaking, or trying to speak, ‘backwards’ and then playing the actual tape backwards to see if it came out ‘forwards’. At one point he almost slid of the chair in hysterics at what sounds were coming out of the loudspeaker, some of which sounded very rude! He was sold on these ideas and I said that I would play around some more and make extra investigations. What I then decided to do was to create a tape with a sentence rather than just single words. It took ages to do and I had to cheat by editing a string of words together to create something special for the lecture. Over on the right is the original tape that was used in the lecture and now looking slightly aged.

When Eric Laithwaite heard my sentence he roared with laughter and said ‘right, I want YOU to present that in the lecture’. And so I was therefore seen presenting my achievement and also helping him during various sound recording experiments with members of the RI audience. I recall the first recording with the young boy who immediately turned his back on the cameras to face the tape recorder. The BBC floormanager then started to make furious gestures to me to get him to turn slightly so that the cameras could see him.

Five years later in his 1980 book, to go with the series, he gave me a most wonderful credit. “…Colin appeared ‘officially’ in the third lecture taking over part of the lecture in effect…”

And so, 43 years later, here I am speaking backwards at the Royal Institution.

Colin Grimshaw December 2017

Professor Dame Julia Higgins: 2015

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

This is one video in a series that we recorded called ‘Academic Interviews’ and it featured Professor Dame Julia Higgins.

Julia has been studying the behaviour of complex materials, particularly polymers, at Imperial College London since joining as a lecturer in the Chemical Engineering Department in 1976. Her research group specialises in the use of neutron scattering techniques to investigate polymer behaviour. She was appointed reader in 1985 and professor of polymer sciences in 1989.

She was elected Dean of the City and Guilds College from 1993 to 1997 and was appointed CBE in 1996. In 1995 Julia was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1999. She was named a Dame in the 2001 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Here, she is talking with Professor Lord Robert Winston.

Colin Grimshaw June 2017

Life at Wye: 2003

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

In 2003 we produced a DVD for the undergraduate course in the Faculty of Life Sciences. The DVD covered course details for Biochemistry & Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences and Agricultural Science in the Department of Agricultural Sciences.

This section looked at “Life at Wye”

Colin Grimshaw May 2017

Ion Implantation-The Invisible Shield: 1994

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

There were three organisations collaborating in this European SPRINT project, Imperial College in the UK, AIN in Spain, and
DTI in Denmark. SPRINT was the European commission’s Strategic PRogramme for INnovation and Technology.

This July 1994 video was an introduction to surface treatment of metal tools by the use of Ion Implantation. This technique modifies the tool
surface, improving the wear, corrosion resistance, and frictional properties. The project disseminated knowledge and
applications of Ion Implantation as an effective surface treatment and was targeted mainly at European Small-to-Medium
Enterprises, to improve their productivity and competitiveness in the world market.

It was made in three language versions which were produced for the three SPRINT partners by the Imperial College TV Studio and a fourth version in French, made for I.B.S.  As well as the UK, we went to Denmark and Spain to record the relevant sections of the video. The photo above was taken at DTI in Denmark, you can see me operating camera along with my Imperial academic colleague Tom Tate sitting on the chair on the far right hand side. The video’s voice-over was by Michael Rodd.

Colin Grimshaw April 2017

Studying at Wye: 2003

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

In 2003 we produced a DVD for the undergraduate course in the Faculty of Life Sciences. The DVD covered course details for Biochemistry & Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences and Agricultural Science in the Department of Agricultural Sciences.

Colin Grimshaw February 2017

Larry Hench: June 1996

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

gLarry Hench, Emeritus Professor of Ceramic Materials died on 16 December 2015.

He joined Imperial in 1995 from the University of Florida, having made the seminal discovery in 1969 of Bioglass − the first reported synthetic material to form a bond with living tissues.
As Chair in Ceramic Materials at Imperial, he set out to uncover the basic cell biology mechanisms that gives Bioglass its remarkable properties. He set up the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Centre with the late Professor Dame Julia Polak. There they made the fascinating discovery that the unique bone henchp2fgrowing properties of the glass were due to the dissolution products of the glass stimulating bone cells at the genetic level. Members of their team went on to make the glass into 3D scaffolds for use in bone regeneration.

The only video footage in our archive is what we shot for inclusion in his inaugural lecture in June 1996. And, unlike other inaugurals that we have recorded clips for, this one actually has him in it.

Colin Grimshaw June 2016