Trailblazers

adalovelacedaya Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace was born in 1815 – the daughter of famous poet Lord Byron and his mathematics-loving wife, Anne. Ada inherited the talents of both her father and mother, developing an approach which she referred to as ‘poetical science’ – integrating poetry and science in order to better question basic assumptions. Throughout her life, Ada was…

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Brompton Bike Brompton Bicycle

The Brompton Bicycle started as a tinkering project – an attempt by Cambridge engineering graduate Alexander Ritchie to make a bike that folded intuitively and was easy to use. The first prototype introduced a hinge at the front so that the handlebars could be tucked down, and one at the back for folding the bike. It…

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Catseye Catseyes

Late one night in 1933, Yorkshire road mender Percy Shaw was driving home after a long day of asphalting. It was so dark and foggy that Percy could hardly see where he was going when suddenly his headlights reflected in the eyes of a cat sitting at the edge of the road, and inspiration struck.…

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tesla Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla developed the alternating-current electrical system and discovered the rotating magnetic field. He was born in July of 1856, in what is now Croatia. As a child, his passion for invention was sparked by his mother who spent her spare time tinkering and inventing small household appliances. Tesla came to the United States in 1884 and…

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kevlar Kevlar

In 1964, a team of chemists at DuPont were looking for a strong but lightweight fibre that could be used to strengthen car tyres. At the same time,  a chemist in XXX named Stephanie Kwolek was investigating aromatic polyimides, a group of long-chain molecules with a rod-like structure. She discovered that under the right conditions…

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janesugru Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh

Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh is the inventor Sugru, a self-setting rubber for fixing, modifying, and improving your stuff. Much like play-dough it can be molded into any shape and affixed to nearly any materials and 24 hours later it cures. Once set it retains its shape but remains flexible rather than rigid. Jane came up with…

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