Issue 31

17 September - 7 October 1996

IC Reporter


Media mentions

Against the tide

It is not easy to change our perception of history but this is what Dr David Edgerton, reader in the History of Technology, is trying to do, said Nigel Hawkes in his Science Briefing column in The Times on 9 September. His review of Dr Edgerton's book Science, Technology and the British Industrial 'Decline' points out that the British economy is not declining as much as we think it is and that our country's commitment to science and technology is in fact far greater than is popularly believed. For example, Nigel Hawkes reports Dr Edgerton's finding that "Britain produced more scientists and engineers per capita than any other major capitalist country during the 1950s and 1960s."

Are tunnels the answer?

Dr Gabriel Khoury hit the news once again when his multi-billion scheme to build roads underneath London, in order to curb traffic problems, was featured on page 3 of The Times on 24 August. A large colour picture illustrated how subterranean roads would link up with underground car parks and lifts to the surface. The car parks could also be designed to complement the existing tube network. Twin-deck carriageways would be built so far underground that they would not interfere with buildings' foundations, the tube, sewers, water pipes, electricity or gas lines. The project, known as London Expressways, would also address concerns about the amount of air pollution trapped below the Earth's surface. Dr Khoury explained that air quality targets could be met by using tolls to encourage 'green' vehicles and harmful emissions could be filtered out through the ventilation system.

Turbo power

Another way of dealing with the problem of car pollution was reported in the Daily Mail on 22 August. A gas turbine generator capable of powering cars and heating buildings has been invented by Turbo Genset, a company formed by engineers at the College and headed by Professor Colin Besant, Mechanical Engineering. "The clean-burning turbine can run on a range of fuels. In sensitive areas the car will use battery power," wrote Tim Freeborn. He added that Turbo is already working with Rover and Renault and that a jet-powered Range Rover will be tested in Athens, the most polluted city in Europe, at the beginning of next year.

Keeping records

Throughout all four years at Imperial College, computing graduate John McAleely kept an accurate record of his finances. His findings were published in a feature in The Sunday Times on 25 August. He spent a total of £15,276.71 and accumulated a debt of £5,000.

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Last Revised: 20 September 1996