2008 Alumni Science Evening
Find me 40 tons of thrust
Delivered by Philip Ruffles CBE RDI FREng FRS, the keynote speech was a journey through time looking into the past, present and future of Rolls-Royce large civil aero engines. From the development and launch of the famous RB211 engine to the latest Boeing New Aircraft, the Dreamliner, a variety of subjects was addressed.
First, the launch, milestones and early problems of the RB211 was described and how they were overcome to give rise to a successful family of RB211 and Trent engines. The new technologies introduced into each family member were described, with particular emphasis on the Trent 1000 for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is now being tested.
The lecture also looked into the future of aero engines and how they might evolve to meet the current drivers of technology such as environment, safety and cost. Finally, new aircraft and engine concepts to meet this challenge were discussed.
Philip Charles Ruffles graduated from Bristol University with a BSc (1st Class) in Mechanical Engineering in 1961, then joined Rolls-Royce as a graduate apprentice where he held a variety of technical positions, becoming Main Board Director for Engineering & Technology in 1997. He retired in 2001. He has served on many government committees and other bodies including the Advisory Committee for Aeronautical Research in Europe reporting to the European Commission. He was a member of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Industry & Engineering Advisory Committee from 2001 to 2007. He is presently a member of the Council for Science and Technology. He has received many national and international awards including the Prince Philip Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2001.
Structural mechanisms of NMDA receptor complexes - Delivered by Dr René Frank. Following education at Brighton College and graduating in Biochemistry at Imperial College, René moved to Cambridge where he received his PhD in 2004 for research into the complex relationships between enzymes within cells. After two years of further research at Cambridge, he was awarded a Royal Commission Fellowship in 2006, his research project being to gain a structural and mechanical insight into the molecules of the mind.
How do we produce co-ordinated movements? - Delivered by Dr Mark Travis. With a first class honours in Biochemistry and Genetics and an Outstanding Achievement prize from Lancaster University, Mark moved to Manchester in 2000 for his PhD, researching integrins and ligand binding. He continued this research at Pfizer and the University of California, San Francisco, before being awarded his 1851 Fellowship in 2006 to return to Manchester to study the cytoskeletal dynamics underlying neuronal network development, work which aims to cast light on the complex networks of nerve cells which coordinate our behaviour.
Engineering light on the nanoscale - Delivered by Dr Tom White. A physicist with joint British and Australian nationality who distinguished himself with an honours degree and then a PhD at the University of Sydney, where he also seems to have cleaned up on most of the prizes available. Tom's work has concentrated on optical studies and photonics, where he carried out a short period of post-doctorate research in Sydney in 2005-6 before being awarded his 1851 Research Fellowship to be based at the University of St Andrews. Here he has been exploring slow light and photonic crystals with the goal of designing compact and efficient slow light structures for all-optical data processing applications.
Improving blind signal separation - Delivered by Mr Will Addison. As the first recipient of the Royal Commission ERA Foundation Industrial Fellowship, Will, after school in Oxford and taking a First in Mathematics at St John's College Cambridge, became a Research Scientist with QinetiQ where he worked on developing Bayesian Methods, particularly on pattern recognition. This led to the award of his Royal Commission Industrial Fellowship for research into optimal signal separation to enable the most efficient possible processing of data from sensors, with numerous potential applications in many fields.
MRSA: coming to a community near you! - Delivered by Mr Jon Otter. Armed with a First Class Honours degree in microbiology from the University of Nottingham, in December 2002 Jonathan joined Bioquell Limited, a company specialising in bio-decontamination solutions. Working with St Thomas' Hospital he has been investigating environmental contamination by the MRSA infection. His Royal Commission Industrial Fellowship, awarded in 2005, was to research the molecular epidemiology of MRSA in a London Teaching Hospital.