Inventive Podcast Series Two – Episode Five

Jack Haworth- Electrical Engineer, Sellafield Ltd.

Engineer Jack Haworth works with robots that go where humans can’t at Sellafield. Katrina Porteous’s poem explores machine/human interaction. Put your headphones on and take some time out to listen to this episode. We’re bringing out outstanding sound design in the final episode in this series.

Inventive Podcast is all about mixing fact and fiction – featuring engineers whose work is transforming the world we live in and award-winning writers who transform their stories. We have another first for you – this episode features sublime poetry from Katrina Porteous interwoven with presenter Trevor Cox‘s interview with electrical engineer Jack Haworth who works with robots designed for extreme environments at the clean-up of the Sellafield nuclear site.

When Jack was at school, he thought he was going to university to study business and become the next Alan Sugar. But he took the long road into engineering and, on the graduate scheme at Sellafield, he’s working with machines that go where human beings can’t – but what about the darker side of robotics? Will they put people out of work or even take over?

So what’s the connection between Jack the engineer and Katrina the poet? Katrina doesn’t have any qualifications in science – not even a GCSE! But she’s worked for many years with scientists and she believes the distinction between the arts and sciences is an extremely unhelpful one. It’s all about imagination – for engineers and artists, it’s all about imagining new worlds.

Katrina’s poem is a response to Jack’s chat with Trevor, interwoven throughout the episode, and explores themes that include how how the data-driven systems that increasingly dominate our world may impact on our freedom and, on a more optimistic note, how we gain more freedom by the possibilities for human consciousness and machine learning.

An informative and highly creative listen!

Katrina Porteous –

Sellafield Ltd –

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Curriculum and careers materials

NUSTEM are developing curriculum support materials around the personalities and stories featured in the Inventive Podcast, go to their website for more details.


Inventive Podcast Series Two – Episode Four

Larissa Suzuki – Computer Scientist, Engineer, Entrepreneur and Inventor

A fascinating insight into how AI will influence how cities operate in the future and the ethics of collecting big data.

Larissa Suzuki is a polymath – she’s a computer scientist, engineer, entrepreneur, writer, inventor, and philanthropist. She was awarded the Engineer of the Year at the Engineering Talent Awards 2021 and the Royal Engineering Society’s Rooke Award and she made The Women Engineering Society’s Top 50 Women in Engineering.

She has one foot in academia and the other in industry – she’s an Honorary Associate Professor at University College London and a Data Scientist at Google working on Artificial Intelligence for Smart Cities and the Interplanetary Internet – that involves connecting devices and satellites to ensure we have connectivity to provide services to the international space station and remote planets.

Larissa is autistic and she tells Trevor Cox that it’s important that companies hire people who don’t fit a particular profile as that’s not the way to create better products and be more successful. She’s an advocate for women in STEM. The pioneering computer scientists were women, so why were they not given credit for their achievements?

Trevor and Larissa delve deep into the ethics of collecting data on citizens for smart cities. Should we be even more concerned about our privacy in the future?

Author Tim Maughan’s short story, My City is Not a Problem, focuses on the first AI system built for the public sector. It appears to know how to solve London’s problems better than its politicians.

Larissa Suzuki –

Tim Maughan –


Inventive Podcast Series Two – Episode Three

Enass Abo-Hamed and Manjot Chana – The future of energy is hydrogen

How can we create carbon-free energy? The future of energy is hydrogen. As Glasgow hosts the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, engineer and activist Enass Abo-Hamed and systems integration engineer Manjot Chana from renewable energy company H2GO chat to Trevor Cox about their groundbreaking plans to help save the planet.

The carbon we produce in heavy industries, aviation and energy supply emits pollutants. 1.2 billion people in the world don’t have control over energy supplies – they can’t get it at the flick of a switch.

Chemical engineer Enass from Palestine is as much an activist as she is an entrepreneur. She is passionate about raising awareness of the problems associated with climate change and set up her company H2GO to provide a solution. Enass explains her vision to Trevor Cox – to store renewable energy as low-cost hydrogen with zero emissions.

Manjot began his career as an apprentice engineer with Jaguar. He tells Trevor how his desire to change people’s lives for the better led him to switch to a career in renewable energy – and it turns out the skills he learned in the car industry are transferrable.

We mix fact and fiction in Inventive and in this edition, writer George Sandifer-Smith‘s short story highlights one of the biggest challenges in the climate change movement – people. There’s conflict when engineers are sent to repair green energy boxes smashed by conspiracy theorists.

A must-listen for everyone concerned about the planet, especially the leaders attending COP26. The future of energy is hydrogen!

COP 26 –

H2GO –

Enass Abo-Hamed –

Manjot Chana –

George Sandifer-Smith –


Inventive Podcast Series Two – Episode Two

Josh Macabuag

The second episode in Series 2 of Inventive Podcast is an exciting insight into a profession we only get a glimpse of in news reports, through the eyes of an engineer who wants to make a positive impact on the world.

Disaster Risk Engineer Josh Macabuag has been at the scene of major natural disasters around the world. He was part of the SARAID (Search and Rescue Assistance in Disasters) relief team in Japan in 2011, the earthquake in Nepal in 2015 and most recently the earthquake in Haiti 2021. As a volunteer with SARAID, he has to find the least dangerous way of getting people out of collapsed buildings, making on-the-spot decisions relying on his intuition. His day job involves quantifying the risks and costs of catastrophes for The World Bank. Josh was the first person in his family to go to university, studying engineering at Oxford. He counts his dad, a car mechanic, as one of his major influences. A humanitarian and engineer, Josh tells his remarkable story to presenter Trevor Cox.

If you listened to our first series – if not, you can listen to previous episodes below – you’ll know that we mix science and the arts by asking writers to create works inspired by the engineers’ stories. Writer Nina Allen, a winner of the British Science Fiction Association Award, is included in The Guardian’s 2018 list of ‘Fresh voices: 50 writers you should read now’. We asked Nina to write a short story based on Josh’s interview with Trevor. On the process of writing her story, ‘Forces and Loads’, Nina says, ‘It was the most engaging and inspirational, most unusual participation that I’ve ever experienced’. Her sinister story uncovers more than people trapped in the rubble of an earthquake.

Josh Macabuag –


The World Bank –

Fresh Voices: 50 writers you should read now:


Inventive Podcast Series Two – Episode One

Sian Cleaver

We’re blasting off this brand new series of Inventive Podcast with Spacecraft Engineer Sian Cleaver. Sian’s superpower wish is to be able to fly – all the way to the moon. When she was a child, her dream was to have the first baby in space! In Episode One, Sian tells presenter Trevor Cox about her work on the Orion European Service Module for NASA’s Orion Spacecraft, built to take humans farther into space than they’ve ever gone before. It’s not just men who are going to the moon this time – women are going too. And Sian says the Orion mission will be a stepping stone on the way to Mars.

If you listened to our first series – if not, you can listen to previous episodes below – you’ll know that we mix science and the arts by asking writers to create works inspired by the engineers’ stories. For this episode, we have something a little bit special. We asked rapping scientist and engineer Jon Chase to tell Sian’s inspirational story in rhyme. We love Jon’s approach – it’s an entertaining and fact-filled listen – we hope you do too!


Inventive Podcast Episode Six

Ruth Amos

Inventor and Engineer Ruth Amos has a fantastic job! She runs YouTube Channel ‘Kids Invent Stuff’ where children get the chance to have their invention ideas built by Ruth and her friend Shawn. They’ve built some amazing stuff! A bike that feeds you cake, a three-storey bath, an electric dog car – farting staircase anyone? Ruth’s idea behind the channel was that she wanted children from all backgrounds to have the opportunity to see their ideas made. She didn’t go to university, her way into engineering was novel – Ruth was only 16 when she won a prize for a brilliant product she designed while still at school. Writer Jacqueline Yallop takes one of Ruth’s inventions as her inspiration for a very moving story. Ruth’s reaction to it? You’ll have to listen to find out! 


Inventive Podcast Episode Five

Greg Bowie

Manufacturing engineer Greg Bowie didn’t go to university to become an engineer, he took the apprenticeship route. Now he makes trauma plates to mend broken bones and works with the same material used in undersea cables that carry the internet around the world. He tells presenter Professor Trevor Cox, acoustical engineer at the University of Salford, that he is influenced by former US President Barack Obama. The short story by award-winning science fiction writer Emma Newman, ‘Healing the Fractured’, based on Greg’s work, features a Neo-Fascist government in America. Emma is interested in the interaction between humanity and technology and this gripping story focuses on espionage and how people can use technology to fight tyrants. It’s a tribute to people who have gone against fascism – who experience absolute fear and know the risk involved, but go ahead anyway. Edge of the seat stuff! 


Inventive Podcast Episode Four

Askwar Hilonga

Chemical engineer Askwar Hilonga grew up in extreme poverty – his mother and father didn’t have an education – and he suffered from water-borne diseases throughout his childhood due to drinking contaminated water when he was a youngster. Now, he wants to be a billionaire, by saving a billion lives. Askwar has developed a water purification system based on nanotechnology and a network of water purification stations around Africa. He tells his story to Trevor Cox in the fourth episode of Inventive Podcast and you can listen to a moving short story from novelist Sarah Franklin, who runs the ‘Short Stories Aloud’ events and is also a judge on the Costa Short Story Award, inspired by Askwar’s life and work.


Inventive Podcast Episode Three

Sophie Robinson

In the third episode of Inventive Podcast, Trevor meets aerospace engineer Sophie Robinson. Sophie works on groundbreaking eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft that will change the way we travel in the future.  Writer Tony White‘s inspirational story ‘The Hotwells Cold Water Swimming Club’ captures perfectly what Sophie gets up to in her spare time – she’s a self-confessed mermaid! –  and the ethical dilemmas she has faced at work.


Inventive Podcast Episode Two

Roma Agrawal

In the second episode of Inventive Podcast, Trevor meets award-winning structural engineer Roma Agrawal MBE – Mega Badass Engineer – that’s what Roma says! She designed the foundations of London’s iconic skyscraper The Shard and everything from train stations to footbridges. Roma’s book Built uncovers the stories behind iconic structures and her children’s book How Was That Built?: The Stories Behind Awesome Structures is available from September 2021. Roma’s love of concrete influenced writer CM Taylor‘s story The Nightbuilder featuring a Banksy-like character and amazing concrete structures that appear in the middle of the night.