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Celebrating engineering

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Jamillah Knowles | 09:32 UK time, Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Hello Outriders!

This week on the podcast I have a range of engineers to inspire us all and Chris Vallance joins us again bringing back evidence of his hunt for prizes!

Some think modern UK engineering hasn't had the profile it deserves, in an effort to remedy that the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering has been launched. It's a million pound award that it's hoped will achieve the same status as a Nobel Prize.

Prizes have a long history in advancing innovation, most of us know the story from the 1700's of the longitude prize and John Harrison after Dava Sobel's bestselling book. Our own Chris Vallance has been finding out about some other less familiar technological advances helped by prizes. As well as exploring prizes of the past, he also took a peek into the future of innovation via prizes in a chat with Peter Diamandis. Peter is the founder of the Ansari XPrize, the one that challenged people to make a private space vehicle. There are also other XPrizes as Chris found out in his chat.

So, what are you waiting for? Get in to the game and set your standards high - it seems that there is lot you can go for when it comes to competitive engineering. Be sure and let us know when you win of course...

Amazing engineering is something we love to pursue on Outriders and this week is no different. I got an email from Vruz, one of our Outriding listeners in Uruguay who said, "Hey there - have you spoken to the people who created Raspberry Pi?"

Well, the fantastically named Raspberry Pi is about to become available. A computer the size of a credit card and easy on your pocket, it could be just the think for folk who like to know what their machines can really do. Eben Upton is an engineer with Broadcom and a trustee of the Raspberry Pi foundation and he told me all about it.

Thanks to Vruz for the tip off there! Nom!

Once you have your tiny light computer - you might be thinking about learning more about code. But it's hard to start without a few examples to aim for.

Lucky for us, Keith Schwarz is a lecturer in the computer science department in Stanford University and he has become quite the collector. I asked him to explain how he came to be a code curator.

Plenty for Outriders to get on with this week, but indeed as Vruz got in touch to hear more about Raspberry Pi - you can always direct me to find the people behind your favourite sites and computing classics.

You can email me at Outriders at bbc dot co dot uk, tweet at me on Twitter where we are bbc underscore outriders, or find us on Facebook by searching for Outriders.

Until next week!

~ JK


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