iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Prof Robert Mair

Listen now 28 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Prof Robert Mair

Duration:
28 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 15 January 2013

Jim Al-Khalili talks to Robert Mair, professor of Civil engineering at Cambridge University about his life as an engineer in academia and industry and his expertise on finding innovative solutions to the problems of building tunnels under already congested cities.

He talks about his innovative technique of 'compensation grouting' which prevented Big Ben from tilting and even cracking and coming away from the Houses of Parliament during Jubilee line extension.
Crossrail is one of the biggest engineering projects in Europe and involves constructing 26 miles of new tunnels underneath London's busy streets and under the existing tube network. Robert talks the latest tunnelling technology being used and the huge drilling machines with names like 'Ada' and Phyliss' which use high pressure to minimise ground movements as they drill and even have a kitchen and bathroom facilities on board.
He also talks about his latest work on how smart sensors which can harvest their own energy. And when built into buildings, roads, tunnels they could make sure the engineering projects of the future will be able to continuously monitor and report on their own safety.

Broadcasts

Jim Al-Khalili - Presenter

Jim Al-Khalili

Find out more about Jim Al-Khalili and listen to his Science Explorer journey.

Plants: From Roots to Riches

Plants: From Roots to Riches

Our relationship with plants: a major new history by Kew's science director Kathy Willis

Inside Science

Image for BBC Inside Science

Adam Rutherford explores the research that is transforming our world.

Podcast

  1. Image for The Life Scientific

    The Life Scientific

    Each week, Jim al-Khalili invites a leading scientist to tell us about their life and work. He'll…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss