Professor Heinz Wolff

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Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the scientist Professor Heinz Wolff. He came to public attention when he presented the television programme The Great Egg Race, in which he challenged people to conquer engineering problems with a rubber band, a pencil and a pickled onion. In the 1970s while designing aids for disabled people, he devised the phrase 'Tools for Living' to describe his work. After all, as he points out, we all use tools to cope with our environment, whether as an astronaut, a diver or an elderly person.

It was his father who encouraged his enthusiasm for invention, sharing his Sunday afternoons experimenting with his chemistry set, or organising talks from physicists who had to hide their surprise at assessing the ideas of a six-year-old child. In the 80s he founded the Institute for Bioengineering at Brunel University. There he continued his inventions devising for example, a box for experimenting in outer space, a voice machine for people who can't speak and a safety system for deep-sea divers.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: The Man I Love by Joan Wolff
Book: Collection of Landscape Pictures (with book)
Luxury: A Collection Of Landscape Pictures

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40 minutes

Last on

Fri 9 Jan 1998 09:05
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