The need for speed: the downhill toboggan world record

Sometimes you get a phone call and someone asks you for help: they get you on a good day, at a positive moment and you think “yeah, why not? That sounds like fun”.  Later, you realise you’re committed to helping to break a world record — the fastest speed for a gravity powered sled — and people […]

A year to go: engineering sport for London 2012

The common perception of engineering and sport is that of shiny new bikes, aerodynamic helmets and sleek bobsleds.  I often get asked, “isn’t it just the best equipment that wins now, rather than the athlete?”  The answer – as far as I’m concerned – is obviously “no” and I’ve spent my working life in the […]

Surfing the brachistochrone

    I recently came across the term ‘brachistochrone‘ and wondered how I’d missed it, especially as Johann Bernoulli initially created it over 300 years ago in June, 1696.  The brachistochrone is the solution to an intriguingly simple question: “Given two points A and B in a vertical plane, assign a path AMB to the […]

The golden decade – next stop Vancouver 2010

It’s all downhill from here After the worst winter for 47 years, the snow has finally gone.  I miss it already and now I’m looking forward to virtual winter  from the comfort of my armchair courtesy of the BBC and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.  Britain is not best suited for winter sports since we […]