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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information

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CSIC PI, Prof Robert Mair, featured on popular BBC Radio 4 show The Life Scientific

last modified Mar 20, 2014 02:50 PM

Our Principal Investigator, Prof Robert Mair, was featured on The Life Scientific, the popular BBC Radio 4 show, on Tuesday 15 January 2013 at 9am (repeated at 2130pm). He discusses CSIC during the interview.

From the BBC Radio 4 The Life Scientific website (please click on this link to download the podcast):

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 world expert 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 the excavations for Westminster station, which were the deepest in London and whose tunnels were just 28 metres from Big Ben.

Robert chaired the report, commissioned by the government into the safety of 'fracking' or hydraulic fracturing, where water and chemicals are pumped, under pressure, into shale rock to release gas. The technique has hit the headlines amid concerns about the risks of its use causing earthquakes and contaminating water supplies. Robert explains why, with the best practice and strong regulation, the technique could be safely used in the UK.

He also talks about his latest work on how smart sensors 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.