Roma Agrawal

LivWiSE Christmas Lecture with Roma Agrawal MBE

5:30pm - 7:00pm / Thursday 8th December 2022 / Venue: Lecture Theatre B Central Teaching Hub
Type: Lecture / Category: Department
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LivWiSE is excited to welcome Roma Agrawal MBE to deliver the 2022 Annual LivWiSE Christmas Lecture.


Nuts and Bolts - Seven Small Inventions that Changed the World (in a Big Way)


Smartphones, skyscrapers, spacecraft. Modern technology seems mind-bogglingly complex. But beneath the surface, it can be beautifully simple.

In her new book, Nuts and Bolts - Seven Small Inventions that Changed the World (in a Big Way), award-winning engineer and broadcaster Roma Agrawal deconstructs our most complex feats of engineering into seven fundamental inventions: the nail, spring, wheel, lens, magnet, string and pump. Each of these objects is itself a wonder of design, the result of many iterations and refinements. Together, they have enabled humanity to see the invisible, build the spectacular, communicate across vast distances, and even escape our planet.

In this talk, Roma traces the surprising journeys of three of these inventions through the millennia, revealing how handmade Roman nails led to modern skyscrapers, how the potter’s wheel enabled space exploration, and how humble lenses helped her conceive a child against the odds.

She invites us to marvel at these small but perfectly formed inventions, and the ways they’ve shaped our society and our politics. Along the way, she shares stories of the remarkable, and often unknown, scientists and engineers who made them possible. The nuts and bolts that make up our world may be tiny, but they’ve changed our lives in huge ways.

About Roma

Roma Agrawal MBE (Mega Badass Engineer) is an award-winning engineer, author and broadcaster. From footbridges and sculptures, to train stations and skyscrapers - including The Shard - she has left an indelible mark on London's landscape during her 15 year career in construction.

Roma is an inspiring promoter of engineering and technical careers to young people, particularly under-represented groups. As an engineering story-teller, Roma presents documentaries, hosts podcast Building Stories, and is now excited to be writing her third book about engineering, Nuts and Bolts, which will be out in 2023. Her first book Built: The Hidden Stories Behind our Structures was published to glowing reviews in 2018 and her children's book How Was That Built? is out this year.


5:00-5:30: Registration

5:30-6:30: Lecture

6:30 onwards: Book Signing and mince pie reception

All welcome!