Sir Patrick Stewart boldly goes into the metrology future

Published:  27 April, 2017

The man who piloted the Starship Enterprise was given a glimpse of the scientific future at the University of Huddersfield.

Famous actor Sir Patrick Stewart – who played Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation on TV and film – is Emeritus Chancellor at the University. On his latest visit, he worked closely with young actors and film studies students, but he was also shown some of the scientific and technological research taking place.

He visited the University’s Future Metrology Hub, a £30 million research centre that will help transform UK industry by developing sensors embedded into machinery, leading to huge increases in accuracy during the advanced manufacturing process.

The Hub – heavily backed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) – is based in the University’s Centre for Precision Technologies, home to a team of world-renowned researchers in precision engineering and metrology.

On his visit, Sir Patrick met the Hub’s director Professor Xiangqian Jiang and Senior Lecturer Dr Haydn Martin, plus its multi-disciplinary, multi-national team of researchers who are harnessing new developments in metrology and miniaturisation.

Professor Liam Blunt showed Sir Patrick how metrology and X-ray analysis were aiding the development of new, patient-specific medical devices, and could also be used for purposes such as investigating and verifying artifacts including antique weaponry.

The Future Metrology Hub is led by the University of Huddersfield, building on the achievements of its EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Advanced Metrology. The universities of Sheffield, Loughborough and Bath provide complementary expertise and support, as does the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) from its bases at Teddington and Huddersfield. The Hub will address major, long-term challenges facing UK manufacturing industries.

A large team of industrial partners – including famous companies from a wide variety of industrial sectors – are providing funding and support to the Hub. More than £30 million has so far been pledged across the consortium, and new partners will be sought as the research progresses.

As part of the Government’s commitment to supporting world-leading manufacturing research in the UK, the Huddersfield research centre receives a major investment of £10 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and is one of six new Future Manufacturing Research Hubs.

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