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29 Nov 2013

YE NPL Mentoring Day

by Keith Etherington

As part of our work with the Young Engineers we are trying a new approach to help the regional winners of the YE competition get ready for the competition at the Big Bang Fair  in March. With the guidance of Liveryman Simon Hall and the tremendous help from NPL all the regional winners were invited to spend a day at NPL. This took place on 29th November. 15 young people from all over the country received one to one mentoring on their project and also inputs on project management, marketing, business planning and intellectual property. They also toured four laboratories. Liverymen Jane Fishwich, Ken Sanders and Brian Fishwick gave some of the lectures. This was a fun day and it was very exciting to see the projects that these young people will bring to the NEC. The winner of the Young Engineer of 2014 will receive the WCSIM prize which funds their trip to the USA in May 2014 to take part in the International Science and Engineering Fair. Here is the link to the NPL press release.

The students were given a pack of information to take away including this 'Winning With Your Project' document.

New Arkwright Scholars

by Keith Etherington

Here is the Master with our three new Arkwright Scholars. Adam Stagg, Joseph Warren and Henry Gill


25 Oct 2013

Admission Court Dinner

by Keith Etherington

At the Admission Court Dinner last night Eur Ing David Kent was received as Master and Keith Etherington as Deputy Master. Seton Bennett, who sadly had to withdraw early this year from being Master for ensuing year was welcomed as Warden Emeritus. Prof Tony Wilson was installed as Senior Warden and Christopher Sawyer as Junior Warden. After dinner the Master presented the Livery prizes (recipients listed later).

The principal guest was Sir Peter Williams CBE, FRS who is currently Chairman of NPL.

Other guests included the Master Musician, Master Spectacle Maker, Master Engineer, Master Hackney Carriage Driver, Middle Warden Tax Adviser, Master Parish Clerk and the Commanding officers of our affiliated military organisations.

The Deputy Master introduced and welcomed the following:






11 Oct 2013

Visit to Westminster Palace

by Keith Etherington

13 members of the livery attended this visit which was organised by Assistant John Caunt.

We had an excellent guide, Helen, who had been a private secretary to MP's over the last 25 years. She shared her experiences of parliament with us as we toured this magnificent building. The tour commenced at the red end of the house in the Robing Chamber where Her Majesty rests before the State Opening. We visit House of Lords, the Central Lobby and the House of Commons and also the nay lobby of the Commons. We ended in Westminster Hall, built in the 13th century.

We then crossed the street to visit the Jewel Tower. This is the only other part of the 13th Century royal palace that is extant. We were all very surprised to find that this was the home of measurement standards until very recently. (In fact Senior Warden Seton Bennett, who was not on the visit, tells me that the Board of Trade Weights and Measures department was housed in the adjacent building and the tower was the storage area for this department).

This case contains various standards including an imperial equivalent kilogram from 1887.

This case contains various volume standards including a bushel and peck!

We then moved onto the Crypt restaurant in St John's Smith Square for a...


  • " If anybody says he can think about quantum problems without getting giddy, that only shows he has not understood the first thing about them. "
    Niels Henrik David Bohr (1885-1962) Danish physicist.
  • " A fact is a simple statement that everyone believes. It is innocent, unless found guilty. A hypothesis is a novel suggestion that no one wants to believe. It is guilty, until found effective. "
    Edward Teller
  • " I think science has enjoyed an extraordinary success because it has such a limited and narrow realm in which to focus its efforts. Namely, the physical universe. "
    Ken Jenkins
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    Henry J. Tillman
  • " Nature composes some of her loveliest poems for the microscope and the telescope. "
    Theodore Roszak, Where the Wasteland Ends, 1972
  • " The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny..." "
    Isaac Asimov
  • " Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. "
    Wernher Von Braun
  • " Science has made us gods even before we are worthy of being men. "
    Jean Rostand
  • " Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house. "
    Henri Poincaré, Science and Hypothesis, 1905
  • " The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he's one who asks the right questions. "
    Claude Lévi-Strauss, Le Cru et le cuit, 1964
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    Martin H. Fischer
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    Bertrand Russell
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    Kenneth Boulding