27 November 2019


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Invitation to SCI’s Free Public Evening Lecture:
The Lord Browne of Madingley – Executive Chairman of L1 Energy (UK) LLP
Engineering the Future of Civilisation

Diary date: Wednesday 29 April 2020

  • Engineering shapes the world around us - from nanotechnology and the Internet of Things to solar farms, self-driving cars and skyscrapers.
  • Engineering emerges from the universal human desire to make things. It is the basis of civilisation and is reflected in everything from prehistoric stone tools, to the Roman aqueducts, to the satellites that orbit our world.
  • In this talk, Lord Browne of Madingley will show how engineers can balance the risks and rewards of progress to deliver a brighter future.

Engineering is and always has been the lifeblood of civilisation. From the flint hand axe to the quantum computer, it has transformed what it is to be human. Across the ages, engineering has made the world less violent; reduced poverty, disease and starvation; and created an existence where a growing majority of people can read and write.

Today’s unprecedented pace of change, however, is provoking fear and scepticism about the ways engineering advance is affecting our lives. Is improved medical care creating an ageing population that will overburden health services? Are artificial intelligence and robotics poised to cause mass unemployment, or even wrest control from human leaders? And has our growing demand for energy driven the Earth’s climate to the edge of catastrophe? In contrast to the hysteria which characterise these topics, Lord Browne will show why it is imperative that society encourages, rather than hinders, technological progress.

Drawing on history, his own experiences and conversations with many of today’s great innovators, Lord Browne will acknowledge the unintended consequences of progress, but show that it is our also our primary source of solutions. We have the engineered solutions we need to forestall the worst effects of climate change, for example. And biomedical engineering can provide the means to care for the world’s growing populations with sensitivity and compassion. Applied responsibly and inclusively, engineering can deliver a brighter future.

About the speaker

Lord Browne holds a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge, and an MS in Business from Stanford. After joining BP in 1966 as a university apprentice, he later became Group Treasurer and then Group Chief Executive of BP (1995-2007). He is Executive Chairman of L1 Energy and Chairman of Huawei UK, Stanhope Capital, and Windward. He is a Director of Pattern Energy and a member of the advisory boards of Edelman, Schillings and the big data technology companies Afiniti, and Kayrros.

Lord Browne is Chairman of the Francis Crick Institute, and a Fellow and past President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and an Honorary Fellow of a number of institutions. He is Chairman of the Courtauld Institute of Art.

In 1999, The Royal Academy of Engineering awarded him the Prince Philip Medal for his outstanding contribution to engineering. He has also been awarded Honorary Doctorates from a number of leading universities, is an Honorary Fellow of John’s, Cambridge, and is a Senior Member of St Antony’s College, Oxford.

Date for your diary: 29th April 2020
Venue: SCI HQ, 15 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PS

Reception opens at 18.00 and the lecture starts at 18.30. This is a free event.



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Notes to editors:

About SCI: where science meets business

SCI is a unique global multidisciplinary network connecting scientists, business people, students and other key players involved in science-based innovation. SCI promotes innovation via its international network to advance the commercial application of science into industry for the benefit of society.

SCI works across crucial sectors as diverse as food and bio-renewables, water, environment, energy, materials and manufacturing, and health and wellbeing.


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