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Nuts and Bolts: Seven Small Inventions That Changed the World

30th June 2023, 14:00 - 15:00
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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, award-winning engineer and broadcaster Roma Agrawal traces the surprising journeys 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. She’ll also share 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.

This event is part of a season of events and activities accompanying our new exhibition, Spirit of Invention, opening Saturday 27 May. Free and open to all, find out more at https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/visit-us/whats-on/exhibitions/spirit-of-invention/

Image credit – Roma Agrawal © Steve Ullathorne

What’s Online is a series of talks, in conversation events and webinars delivered by our experts and special guests. Events last approximately one hour, including an audience Q&A.

This event will be presented on Zoom. For the best experience we recommend using either a laptop or desktop computer.

You will receive a reminder email, including a link to join in advance of the event.

For more information on attending a Zoom event, please visit: https://bit.ly/3fojVtn

Talks are available to watch on catch-up for a limited period of 48 hours only. You will receive a separate link to view the recording once the event is over.

Nuts and Bolts: Seven Small Inventions That Changed the World event banner, featuring a picture of host Roma Agrawal

Event Details