Mark Miodownik

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Mark Miodownik
Mark Miodownik.jpg
Miodownik, speaking at the Science is Vital rally in 2010.
Born Mark Andrew Miodownik
(1969-04-25) 25 April 1969 (age 48)[1]
Nationality British
Fields Materials Science
Institutions King's College London
University College London
University of Oxford
Alma mater St Catherine's College, Oxford[1]
Thesis Fundamentals of grain growth phenomena in ODS alloys (1996)
Known for Royal Institution Christmas Lectures[2]
Notable awards National Academy of Sciences 2015 Communication Award for book, Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape our Man-Made World

Mark Andrew Miodownik is a British materials scientist, engineer, broadcaster and writer at University College London. Previously, he was the head of the Materials Research Group at King's College London, and a co-founder of Materials Library.[3]


Miodownik attended Emanuel School and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in metallurgy from St Catherine's College at the University of Oxford in 1992, and a Ph.D in turbine jet engine alloys from Oxford in 1996,[4] specifically oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) alloys.[4]

Mark Miodownik says that his interest in materials came from an incident when he was stabbed in the back with a razor blade, on his way to school. Realising that a small piece of steel had done him so much harm started his interest in materials.[5]


Miodownik's scientific research is primarily in Materials Science, Metallurgy[6][7][8][9] and Biomechanics.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16] He has also been key to the development of the concept of Sensoaesthetics, which is the "application of scientific methodology to the aesthetic, sensual and emotional side" of materials.[7]


Miodownik is widely known for his broadcasting and outreach work. In 2001 he gave a series of talks at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) on aesthetics in the arts and sciences.[17] In 2003 he co-founded the Materials Library, a website for people working in materials science, with a grant from NESTA.[18] In 2005 he organised two talks at Tate Modern on the influence of new materials on the arts.[19] In 2006 he and two other scientists produced AfterImage, an installation that explores light and colour perception, which was exhibited at the Hayward Gallery.[20] In 2007 the Materials Library made a podcast, "What can the matter be?", hosted by the Tate.[21] He appeared on Jim Al-Khalili's "The Life Scientific" in March 2014.

He was one of the judges of the 2008 Art Fund Prize.[19] He often gives talks at the Cheltenham Science Festival, of which he is a member of the advisory group. In 2010 he placed 89 in a Times list of the 100 most influential people in science [22] and delivered that year's Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. The three-part series, Size Matters,[2] looked at how size influences everything, including the shape of the universe, and aired on BBC Four in late December.[23]

Miodownik has done work with the Tate Modern, the Hayward Gallery, and the Wellcome Collection. He has close ties to the Royal Institution of Great Britain and presented a Friday Evening Discourse in February 2013 entitled "Strange Material".[24][25] His television appearances include Wonderstuff on BBC Two in August 2011,[26] The How it Works series on BBC Four in 2012 [27] and The Genius of Invention on BBC Two in early 2013.[28] He also appeared as a regular guest on Dara Ó Briain's Science Club on BBC Two in late 2012.[29]


His book Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials that Shape Our Man-made World won the 2014 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books. The £25,000 donating prize rewards insights about everyday objects as well as technically new materials that might shape the future.[30]

The Communication Awards of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine awarded Mark Miodownik for Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape Our Man-Made World with a $20,000 prize for excellence in communicating science to the general public on 14 October 2015. The awards are given to individuals in four categories: books, film/radio/TV, magazine/newspaper and online, and are supported by the W. M. Keck Foundation.[31]

In 2013 he presented the Morgan-Botti lecture.


  1. ^ a b "‘MIODOWNIK, Prof. Mark Andrew’, Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012 ; online edn, Nov 2012". (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b "Christmas Lectures 2010 - Size Matters : Ri Channel". Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  3. ^ Khamsi, R. (2005). "Materials library has the right stuff: Eclectic collection promotes the tactile side of science". Nature. doi:10.1038/news050328-5. 
  4. ^ a b Miodownik, Mark (1996). Fundamentals of grain growth phenomena in ODS alloys (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. 
  5. ^ "The Life Scientific". Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  6. ^ List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
  7. ^ a b  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Cohen, M.; Baum, B.; Miodownik, M. (2010). "The importance of structured noise in the generation of self-organizing tissue patterns through contact-mediated cell-cell signalling". Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 8 (59): 787–798. PMC 3104346Freely accessible. PMID 21084342. doi:10.1098/rsif.2010.0488. 
  9. ^ Cohen, M.; Georgiou, M.; Stevenson, N. L.; Miodownik, M.; Baum, B. (2010). "Dynamic Filopodia Transmit Intermittent Delta-Notch Signaling to Drive Pattern Refinement during Lateral Inhibition". Developmental Cell. 19 (1): 78–89. PMID 20643352. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2010.06.006. 
  10. ^ Muñoz, J. J.; Conte, V.; Miodownik, M. (2010). "Stress-dependent morphogenesis: Continuum mechanics and truss systems". Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology. 9 (4): 451–467. PMID 20069442. doi:10.1007/s10237-009-0187-9. 
  11. ^ Conte, V.; Muñoz, J. J.; Baum, B.; Miodownik, M. (2009). "Robust mechanisms of ventral furrow invagination require the combination of cellular shape changes". Physical Biology. 6 (1): 016010. PMID 19342769. doi:10.1088/1478-3975/6/1/016010. 
  12. ^ Conte, V.; Munoz, J.; Miodownik, M. (2008). "A 3D finite element model of ventral furrow invagination in the Drosophila melanogaster embryo". Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. 1 (2): 188–198. PMID 19627783. doi:10.1016/j.jmbbm.2007.10.002. 
  13. ^ Basanta, D.; Miodownik, M.; Baum, B. (2008). Hunter, Peter, ed. "The Evolution of Robust Development and Homeostasis in Artificial Organisms". PLoS Computational Biology. 4 (3): e1000030. PMC 2274883Freely accessible. PMID 18369424. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000030. 
  14. ^ Munoz, J.; Barrett, K.; Miodownik, M. (2007). "A deformation gradient decomposition method for the analysis of the mechanics of morphogenesis". Journal of Biomechanics. 40 (6): 1372–1380. PMID 16814298. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2006.05.006. 
  15. ^ Miodownik, M. (2005). "Facts not opinions?". Nature Materials. 4 (7): 506–508. Bibcode:2005NatMa...4..506M. PMID 16003393. doi:10.1038/nmat1416. 
  16. ^ Wongsriruksa, S.; Howes, P.; Conreen, M.; Miodownik, M. (2012). "The use of physical property data to predict the touch perception of materials". Materials & Design. 42: 238. doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2012.05.054. 
  17. ^ People. Materials Library. Retrieved 26 October 2010. Archived by WebCitation on 26 October 2010.
  18. ^ Dr Mark Miodownik – Biography. King's College London. Retrieved 26 October 2010. Archived by WebCitation on 26 October 2010.
  19. ^ a b "Judging panel 2008". Art Fund Prize. Retrieved 26 October 2010. Archived by WebCitation on 26 October 2010.
  20. ^ "AfterImage at the Hayward Gallery". Retrieved 26 October 2010. Archived by WebCitation on 26 October 2010.
  21. ^ What can the matter be?. Tate Modern. Retrieved 26 October 2010. Archived by WebCitation on 26 October 2010. "Credits". Tate Modern. Retrieved 26 October 2010. Archived by WebCitation on 26 October 2010.
  22. ^ (subscription required). The Times.
  23. ^ "Dr Mark Miodownik, takes on the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures". Thomas Young Centre. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010. "Materials scientist to give RI Lecture". King's College London. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  24. ^ Strange Material. Royal Institution of Great Britain. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  25. ^ Strange Materials with Mark Miodownik. Royal Institution of Great Britain. YouTube Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  26. ^ "Wonderstuff". BBC website. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  27. ^ "How it Works". BBC website. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  28. ^ "The Genius of Invention". BBC website. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  29. ^ "Dara O Briain’s Science Club". BBC website. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  30. ^ Melissa Hogenboom (10 November 2014). "Materials book wins Royal Society Winton Prize". BBC. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  31. ^ "2015 Communication Awards Ceremony by NAS-Webcast". The New Livestream. Retrieved 2015-10-20. 

Further reading[edit]

DVD release[edit]

The entire "How it Works" series was released on DVD in 2015 under the title "The Secret Life of Materials".

External links[edit]