Mark Miodownik

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Mark Miodownik

Mark Miodownik.jpg
Miodownik speaking at the Science is Vital rally in 2010
Mark Andrew Miodownik

(1969-04-25) 25 April 1969 (age 53)[1]
London, England
EducationEmanuel School
Alma materUniversity of Oxford (BA, DPhil)[1]
Known forBroadcasting
AwardsHetherington Prize (1995)
Morgan-Botti lecture (2013)
Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (2014)[2]
AAAS Public Engagement with Science Award (2015)
Michael Faraday Prize (2017)
Scientific career
FieldsMaterials Science
InstitutionsKing's College London
University College London
ThesisFundamentals of grain growth phenomena in ODS alloys (1996)

Mark Andrew Miodownik MBE FREng (/ˌməˈdɒvnɪk/[3]) 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.[4]


Miodownik attended Emanuel School in South London. In 1987 he went up to St Catherine's College, Oxford where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in metallurgy. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree in turbine jet engine alloys at Linacre College, Oxford in 1996,[5] specifically oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) alloys.[5] For the presentation of his doctoral work at Oxford, he was awarded the Hetherington Prize in 1995.

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.[6]

Career and research[edit]

Miodownik's scientific research is primarily in Materials Science, Metallurgy[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 was interviewed by Jim Al-Khalili for The Life Scientific first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in March 2014.[6]

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]

Awards & honours[edit]

Miodownik was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014.[30] 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,[31] and a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Communication Award in 2015.[32] He was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science Prize for Public Engagement with Science the same year.[33]

In 2017, Miodownik was awarded the Michael Faraday Prize and Lecture by the Royal Society,[34] and in the 2018 New Year Honours he was awarded an MBE for "services to Science, Engineering and Broadcasting".[35]


  • Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials that Shape Our Man-made World (2014), ISBN 978-0241955185
  • Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives Paperback (2020), ISBN 978-0358108450


  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 17 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  4. ^ Khamsi, R. (2005). "Materials library has the right stuff: Eclectic collection promotes the tactile side of science". Nature. doi:10.1038/news050328-5.
  5. ^ a b Miodownik, Mark Andrew (1996). Fundamentals of grain growth phenomena in ODS alloys. (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. OCLC 59596632. EThOS
  6. ^ a b Al-Khalili, Jim (2014). "Mark Miodownik: The Life Scientific". BBC. Retrieved 11 March 2014. Mark Miodownik's chronic interest in materials began in rather unhappy circumstances. He was stabbed in the back, with a razor, on his way to school. When he saw the tiny piece of steel that had caused him so much harm, he became obsessed with how it could it be so sharp and so strong. And he's been materials-mad ever since. Working at a nuclear weapons laboratory in the US, he enjoyed huge budgets and the freedom to make the most amazing materials. But he gave that up to work with artists and designers because he believes that if you ignore the sensual aspects of materials, you end up with materials that people don't want. For Mark, making is as important as reading and writing. It's an expression of who we are, like music or literature, and 'everyone should be doing it'. To this end, he wants our public libraries to be converted into public workshops, with laser cutters and 3 D printers in place of books.
  7. ^ a b "Sensoaesthetic Materials - Research". Institute of Making.
  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. doi:10.1098/rsif.2010.0488. PMC 3104346. PMID 21084342.
  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. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2010.06.006. PMID 20643352.
  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. doi:10.1007/s10237-009-0187-9. PMID 20069442. S2CID 207064748.
  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. Bibcode:2009PhBio...6a6010C. doi:10.1088/1478-3975/6/1/016010. hdl:2117/8195. PMID 19342769.
  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. doi:10.1016/j.jmbbm.2007.10.002. hdl:2117/8161. PMID 19627783.
  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. Bibcode:2008PLSCB...4E0030B. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000030. PMC 2274883. PMID 18369424.
  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. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2006.05.006. hdl:2117/8542. PMID 16814298.
  15. ^ Miodownik, M. (2005). "Facts not opinions?". Nature Materials. 4 (7): 506–508. Bibcode:2005NatMa...4..506M. doi:10.1038/nmat1416. PMID 16003393. S2CID 32180278.
  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: 238–244. 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. Tate Modern. Retrieved 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. ^ "Stars of industry and academia elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering". Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  31. ^ Melissa Hogenboom (10 November 2014). "Materials book wins Royal Society Winton Prize". BBC. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  32. ^ "Academies Announce Winners of 2015 Communication Awards". Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  33. ^ "Mark Miodownik receives AAAS Public Engagement with Science Award". UCL Mechanical Engineering. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  34. ^ "Miodownik wins Royal Society Faraday Prize and Lecture - UCL Mechanical Engineering".
  35. ^ "Honours list" (PDF).

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]