1 - Seeking the Greatest British Innovation of the past century

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Seeking the Greatest British Innovation of the past century

17 March 2013

The Great British Innovation Vote, a website inviting the public to vote for their favourite British innovation of the last century, has been launched.

Tim Berners-Lee demonstrates the World Wide Web to delegates at the Hypertext 1991 conference in San Antonio, Texas (photo courtesy of the CERN photo archive)

Devised by the GREAT Britain campaign, the Science Museum Group, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, British Science Association, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Engineering UK, the shortlist features around 100 British innovations; from the splitting of the atom to the invention of the World Wide Web and the discovery of the structure of DNA.

A number of leading figures have recorded online Audioboos championing their favourite British innovation for the website. Among them are Academy President Sir John Parker FREng, who has chosen radar as his favourite innovation, and Dame Sue Ion FREng, who explains why nuclear power gets her vote.

Engineers Mark Miodownik, Yewande Akinola and Chi Onwurah MP are supporting plastic electronics, maglev and fibre optics respectively as the greatest British innovation.

Members of the public will be asked to decide on the most important innovation in British science, engineering and technology from the last century (1913-2013). Voters will also get the chance to predict which recent innovations they think will have the greatest impact in the next century.

Professor Stephen Hawking, shortlisted for two innovations himself, explained his support for the vote via an Audioboo, "I am passionate about British innovations. They've kept me alive, enabled me to communicate and transported me around the world."

Voting runs throughout National Science and Engineering Week, with the winning innovation to be announced on 25 March.

Voters are encouraged to celebrate their favourite innovations via twitter using #GreatVote.

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