University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Institution of Mechanical Engineers (Cambridgeshire Area) > Bombs away: The Dambusters bounce back - The reconstruction of Barnes Wallis' bouncing bomb

Bombs away: The Dambusters bounce back - The reconstruction of Barnes Wallis' bouncing bomb

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The last time a dam was blown up by a bouncing bomb was in May 1943. Well, not true. In October 2010, Dr Hugh Hunt was asked to act as Lead Engineer in a Channel 4 documentary remake of the raid. Together with Windfall Films his team designed a rig to suspend a spinning bomb under a DC4 , and built a 10m-high dam especially for the purpose of blowing it up.

This lecture described some of the many challenges they encountered, including scale model testing, design of a drop rig, targeting the dam and designing the explosive. The experience really put into perspective the wartime achievements of Barnes Wallis and his engineers and airmen.

Dr Hugh Hunt is a genuine spin-doctor. He is one of the UK’s leading experts on the behaviour of spinning objects, with a particular love of gyroscopes and boomerangs.

A Fellow of Trinity College, Dr Hunt is a Senior Lecturer in Engineering at the University of Cambridge and a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. His current research interests include reducing vibration on high-speed railway networks and improving the efficiency of wind turbines. Dr Hunt is also leading an international team planning to pump tiny dust particles into the stratosphere, in a bid to slow down climate change. In the same way Barnes Wallis tried to use engineering to stop the war, Dr Hunt is attempting to use engineering to fight the battles of the modern world.

Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Dr Hunt gained his first degree at the University of Melbourne before moving to the UK to study for his PhD in Engineering at Cambridge. He has appeared as an expert contributor in several television programmes including Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections (National Geographic), The Greatest Ever Weapons (Discovery) and Fifth Gear (five).

This talk is part of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (Cambridgeshire Area) series.

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