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Nokia Photography Competition at the Department of Engineering 2009 entries

The winning photo

Project Pebble Ben Sheppard and Robert Howshall
Project Pebble

In 2009 a small team at the Department of Engineering designed and built a low-cost, deep-sea photographic vessel. This photograph shows "Pebble" undergoing pool trials at Cranfield University. Whilst deep-sea photography has been done before, Pebble differed in one key respect. Cost. Pebble was built for £1800, making her tens of times less expensive than comparable deep-sea craft. This was achieved by using off-the-shelf components, almost no moving parts, and a pressure-balanced design. It is planned that subsequent years of Cambridge undergraduate engineers will improve the design and reduce the cost to less than £1000, making deep sea photography more affordable than ever before. Project Pebble was sponsored by BAE Systems Submarine Solutions, and supported by Tritech International, EADS, and Pentax.
More information on the project along with a gallery of photos can be found at:
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2nd prize

Synapse Ivan Minev and Rami Louca

In his research Ivan uses techniques developed by the semiconductor industry and apply them to soft materials that can be flexed and stretched. This novel approach will help to bridge the gap between rigid electronics and that of soft, living matter. Ivan will explore applications in prosthetics and tissue engineering. This Scanning Electron Microscope micrograph illustrates an experiment where Ivan fabricated a matrix of micro features. The features are small enough for biological cells to detect and interact with. This would enable Ivan and his team to study how the surrounding environment influences the many decisions a cell needs to make during its life cycle. The image invokes analogies with a neural circuit. You can see several 'neurons'; their cell bodies are large and round. They even project axons which join together in a synapse, the site where the electrical signal from one neuron jumps to the next.
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3rd prize

Rumble Isil Ayranci Kilinc

The array of images shows an aero-engine gas turbine burner flame oscillating due to self-excited combustion instabilities at low frequency which is a state termed as 'rumble'. The flow direction is from left to right and flame is observed to oscillate between a blue/violet lean premixed combustion mode and a brushy turbulent diffusion flame characterized by bright yellow soot incandescence. The frames were captured from a digital video recorded at Cambridge Intermediate Pressure Combustion Facility (CIPCF) during experimental investigation of combustion instabilities on a prototype low-NOx lean direct injection (LDI) burner. LDI technology offers a strong potential to reduce aircraft pollutant emissions but lean burn conditions are prone to combustion instabilities which have to be eliminated as they may damage engine parts by inducing acoustic resonance. CIPCF is funded by EPSRC and Rolls Royce plc.
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Other entries

Teddies in Space Daniel Strange
Teddies in Space

Four teddy bears voyaged to the edge of space on Monday December 1st 2008 as an experiment run by Cambridge University Spaceflight, with the SPARKS science club at Parkside Community College and Coleridge Community College. The bears were lifted to 30,085 metres above sea level on a latex high altitude balloon filled with helium. The aim of the experiment was to determine which materials provided the best insulation against the -53 ° C temperatures experienced during the journey. Each of the bears wore a different space suit designed by the 11-13 year olds from SPARKS.
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Iceberg in the Gerlache, Antarctica Rachel Milford
Iceberg in the Gerlache, Antarctica

We hoped to sail down one of the smaller straits but found it was too full of ice for us to proceed. One of the icebergs we navigated around was particularly beautiful showing sun scallops and bubble rills.
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Fluid Instability Sungjune Jung
Fluid Instability

This image, taken using a Nikon D40X with a 105mm lens and a Xenon flash lamp with ~1us duration, shows an unstable flow structure generated from the collision of two impinging jets with the diameter of 0.85mm.
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Leopard Ingrid Graz

"The photo shows all amorphous carbon (diamond-like carbon) deposited on glass respectively elastomeric subtrates. We investigate this material for its use in stretchable electronics as it will withstand when correctly designed large strains and thus protect fragile devices prepared on top of it. Shows gold films on elastomeric substrates to serve as stretchable electrodes.
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Splash Charlie Watt and Jonny Mullin

Splash is a concept lightweight tension structure designed to be an exhibition space next to the mill pond. The concept is inspired by the shapes produced by flowing water and impacting water drops. The model (shown in the photo) was constructed, using mostly wire and tights, as part of the third year structural design project. A photo of the model has been added to the photo of mill pond using PhotoShop.
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Saturn's ring arc Malik Qasim
Saturn's ring arc

Liquid crystalline molecules are very fascinating compounds and conceal the whole colourful universe with in. They reveal these mesmerising, beautiful textures under polarised microscope and lead eye blink to languish. These photographs have been taken under hot stage polarised microscope at certain temperature rang using normal aliened glass cell. These snaps show the transitions before the sample went under isotropic liquid phase and the titles are given on their manifestations. Furthermore, no digital or non-digital enhancement has been carried out on these pictures. Acknowledgement: I am thankful to Prof. Harry Coles for his support and encouragement and thanks to members of the Centre of Molecular Materials for Photonics and Electronics for providing me friendly environment.
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Wrinkled circle Arnaud Bonin
Wrinkled circle

Experiment analysing the effects of pressure on the out-of-plane deformation of a thin Kapton membrane. The wrinkling behaviour is studied to understand how this reflective membrane can become the primary mirror of a future space-bound telescope. The picture was cropped by cutting one side of it and a “air hole” in the middle was deleted.
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Launch Pad Debris Hugh Hunt
Launch Pad Debris

After a failed rocket launch (the motor exploded on takeoff) this black sticky splodge of debris was left behind on on the launch pad.
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Giant's causeway Rami R M Louca
Giant's causeway

SEM micrograph of Zinc oxide micro crystals. Not enhanced in any way. Acknowledgements: Prof. M Welland, Dr. James Bendall, Dr. Natalie Plank
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CNT wall Tim Wilkinson
CNT wall

An LC/CNT device is a hybrid liquid crystal/carbon nanotube device filled with a standard nematic LC viewed under reflected polarised light a x20 magnification. The device is viewed from above and is two parallel walls of CNTs (the top of the T - shaped electrodes).
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Purity Jonathan Mullin

A single drop hangs in time above a bowl of water, disturbed moments earlier by a previous droplet.
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Ring Microbalance Angel Lin
Ring Microbalance

This image is a miniaturized silicon ring resonator, taken using scanning electron microscope. The resonator is electrically excited by the surrounding electrodes and is used as highly sensitive mass sensor, hence called a microbalance. The resonator was designed by Joshua Lee, and the image has been coloured by Yunie Li using Adobe photoshop.
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Cooling Cholesteric Philip Hands
Cooling Cholesteric

This photograph was taken using an optical polarising microscope of a chiral nematic (cholesteric) liquid crystal cell. The images were taken whilst the cell was cooled from the isotropic to the chiral nematic phase. Between 99 and 104 deg C.
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Bridge building in Morocco Theo Hacking
Bridge building in Morocco

In 2003 I attended the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) conference in Marrakech. The conference was the first I attended after starting my PhD at the Centre for Sustainable Development, Department of Engineering. I went on one of the post-conference events, which involved a day trip to the foothills of the Atlas mountains. While walking to the waterfalls we came across the boys, who I think are Berber. I was intrigued by their ‘engineering’ efforts and the general excitement that surrounded this. It was a stroke of good fortune that the one boy stood up with an excited expression just as I was taking the picture. I had forgotten about the picture, but recently came across it while sorting through my things.
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Wind pump Sam Cocks
Wind pump

This machine has been diligently supplying water to its Kenyan farm for nearly two decades, allowing irrigation and sustaining generations of livestock. Its reliability in providing this simple but essential function is a testament to practical engineering solutions.
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Liquid crystal laser array Stephen Morris
Liquid crystal laser array

Image is a two-dimensional array of red-green-blue liquid crystal lasers constructed from a single liquid crystal device. This device emits all three colours simultaneously.
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Cranes and a digger Olusomi Delano
Cranes and a digger

Like everywhere else in Dubai, construction was taking place on reclaimed land. In the summer of 2008, I was on a 3 week work placement with Ramboll Whitbybird and visited this site. This project started in Summer of 2007 and was set to finish in the Summer of 2009; I could not see how this was possible but then again it's Dubai, impossible is nothing.
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Molecular Flowers Damian Gardiner
Molecular Flowers

The image presented is observed because of electro-hydrodynamic instabilities within a liquid crystal phase. These are initially very chaotic but assume more and more order as the voltage is increased - hence the amazing (and initially unanticipated) patterns observed. The picture was taken between crossed polarisers and has been adjusted for tone.
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Between Tradition and Modernity Martin Bohmert
Between Tradition and Modernity

This is the Millenium Bridge in London which had some troubles when it first opened, but it is now a very nice part of the ballad along the Thames.
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Blinking buttons Jize Yan
Blinking buttons

An original micrograph of a micro-machined Silicon in-plane mode square-plate resonator with regular process etching holes. Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) is the integration of mechanical elements, sensors, actuators, and electronics on a common silicon substrate through microfabrication technology. MEMS resonators are currently being developed for signal processing and sensor applications, such as in oscillators, electronic filters, inertial sensors, and mass sensors, due to their small scale, potential for system-on-chip integration with CMOS circuits and the capability to process signals at very low power levels.
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Getting Ready to Move Hugo Mallinson
Getting Ready to Move

The Institute for Manufacturing Automation Lab in the middle of being broken down for the move to the new building. This photo is a composition of 76 smaller photographs.
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Optical antenna array Haider Butt
Optical antenna array

The picture shows the localisation of light at a sub-wavelength scale of a few micrometers by a phased array of dipole antennas. This simulation models an array of carbon nanotubes as optical antennas, converting the incident light waves into localised energy.
8 weeks relevant industrial experience Georgina Rose
8 weeks relevant industrial experience

"This photo was taken in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand, where I spent 2 months working on the full construction project of a reinforced concrete bridge. The nature of the work was such that it was “of an engineering nature involving other people in an engineering environment” and thus qualified me for my 8 weeks industrial experience requirement for part IB of the Cambridge Engineering Tripos. I think the photo highlights the opportunities undergraduate engineering can offer beyond the Department of Engineering."
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Blackghost Paul Esparon

The photo was taken at the 2008 Student Autonomous Underwater Challenge Europe (SAUC-E) competition. The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) is floating in the outside test tank awaiting initialisation. The 2008 competition was held in IFREMER, Brest, France. The Blackghost AUV is designed to undertake an underwater assault course autonomously with no outside control. The AUV took over a year to build, weighs about 7kg and is 1.1m long. A 1GHz computer, batteries, cameras and motors are crammed inside the 80mm diameter hull, which has been designed to be deployed through an ice bore hole for future scientific research missions. This photo is not enhanced. Acknowledgements: Sunil Shah (photographer), Dr Timothy Nickels and 2008 CAUV team.
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Fountains of the CAPE Christopher Wakefield
Fountains of the CAPE

This photograph was taken during a walk around the west Cambridge site. To create the effect of a smooth stream of water a 10 second exposure was required. This also had the effect of emphasising the Total Internal Reflection taking place inside the water. in editing the photo I cropped some of the image before removing some of the image noise. Finally a small amount of burning was used to correct over-exposed areas. What I particularly like is that by using a long exposure the fountain can be seen in a way that would not be available otherwise.
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Horizon Christophe Lecomte

"This picture represents mathematical characteristics of a very simple vibrating system. It has been generated by using a numerical software, Matlab, and no treatment has been applied to the raw data. Although the pictures are two dimensional, an impression of perspective dominates. Apparent valleys and hills cross paths to create a landscape on which a vertical ray of light is closing. The maps are used to predict the statistical properties of systems of which some components are random. A general stochastic theory has been developed that may be used for any linear system not only in engineering, but also in other fields like finance or physics."
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The Wing Anne Bahnweg
The Wing

A single wing of the same fly photo taken with the scanning electron microscope (SEM). The pictures were not modified or edited in any way. They were taken straight out of the SEM.
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View into a different reality Andreas Petsas
View into a different reality

The photograph was taken during a recycling project in Jordan. The factory in the picture is situated a few km outside Amman and is recycling scrap plastic. The working conditions I witnessed through a shop window were quite shocking and made me put all that I've learnt about manufacturing in the UK into perspective. These men are usually Egyptian immigrants who work for a few hundred pounds a month in a dangerous working environment, full of toxic fumes where they are required to carry out hard manual tasks.
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The Millennium Bridge protrudes out of St Paul's Andrea Maffioli
The Millennium Bridge protrudes out of St Paul's

The photo shows the Millennium Bridge in London and the details of its structure, including the innovative lateral suspension cables. St Paul's Cathedral, in the background, is an example of 300-year-old architecture and engineering from which the new bridge departs.
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The answer my friend is blowing in the wind Dick Fenner
The answer my friend is blowing in the wind

Two graduate students on the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development visiting Bears Down Wind Farm in Cornwall operated by npower renewables (part of the RWE group). The photograph was taken during a recent Field Trip to study post-mining regeneration of Cornwall.
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Take off Oliver Hughes
Take off

The Photograph was taken during testing of Gyrolander, a rocket created during my Master's project this year. This rocket is actively stabilised using a novel control system which requires only one gyroscope. Unfortunately during testing the rocket motors used were faulty and produced some exciting results!
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Blizzard Night Engineering Chien-Wen Hsieh
Blizzard Night Engineering

This image was taken at an unexpected blizzard midnight during a trip at Sapporo, Japan, where the most civil maintenance and construction works are basically taken place at night, even in such sort of severe weather. While the dawn comes back, the urban runs as usual.
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Winding of a transformer David Thorn
Winding of a transformer

A small transformer's secondary coil being wound. This forms part of the high frequency DC to HVDC link in the GB2 (Electrical Power) 3rd year project. Acknowledgements: My partner in the sub-team working on the DC-DC half of the project is Julian Granger-Bevan of Selwyn.
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Nano architecture Mr Chi Li, Dr Yan Zhang, Mr Pritesh Hiralal, Dr Husnu Emrah Unalan and Dr Mark Mann
Nano architecture

The nano-structure is made up of carbon nanotube and zinc oxide nanowires. There are two growth steps: 1. vertical aligned carbon nanotubes array were grown on Si substate. 2. Zinc oxide nanowires were grown on the wall of the carbon nanotubes. The image was taken with a scanning electron microscope but is colour modified using the colour balance function in Adobe Photoshop.
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© Copyright notice
You may copy an image from the photography competition, reproduce it, and distribute it, but only if you clearly attribute the image to the student or academic who took the photograph, state that they work in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, and acknowledge Nokia's sponsorship of the competition. It would also be courteous to provide a links to and We would be delighted to hear where the images have been used. Please contact to let us know.

Photo Competition Archives

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