Roma Agrawal | Inventions That Changed the World

Sat 18 Nov 2023 | 12:00am - 1:00am

Roma Agrawal
Roma Agrawal
Nuts & Bolts
Anna Lawlor

Join Roma Agarwal, the engineer who designed The Shard, and discover seven small inventions that changed the world in a big way. 

Smartphones, skyscrapers, spacecraft. Modern technology seems mind-bogglingly complex and baffling. But beneath the surface, it can be beautifully simple. In her book Nuts and Bolts, award-winning engineer and broadcaster Roma Agrawal deconstructs our most complex feats of engineering into seven fundamental inventions: the nail, spring, wheel, lens, magnet, string and pump.  

Explore the surprising journeys of each of these inventions through the millennia and discover how the tiny nuts and bolts that make up our world have changed our lives in dramatic ways.  

In conversation with journalist and broadcaster Anna Lawlor.

Venue: Baillie Gifford Stage (Old Divinity School)

Duration: 1 hour

Event supported by

Tickets available soon.

Author biography

Roma Agrawal MBE is an engineer, author and presenter who is best known for working on the design of The Shard. She studied engineering at Imperial College London and physics at the University of Oxford.  

 Roma has given talks to thousands around the world, including TEDx. She has also presented numerous TV shows for the BBC, Channel 4 and Discovery, and hosts her own podcast, Building Stories.  

 Her first book, Built, won an AAAS science book award and has been translated into eight languages. Roma is passionate about promoting engineering and technical careers to young people, particularly those from minoritized groups.  


Chair biography

Anna Lawlor is a journalist, broadcaster and media professional. She is writer and presenter of Typical! – a new BBC Radio 4 documentary, airing in June 2022. A school-leaver at 16, Anna has written for the majority of UK national newspapers and continues to contribute to The Economist and others. 

 Anna cut her teeth on The Sunday Times’ internship scheme, joining the foreign desk during the Iraq war. She later specialised in financial journalism, working as an investment editor at The Financial Times during the ‘credit crunch’ crisis. In 2012, she co-founded Luminescence Communications, an award-winning agency in Cambridge. 

 Throughout her career, Anna has interviewed eminent business leaders, politicians, and notable public figures, including an exclusive with His Highness the Aga Khan. An avid reader, Anna has also been a patron of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. 

Twitter: @AnnaL_Media