Matt Osborne

MattOsborne

Matt is a columnist and author on all things freelance, engineering and consultancy – with rants and thought-provoking observations thrown in for good measure. He also runs a freelance consultancy in Lincoln; fulfilling his lifelong ambition to be his own boss after 16 years serving in both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. His consultancy attracts and employs high quality engineers alongside the finest defence and business professionals. Matt is a Chartered Engineer, and avid reader and huge football fan.


For years I have lived and worked in the shadow of a small group of amazing people who are continuing to develop ground-breaking advances in engineering, technology and science – and all from their Lincoln laboratories. I’m astounded and ashamed (in equal measure) that I knew not of their existence.

Applied Materials Technology are based in Lyndon Business Park to the south of Lincoln and in addition to their state of the art electroplating services, these boffins have been the proud recipients of private and state funded grants enabling them to develop some of the most exciting projects I have seen in a long time.

Through Research and Development, AMT’s engineers and scientists are creating (with their research partners) a blanket that will breakdown bilirubin (the cause of the yellow colouring from jaundice suffered by around 650,000 babies in the UK each year).

The current medical treatment is phototherapy, and involves the separation of mother and baby whilst powerful lights are shined on the baby’s skin. “Babylight” will facilitate treatment whilst the baby is reassuringly held in parents’ arms – and can be used at home or on the move.

Working closely with The Welding Institute and the Nofer Institute in Poland, Group Director Iain Glass has developed a prototype airborne asbestos detector for use at a disaster scene; which will remove the delays incurred from laboratory sampling of dust and debris – and would allow our firefighters to remove cumbersome protective clothing and respiratory equipment should it be prudent to do so.

The list of ground-breaking projects underway at their facilities is staggering – from improving the design of power electronic modules (PEMs) for electric vehicles to developing advanced manufacturing technologies that will realise massive cost-savings in both time and the prevention of material wastage.

Don’t get me started on their Cryogenic Vacuum and Pump technology though; I’ll be waxing lyrical for days… or on their work in developing high-end laser applications and deformable optics; production of pharmaceuticals from plant tissue culture; integrated power modules for hybrid and electrical vehicles; and the development of a portable laboratory for offshore wind farms that will assess the quality of the turbine blades using infra red technology (in association with the National Physical Laboratory) – to name but a few!

I know I’m a geek and devour all things engineering – but it is staggering that such exciting projects which will have beneficial implications for millions of people are being developed right under our noses in the heart of Lincolnshire. Not Silicon Roundabout in London, not the science parks associated with the South West of the UK – but right here in Lincoln.

This is another example of how diverse and exciting the industries of Lincolnshire are (and not just the ‘big boys’ either). I for one hope that this hidden gem (and many more like them) do not remain that way for long.

This column was first published in issue 62 of Lincolnshire Business magazine. Read more here.


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Matt is a columnist and author on all things freelance, engineering and consultancy – with rants and thought-provoking observations thrown in for good measure. He also runs a freelance consultancy in Lincoln; fulfilling his lifelong ambition to be his own boss after 16 years serving in both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. His consultancy attracts and employs high quality engineers alongside the finest defence and business professionals. Matt is a Chartered Engineer, and avid reader and huge football fan.

Nietzsche may well have been correct when he uttered the immortal phrase “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, but would he still impart this wisdom in the face of such conflicting health warnings that we currently face as consumers?

My favourite tipple – red wine – will either prevent me from getting tooth decay; strengthen my heart; lower blood pressure; reduce my risk of contracting cancer and enhance my life expectancy – or it will in fact decrease my life expectancy; kill off my muscles; increase my risk of contracting cancer; hinder weight loss and weaken my heart.

Apparently the key is to drink red wine ‘in moderation’. If only that wasn’t a subjective interpretation.

And now we have the furore over red, processed meat.

If recent ‘findings’ are to be believed, then this culinary offering must surely represent the most lethal cocktail of carcinogens known to man. I’ll start to worry when I see despotic rulers clamouring to import weapon-grade salami.

How can one take these warnings on processed red meat seriously in light of the regularly lauded benefits of a Mediterranean diet (which seems to involve the ingestion of copious amounts of salami and pastrami)?

So are these latest warnings to be heeded? Have we all stopped smoking en masse only to discover that Nick O’Teen wasn’t that evil after all – and who knew that The Hamburgler wasn’t of such benign malevolence?

Shall we expect a mass mobilisation of governmental mandarins to be relentlessly pursuing the greatest producers and film makers in order to hastily arrange the mass roll out of a health advisory film; warning against the evils of this foul produce?

Somehow I just don’t envisage a certain ex-dancer from ‘that 80s film’ to be tempted away from promoting mobile phones to become a pantomimic villain who espouses the vile nature of his namesake #pleasenotthem.

If we are to believe every warning issued of late, and ignore any positives derived from ‘moderate consumption’, then we should all rid ourselves of the curses of:

  • Alcohol
  • Red meat
  • Olive Oil
  • Processed Meat
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Bread
  • Sugar (don’t get me started on THAT tax!)
  • Sweeteners
  • Salt
  • Spicy food
  • Liquorice
  • Cow’s milk
  • Caffeine
  • Energy drinks
  • Tinned food
  • Yoghurt
  • Popcorn
  • Pies and Pastries
  • GMO foods
  • Shellfish
  • Tuna
  • Quiches and other egg-based products
  • Salads and berries (if you believe the Americans – and no that isn’t a joke!)

Is there anything left that we CAN eat or drink?

I think I’ll just let this latest hullaballoo die down whilst I enjoy a sausage sandwich.

What are your thoughts on this latest food health warning? Why not let everyone else know in the comments section below.

Matt is a columnist and author on all things freelance, engineering and consultancy – with rants and thought-provoking observations thrown in for good measure. He also runs a freelance consultancy in Lincoln; fulfilling his lifelong ambition to be his own boss after 16 years serving in both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. His consultancy attracts and employs high quality engineers alongside the finest defence and business professionals. Matt is a Chartered Engineer, and avid reader and huge football fan.

I’ve recently decided to re-educate myself – although I’m sure in these seemingly politically-correct days I should use the correct management parlance and confirm that I am on an upskilling programme. Whatever.

At a recent class, I was somewhat bemused as the lecturer drew a timeline on the whiteboard (is that an acceptable term still?) and annotated a vertical line with ‘BCE’ to the left, and ‘CE’ to the right. Before I could raise a hand, it was explained that we don’t use BC and AD anymore…

Apparently ‘Before Christ’ and ‘Anno Domini’ are terms that are no longer used – who knew (not me – clearly)? The new terms on the block are ‘Before the Common Era’ and the ‘Common Era’.

I realise I may not be breaking any news here – the London Evening Standard wrote about this back in 2002; writing that:

“The term ‘Common’ refers to the fact that the Christian calendar is the most frequently used around the world”.

So why have we adopted a secular approach to this chronological convention? Was anyone offended by the term ‘Before Christ’?

political-correctness

All of the Abrahamic religions acknowledge that Jesus existed – accepting that His role was either the son of God, a Prophet or a joiner (depending on one’s beliefs).

I don’t recall any outcries from the non-Christian faiths; nor can I bring to mind any campaigns to eradicate the terminology from secular sections of society – so why the change?

I’m not offended when I visit other countries and see a map of the world with the country I’m in at the centre (instead of the Greenwich Meridian) – although it does look ‘weird’ I confess – I simply accept that I’m seeing the world from a local perspective.

If I travel to Ethopia I wouldn’t be offended by their use of the Coptic calendar – and nor would they be with our use of the Christian one.

The irony of this change is that ‘Common’ was used, I believe, by ancient Christian monks in the 3rd century to denote the change from the ‘Vulgar’ years – those before Christ!

If we accept that those who use the Christian calendar are of a Christian denomination; or reside in a country that is predominantly so (and therefore ‘common’), whose sensitivities does this change seek to protect?

I realise I’m massively behind the drag curve here – but where and when does this kind of nonsense stop?

Many people are happy to celebrate the 25th of December with their family without wishing Jesus a ‘Happy Birthday’ – or did I miss the point when atheists stopped giving presents and having good cheer?

Maybe they do just get up and mumble ‘Merry Common Day’ into their cornflakes after all?

If religious historians can’t agree whether Yeshua of Nazereth (Jesus) was born in the autumn or the winter – or whether the term BC actually has Christian origins, then surely it’s about time (predominantly) white apologists stop wreaking havoc by stopping offence before it is created.

Maybe they already have – I’m 13-years late already it would seem.

Did you know about this move away from BC and AD? What are your thoughts on the change? Let everyone know in the comments section below.

Matt is a columnist and author on all things freelance, engineering and consultancy – with rants and thought-provoking observations thrown in for good measure. He also runs a freelance consultancy in Lincoln; fulfilling his lifelong ambition to be his own boss after 16 years serving in both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. His consultancy attracts and employs high quality engineers alongside the finest defence and business professionals. Matt is a Chartered Engineer, and avid reader and huge football fan.

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