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Dr Peter Martin
lecturer in engineering science at the University of Oxford

I am inspired to take up science every time I think it might hold the key to an engineering problem. Engineers are the bridge between science and society. Science develops a fundamental understanding of nature, and human society has various needs and wants, which are often complex and disputed. The drive for my engineering work comes from a desire to make a practical contribution to improving society. Ultimately, science is the principal ingredient to my solutions.

I think it unfortunate that today, science is often seen as a source of problems, rather than as the potential solution to them. For instance, I have worked to improve the production of agrochemicals such as pesticides. I am often faced with the objection that synthetic chemicals are intrinsically bad, and that organic food production is preferable. But I take pride in my work, and associate it with developments such as the Green Revolution, which enabled many countries to produce an excess of cheap food.