Fibre Optic Sensors Can Save the World!

Join Matthew Partridge at 8.20pm, Tuesday 22nd August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe venue 7) to discover how fibre optic sensors really can save the world.


Tell us a bit about yourself 

I have several current roles, firstly (and least importantly) I’m the cartoonist and blogger behind the site I launched the site in 2008 as a place devoted to talking about the lighter side of research, and being irreverent about science. My day job is working as a Research Fellow in the Centre of Engineering Photonics at Cranfield University, where I develop fibre optic chemical sensors for everything from water pollution monitoring to cancer diagnosis.

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

My research is fibre optics, my show is all about fibre optics and fibre optics is right there in the title. If that’s not already hinting at the way that my show fits to my research then I’m going to have to keep mentioning fibre optics more. Fibre optics.

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

Mostly people wouldn’t call fibre optics dangerous and would really say that the most dangerous thing about them is that they can carry laser beams capable of burning a hole through sheet metal. But to me I think of fibre optics as dangerous because they can be so thin that they can slip between skin cells and get embedded in you without you even knowing. Which is both an example of why they are dangerous and an explanation for how I ended up with a fibre optic in my finger as a constant reminder to wear gloves.

Does it rightly have this label? Is the topic unjustly controversial?

The biggest controversy about fibre topics is that everyone thinks they are only good for streaming Netflix. They can do so much more (providing you wear gloves when doing it)

Why is the topic important to you?

It is both my day job and something I passionately want to help educate people about so that they too can see how amazing they are and appreciate the how much better the world would be if there were more of them.

Describe your show in 3 words

Fibre optic death

Why should the unenlightened Fringe-goer attend your show? What will they learn?

Seeing my show will worth it because you’ll learn all about the history of fibre optics, which is really the history of jealous scientists, a crazed person attaching molten glass to a crossbow and the most honest scientist in the world being secretly funded by the CIA. There’s also some bits about the post office and the Dorset Police force and why you need to thank them for the broadband we have today.

Then if all that wasn’t interesting enough as a Fringe-goer you get to challenge me to come up with fibre optic solutions to any problem you can think of. I will happily solve relationship issues, general election confusion and provide a simple solution to Brexit. All with some little known uses of fibre optics.


Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe