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Engineers hold key to world's challenges says Duke of Edinburgh

Published 02/01/2016

Philip used a radio interview to speak about his passion for engineering
Philip used a radio interview to speak about his passion for engineering

The Duke of Edinburgh believes engineers hold the key to meeting the challenges of the world's growing population and it was "curious" there is not a Nobel Prize for the discipline.

Philip used a radio interview to speak about his passion for engineering, pointing out that the "skint" UK had relied on its technological ability to rebuild after the Second World War.

In the future he suggested that it would be engineers who could "decide" how a population boom could be managed without damaging the environment.

The 94-year-old duke told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the country's infrastructure depended on engineering and "everything that wasn't invented by God was invented by an engineer".

In the interview the duke said his interest began when he was a naval officer "surrounded by engineering" on warships.

After the war, he said, "we were completely skint, seriously badly damaged and the only way we were going to recover a sort of viability was through engineering".

In 1976 Philip initiated the Fellowship of Engineering, now the Royal Academy of Engineering, which promotes excellence and education in the field.

Setting out the role engineering would play in future he said: "The human population of the world is growing and is occupying more space, and it has got to be accommodated somehow or other. What I think most people would like to see is that it accommodates a certain amount of the natural world as well as the human world and everything that we require to keep it going.

"But somehow or other that balance to try and fit as many people on to this globe as comfortably as possible without them doing too much damage - I think ultimately it's going to be engineers who are going to decide that."

He was interviewed by former BP boss Lord Browne, c hairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, who said he wanted the £1 million award to be seen as a Nobel-style prize for engineering.

The duke said: "It is curious that there is not a Nobel Prize for engineering."

He suggested it may be due to the historic divide between scientists and engineers, suggesting there was "a certain amount of jealousy and a certain amount of anxiety as to whether they might be better".

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