The STEAM of steam: a technician fixing stuff today creates the science and complex technology of tomorrow — Public Talk
October 17 2020 at 3:00PM - 5:00PM
Central Pier No. 8, Hong Kong
Free Event

This not-to-be-missed public talk analyses, on the one hand, the history of marine steam propulsion, and on the other, the close-knit relationship between disciplines within the popular banner of STEAM education.

We can identify clever ideas for devices driven by steam in the classical Mediterranean world of the 3rd century BCE to 1st century CE. They had no conceivable use. For the next millennium and a half they were forgotten. Then, over a period of a century, 1550-1650 CE, in Ottoman Turkey, Italy, Spain, France and Britain fertile minds began to see steam as a source of power to do needed work. Most important, they had the techniques, tools and materials needed. The results were the first, very inefficient steam engines. Another century of mechanics and engineers making and fixing machines that often broke down, and improving tools and materials to do so, turned early examples into workable and economically feasible steam engines.

Half a century or so later the engine went to sea. Engineers and mechanics devised and made paddle wheels and then propellers. The world was transformed. Thanks to the marine steam engine and the screw propeller, from 1850-1900 the value of sea trade rose 2000%.

In the meantime, initially with no influence on the actual design of steam engines, scientists worked on understanding WHY they work and what their limitations are. Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot (1796-1832) theorized the heat engine from which, fifty years later, Rudolf Clausius (1822-1888) and William Thompson, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), developed the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the concept of entropy. Similarly, the technician and engineer John Ericsson (1803-1889) developed the screw propeller in the 1830s. The scientific principles were worked out by a number of theorists between 1865 and 1920, prominent amongst whom were William Froude (1810-1879) and his son Robert Edmund Froude (1846-1924).

Throughout the story of the marine steam propulsion, technical and engineering knowledge and skills (T and E) and creative imagination (A) were what gave an impetus to theorizing (S) that with maths (M) provided understanding and explanations that could feed back and improve results.


Speaker: Dr. Stephen Davies
Language: In English with simultaneous interpretation into Cantonese

You may also like
(Open Call) Art Machines 2: International Symposium on Machine Learning and Art
October 20 2020 at 3:49PM - December 15 2020 at 11:59PM
October 24 2020 at 11:00AM - February 07 2021 at 7:00PM
JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
[Special Tour] Maritime Silk Routes
October 24 2020 at 3:00PM - 4:00PM
Central Pier No. 8, Hong Kong
(Online Audio-Visual Perfomance) SoundTeam Presents...
October 24 2020 at 4:00PM - 5:00PM
Introductory Contemporary Dance Workshop @ Passoverdance [Group B]
October 24 2020 at 5:30PM - November 07 2020 at 8:30PM
Passoverdance Studio, 16/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai
In Virtual Return You (can't) Dehaunt 
October 27 2020 at 12:00PM - November 05 2020 at 7:00PM
Videotage, Unit 13, Cattle Depot Artist Village, 63 Ma Tau Kok Road, To Kwa Wan, Hong Kong
Independently Yours – Apart
October 27 2020 at 7:45PM - October 28 2020 at 10:00PM
Louis Koo Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre
【NEW BOOK LAUNCH EVENT】The Saga of Kunlun Mountain | Chi-kit KWONG, Wai-cheong LUK and Tin-kit MARK
October 28 2020 at 9:00AM - November 03 2020 at 11:00PM
3/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre
October 28 2020 at 11:00AM - February 16 2021 at 7:00PM
JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
To Top
We use cookies to provide website functionality, to analyze traffic on our ARTPowerHK Sites, personalize content, serve targeted advertisements and to enable social media functionality. Our Cookie Statement provides more information and explains how to update your cookie settings. View ourCookie Statement.