Dr Neil Ashton

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Research Engineer

I like to call myself a research engineer because I pride myself that I work on real-life engineering projects e.g Bloodhound SSC or Formula 1 but I also try to undertake novel research to bring new methods and ideas to the engineering design process. I did all my studies at the University of Manchester (undergrad and PhD) but then left to go work in Formula 1 at what is now the Renault F1 team. I learnt a lot in Formula 1 – in particular about the aerodynamic design process and what all those bits on the car actually do! I realised however that my passion was about working on a wide variety of engineering projects and not just on Formula 1 cars. I went back to doing a post-doc at Manchester University before then realising my dream of working at NASA – where I lived out in Silicon Valley for 6 months working at NASA Ames Research Centre. I was tempted to go back to the UK to come and work at Oxford University and now I think I have one of the coolest jobs working on fast cars and planes in between the beautiful buildings of Oxford. 

You can see a recent talk I gave at TedX Oxford which explains the sort of research I do.

TEDX video here:


Tuesday 25th Apr 2017, 11.15am

What does Hollywood get right and wrong when science is in the storyline?

In this week’s episode of the Oxford Sparks Big Questions podcast we are diving into the world of TV and films and looking at what comes first: the science or the storyline?

We take a look at popular films including: Star Wars, The Martian, Gravity, Terminator, Chain Reaction as well as popular TV drama Mr Robot.

To help us find the answer we visited a number of University of...

What does Hollywood get right and wrong when science is in the storyline?
Monday 13th Mar 2017, 02.15pm

Will supersonic transport ever make a comeback?

It’s 1985 and Phil Collins, drummer and singer had a problem. He wants to play Live Aid at Wembley, London and then a few hours later make it to Philadelphia to play drums for Eric Clapton for the Live Aid show there. Thankfully science was able to get him there. By science we mean the Concord!

In this episode of the Oxford Sparks ‘Big Questions’ podcast series we visited Dr Neil Ashton...

Concord Plane