"Mather Lecture Manchester 2000
Professor John Hearle CText FTI
The Textile Institute 2002 CD-ROM
Each year, as a key element of its world conference, The Textile Institute hosts the Mather Lecture. The lecture is delivered by a prominent figure in textiles; the object is the furtherance of knowledge in the textiles industries. At the Institute's Manchester 2000 conference Professor John Hearle gave the Mather Lecture. He has now recorded his lecture with slides for presentation on a CD.
The original title - 'Industrial Revolutions At The Turns Of Three Centuries: Mechanical Hardware; Chemical Materials; Imaginative Software' - was chosen to fit in with the millennium year, but the lecture has a much broader scope.
Part One discusses the role of creativity in the textile industries. This fascinating section ranges from prehistoric inventions and the production of fine textiles by ancient civilisations, to changes in textile machinery in the industrial revolution, and on to developments of new fibres, chemical finishes, new machinery and computer aided design in the 20th century.
Part Two gives an authoritative view on the impact of information technology in the 21st century. Professor Hearle illustrates this with some personal links
to advances in software and computing. This leads on to a discussion of three problems that need to be resolved:
In addition to its account of textile history, the lecture considers what brings about periods of creativity - inventors, scientific and technical changes, and entrepreneurs - and its effect on our lives and society. Homer, Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, Arkwright, GM Trevelyan, Henry Moore and Bill Gates are among the many people mentioned in this great survey. The issues covered range from the possible role of quantum superposition in synthetic fibre composition to genetic engineering for natural fibres.
- Modelling the dynamic appearance of fabrics buckling in complex shapes - vital for best use of the ""virtual catwalk"".
- Relating the properties of fabrics to their structure - needed for an engineering design culture.
- Predicting and controlling fibre structure - to give the performance the market wants.
These are challenges for today and for the coming decades.