Kirsty Young's castaway is the engineer and international expert on aircraft noise reduction, Professor Dame Ann Dowling. The first female president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, one of her passions is encouraging more young people, particularly women to choose engineering as a career. In 1998 she became the first female professor of Engineering at Cambridge University and went on to be the first female head of the Department. As a child she was fascinated with how things worked, taking her bike apart aged six, and even dismantling the electric lights in her dolls house. Later, an over enthusiastic session with her chemistry set caused the conservatory curtains to briefly catch fire. A passion for aeroplanes led her down the path of aeroacoustics and aircraft noise reduction alongside her hobby of flying airplanes. She was awarded the DBE for services to science in 2007 and was appointed to the Order of Merit in 2016. Producer: Sarah Taylor.
A world in which planes are silent may sound like a pipe dream; but University of Cambridge engineer, Dame Ann Dowling, and her team proved it is possible to build an aircraft that barely makes any noise. A brilliant mathematician and a keen pilot, Ann now heads of one of the largest engineering departments in Europe. Her design for a silent aircraft could improve the quality of life for millions of people living near airports worldwide: so does she mind that it never got off the ground? Jim talks to Ann Dowling about mathematics, engines and how she always wanted to do something useful. Producer: Anna Buckley.