James Dyson
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James was brought up in rural Norfolk, UK. Ignoring the advice of his careers adviser to become as estate agent, James headed to London to study at the Royal College of Art.

After graduating from the RCA, James was employed by engineering company, Rotork, where he designed his first project, the Sea Truck; a high-speed landing craft.

For James, frustration has proved the mother of invention. A wheelbarrow which sank in the mud was the inspiration for Ballbarrow – which had a large inflatable ball instead of a wheel.

Then in 1979, when James bought the then top of the range vacuum cleaner, he became frustrated with how it instantly clogged and began to lose suction. During a chance visit to a local sawmill, James noticed how the sawdust was removed from the air by large industrial cyclones. Could that principle work on a smaller scale, in a vacuum cleaner? He took his vacuum apart and rigged it up with a cardboard cyclone. He then began to clean the room with it. Amazingly it picked up more than his old bagged machine. The world’s first vacuum cleaner without a bag.

It took 15 years of frustration, perseverance, and over 5,000 prototypes, for James to finally launch the Dyson DCO1 vacuum cleaner under his own name. Within 18 months it became the best-selling cleaner in the UK. Dyson now exports to 50 countries and employees 2,500 people worldwide, many of whom are scientists and engineers.

Dyson continues to develop new and different technology, such as the Dyson digital motor, the Dyson Airblade™ hand dryer and the Dyson Air Multiplier™ fan

James continues to work alongside his team of engineers and scientists, developing new technologies to overcome everyday frustrations.

Entries by James Dyson

Invest in Engineers Now to Power Our Future

(98) Comments | Posted October 21, 2013 | 8:00 PM

The talk of power blackouts makes it easy to forget that Britain was a pioneer of energy technology. Unfortunately we have consistently undervalued our engineers and scientists - now we are seeing the consequences.

The government this week signed an agreement which means our looming energy...

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London Olympics: Function and Form

(57) Comments | Posted July 27, 2012 | 8:00 PM

A picture of London's new Olympic Velodrome recently caught my eye. Its double-sloped steel roof and natural cedar wood siding are striking.

Does it match the grandeur of China's famous Bird's nest stadium? Perhaps not. But beneath its veneer there's arguably a more impressive piece of structural engineering. Steeply...

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A Sub-Standard Solution

(8) Comments | Posted June 21, 2012 | 7:01 PM

America is a country of reinvention. Owing to its youth, it is fuelled by change. From the Pony Express to the Postal Service to email. From the Wright Brothers to Boeing's Dreamliner. America invents, adapts and improves.

The education system is the exception. While the U.S.'s university system was...

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In Support of the Start-up

(7) Comments | Posted March 25, 2012 | 8:00 PM

"You've got two minutes."
"You'll never sell a vacuum cleaner without a bag."
"This project is dead from the neck up."

A heap of nos and nevers as I pitched my newly designed vacuum to old-fashioned industry execs. I wish I could say my story was unusual. Many...

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The Award For Engineering Goes To...

(48) Comments | Posted February 24, 2012 | 7:00 PM

It's one of the year's most hotly anticipated competitions. The contenders look nervously across the wings as the host steps up to the podium. The envelope is fumbled. The noise in the room drops in anticipation. Who will take away the coveted prize... the Mississippi regional middle school Science Bowl?...

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Inspired Design: Young Inventors Solve Old Problems in New Ways

(9) Comments | Posted February 14, 2012 | 7:40 PM

The general perception of engineers is a warped one. We are the car mechanics fixing the oil leak. Or, if we're lucky, a white coated scientist tucked away in a dusty laboratory. Never adventurers. Never explorers. And definitely not daredevils. It's not surprising then that too few young people stumble...

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Osborne and Gove Must Fuse the Link Between the Economy and Education

(5) Comments | Posted September 9, 2011 | 8:00 PM

George Osborne and Michael Gove need to talk. While Osborne calls for a 'march of the makers', Gove considers dropping Design and Technology - the font of modern making - from the national curriculum. Inspirational design and technology lessons nurture problem solvers - people with the good ideas to be...

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Letting Students Fail in Order to Succeed

(21) Comments | Posted May 3, 2011 | 5:24 PM

U.S. education is suffering from a crisis in confidence. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has estimated that 80 percent of public schools could be failing under the No Child Left Behind Act. States are calling for reform while coming to blows with teachers unions. In Chicago, politics and deficit worries are...

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Let Bipartisanship Start with Education

(7) Comments | Posted November 23, 2010 | 12:09 PM

Come the January inaugurations, the US can expect political disputes, policy shifts and perhaps the odd bit of compromise. If there's one issue where common ground must be found, it's education. It's a divisive and decisive issue where Republicans and Democrats must grit their teeth and work together to reform...

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