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Did you know?


Did you know…?                                                        

Things you may not know about Brunel (but may be proud to learn)

One of the highlights of celebrating our 50th anniversary so far has been hearing the memories that our staff and students - both past and present - have shared. We have found out so much about our university and there is a great deal to be proud of.

Take a stroll around the campus this year and you will see banners featuring 50 Brunel facts that show just what an impact our community has had on the wider world. We will be sharing these with you over the coming months but to give you a taster, here are a few of our favourites:

Making space history

In 1983 Professor Heinz Wolff and Brunel played an important part in British space history. Thirty-five applicants to the ‘Juno’ space programme were brought to Brunel for a series of gruelling tests of physical and mental stamina, all designed to see if they were up to the demanding trip into orbit. Professor Wolff’s team managed the science programme to be carried out on the spacecraft. In May 1991, the successful candidate, Helen Sharman, became the first Briton in space, staying for eight days on Mir, before returning to Earth a national hero.

Solving an ancient puzzle

After joining Brunel in the early days, Professor John Crank co-created a mathematical solution to a problem that stretched back to Napoleonic times. Professor Crank came up with a series of calculations that solved the heat equation – or how variations in temperature respond in a given area over time. The heat equation is of fundamental importance in diverse scientific fields from mathematics, probability theory, and the study of Brownian motion.

The first sandwich

In 1966, all 15 of the university’s listed programmes were four-year sandwich courses, which included one year in a work placement. Although commonplace in most British universities now, sandwich courses were unique to Brunel at the time. They were designed to ensure students were ready for the practical world of work.

The trophy cabinet

Our sporting alumni have won at least 35 Commonwealth medals, 26 Olympic and Paralympic medals, 18 World Championship medals, 13 National Championship medals and seven European Championship medals. The list is ever-growing and Team Brunel really is a force to be reckoned with!

Please do share your Brunel memories with us – whether they changed the planet or simply made your own world a better place. Visit to share your anecdote.