C. P. Snow famously gave a stark analysis in his 'Two Cultures' lecture of the split between Science and Humanities, and argued that the breakdown of communication between the two cultures of modern society was a major hindrance to solving the world's problems.
Some years later, the Engineering Council placed an advertisement in The Times; it ran:
Why isn't there an Engineer's Corner in Westminster Abbey? In Britain we have made more fuss of a ballad than a blueprint...
This prompted the poet Wendy Cope to write a satirical poem, 'Engineer's Corner', which included the lines:
We make more fuss of ballads than of blueprints -
That's why so many poets end up rich,
While engineers scrape by in cheerless garrets.
Who needs a bridge or dam? Who needs a ditch?
Science Poetry Competition at The University of Manchester, organised by Dr Peter Fenn, set out to show that the creativity and innovation necessary in science and engineering can produce poetry too. The competition calls for poems written by any student in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences showing the creative and human aspects of science and engineering.
During the first three years, 498 poems entered the competition across every school in the Faculty. Each year, Wendy Cope and Lachlan Mackinnon determine the winner and runners up from a shortlist of entries.
During the first Awards Ceremony in 2012, Vice President of the University, Professor Colin Bailey said:
"The art of engineering and science is critical to address the global challenges facing society. It is important that our engineering and science students develop their creativity to obtain the skills to address these challenges."
"This initiative allowed students to express their ideas through the medium of poetry and I was particularly pleased that 166 students decided to enter the competition, with the quality of the poems being extremely high."