Libby Purves is joined by engineer Sam Etherington; Royal Marine turned actor Cassidy Little; ceramicist Emma Bridgewater and anthropologist and writer Professor Merry ‘Corky’ White.

Sam Etherington recently joined Britain’s engineering Hall of Fame for his pioneering work on wave energy. The 24-year-old engineer follows in the footsteps of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, George Stephenson, Barnes Wallace and other great British engineers. Sam came up with his design for a multi-axis wave converter after being buffeted by waves while out kitesurfing.

Cassidy Little is a former Royal Marine turned actor. He plays the title role in Owen Sheers’s play, The Two Worlds of Charlie F, which tells the story of modern warfare from a soldier’s perspective. Cassidy studied performance and dance in the US before joining 42 Commando Royal Marines. It was while serving on his second tour in Afghanistan in 2011 that he lost a leg in an IED blast. The Two Worlds of Charlie F is touring the UK.

Emma Bridgewater is a pottery designer who founded her ceramics company in Stoke-on-Trent in 1985. Her book, Toast and Marmalade and Other Stories, tells the personal stories behind her pieces – she is known for her quintessentially British designs such as trailing sweet peas, blue hens, tumbling roses, plump figs and black toast. Today the business remains committed to the manufacture of British pottery. Toast and Marmalade and Other Stories is published by Saltyard Books.

Merry ‘Corky’ White is professor of anthropology at Boston University. Her book, Cooking for Crowds, celebrates its 40th anniversary with a new edition. Corky was a student and single parent when she started catering for Harvard academics to earn money in 1970. Every week she catered one or two dinners for 25 and one lunch for 50. She credits Julia Child with saving her from her early kitchen nightmares. Cooking for Crowds is published by Princeton University Press.

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