skip to primary navigationskip to content
 

The One Show, 17 July 2009

last modified Dec 03, 2014 04:53 PM
The One Show, 17 July 2009

Professor Davidson

The One Show on BBC1 on Friday, 17 July was devoted to the Apollo moon missions and British technology that helped make them possible.

One piece of that technology was the Bacon fuel cell, a highly efficient, simple, practical and reliable way of producing the electrical power needed by the Apollo spacecraft. It was developed in this department by F.T. (Tom) Bacon in the 1950s and produces electrical power directly from the electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. At that time the proposed Apollo moon probe was designed with hydrogen and oxygen on board for propulsion and life support. The fuel cell was an ideal source of on-board electrical power with the additional advantage that the exhaust water could be used both for drinking by the crew and humidification of the capsule's atmosphere.

An original fuel cell, pictured below, is now in the Whipple Museum, Cambridge University.

Emeritus Professor John Davidson remembers Tom Bacon and an interview with him was included in the program. He said, "When he first met you he would ask you what your scientific and engineering interests were. If it had any bearing on the fuel cell he was deeply interested, if it had no bearing, he would switch off immediately."

The success of the Apollo mission is history and on a subsequent visit made by Bacon to the United States, President Richard Nixon put his arm around Tom's shoulders and said, "Tom, without you, we wouldn't have gotten to the moon".  

The Bacon Fuel CellMore about the fuel cell

Moon landing anniversary: a giant leap for Britain, too - Telegraph article

Professor John Davidson retired in 1993 but continues to be an active member of the department.

Share this

RSS Feed Latest news

Dr Janire Saez awarded Marie Curie Fellowship

Jun 14, 2019

Dr Janire Saez awarded Marie Curie Fellowship for her work on organ-on-chip devices for cancer research.

Senior academic promotions in the department

Jun 13, 2019

Dr Bart Hallmark has been promoted to University Senior Lecturer, and Dr Ljiljana Fruk and Dr Andy Sederman both promoted to Personal Readerships.

Design Project winners 2019

Jun 10, 2019

Congratulations to the two winning groups of our 2019 Design Project on "the processing of sour North Sea gas".

View all news

Upcoming events

CEB Research Conference 2019

Jun 25, 2019

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Philippa Fawcett Drive, Cambridge, CB3 0AS

Africans in STEM Symposium

Jun 28, 2019

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Philippa Fawcett Drive, Cambridge, CB3 0AS

Machine learning and AI in (bio)chemical engineering

Jul 08, 2019

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Philippa Fawcett Drive, Cambridge, CB3 0AS

Stokes200 Symposium

Sep 15, 2019

Pembroke College, Cambridge

Upcoming events