Matopoly - orienteering with (fun)damental materials science

18 Jul 2013
Members of the YMC with the winning team

On 27 April the Younger Members' Committee hosted a Matopoly social and networking event in London. Dr Kate Thornton, a member of the YMC and one of the organisers of the event, described Matopoly as a strategic team orienteering challenge, with a materials science theme.


The contestants were challenged to visit as many of the locations provided on their Matopoly game boards as possible within a four-hour period. The locations which were dotted around central London, were chosen to fit with the materials science theme, for example Silver Place in Soho, although a few well-known landmarks were also included. To allow each team's success to be judged, a simple team photo was required at each location.

The action began at IOM3 headquarters at 1 Carlton House Terrace, where each team has provided with its game board and final instructions before the nearby chimes of Big Ben signalled at midday that it was time for the contestants to dart off into the streets of the capital. Whether on foot, the Underground or by Boris bike (as one of the teams was seen beating the traffic along Piccadilly), the clearest strategy seemed to be to devise a route that would allow as many points as possible to be gained, with the least amount of repetition. The areas covered by the teams therefore often strayed away from the conventional tourist paths, although this emerged as a welcome addition to the experience. One contestant, Jessica Middlemiss from Dyson, said, 'I have seen more of London today than I did studying materials at Imperial College!'.

Throughout the day the weather conditions were typically a mix of bright sunshine and the rain showers synonymous with April in the UK but hail, sleet and strong winds were also experienced. However, the weather did little to slow the contestants, perhaps even motivating them to stay on course and reach the reception, which was held at the Walkers of Whitehall pub.

The reception, which was sponsored by Croda, Luxfer Gas Cylinders and TWI, provided an opportunity (while the scores were calculated) for participants to exchange their opinions on why they were sure to be on the winning team. The reception was also welcomed as a chance to rest weary legs, and as an 'opportunity to meet a lot of people in different industries', as expressed by Simon King, an EngD student at the University of Surrey. The winning team was composed of former postgraduate students of the University of Manchester, imaginatively named Manchester Materials. They were closely followed by the intriguingly named Don't Eat Yellow Clay.

Perhaps the experience, and the feelings of the attendees on the day were summarised most fittingly by Dr Kueshni Govender, representing event sponsor TWI. She added, 'From Brick Lane to Buckingham Palace, Matopoly provided a fun twist on the typical experience. The organisers put a lot of thought and effort to make the day fun ferrous all!'.











Due to the positive feedback following this event, the YMC is planning to host another edition of the Matopoly challenge in 2014. However, don't close your diaries just yet - a Boost your Career in Science and Engineering event is also planned in autumn 2013. The exact date and location are to be confirmed and will be announced on the website in the near future.

The YMC would like to thanks the sponsors and the contestants for making Matopoly 2013 a trully memorable event.

See you again next year!