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Damini Kumar
product design engineer

Do a quick word association with 'engineering'. Maybe you think of the Forth Bridge, the Channel Tunnel or Concorde. But the young design engineer Damini Kumar created something that ranks alongside these great engineering feats – a solution to teapot dribble.

Her work disproved years of scientific research into the ubiquitous problem of the dripping teapot. Damini's innovative spout design can be used to stop dripping with any pouring technology, from petrol pumps to watering cans. And if the application of her engineering skills seems odd, it's rooted in the fact that since the age of five she has been actively designing solutions to problems that she has encountered.

This engineer of everyday life believes that the recipe for good design engineering is one-part ingenuity and invention, and one-part creativity and imagination. Damini's first degree was in mechanical engineering at Imperial College and she went on to do a master's degree in engineering product design. She launched a range of funky D-pots (non-drip teapots) at the BBC's Tomorrow's World Exhibition in 1999. She was not only the youngest exhibitor but also won an award for Commended International Invention of the Year and won the prestigious Young British Female of the Year Award 2001. She has used her media profile productively, spreading the message of the UK's Women Into Science and Engineering (WISE) campaign about the opportunities in engineering and science to young schoolgirls.

She is aware of the irony in the fact that the huge media attention she has attracted is completely opposite to the lonely struggles faced by most inventors. Damini has already started work on her second invention in the knowledge that anything is achievable if you believe in it.

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Damini Kumar is one of the bright young lights in UK product design. Her exciting and innovative design work has created huge worldwide media interest. She was the youngest exhibitor at the BBC's Tomorrow's World exhibition, winning an award for Commended International Invention of the Year. Damini has used her profile by appearing regularly on television and radio to promote science as a career choice for women.

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