The world we inhabit today would be unimaginable without the work of the pioneers of science technology whose portraits fill this room. By 1815, Britain was a superpower and the world’s richest nation. Accelerated by colonial expansion, innovative technologies based on steam power enabled the mass production of goods and materials. Entrepreneurs created wealth and opportunities. Industrial development also attracted workers from agriculture to better-paid but often more dangerous jobs in factories and mines. Engineering and science became careers pursued by professionals who met to exchange ideas. Some were self taught and from modest backgrounds but found social advancement through their work.