As Harry Potter’s legion of fans across the globe will be well aware, even in the young wizard’s world, an invisibility cloak requires powerful magic and is very rare.

But a scientist who is to be honoured with a prestigious award at the British Science Festival in Bradford this year, believes such devices could soon become a reality.

Dr Akram Alomainy, from Queen Mary, University of London, will present a lecture at the festival discussing how electronic engineers are applying their physics and engineering skills to create new kinds of materials which make objects invisible.

His talk – The Magic Of Harry Potter! Can We Make Cloaking A Reality? – will give a brief introduction to the basics of light physics and how many natural phenomena occur due to light reflections and refraction.

Dr Alomainy said: “The major challenge with engineering invisibility cloaks is the complex science behind the materials used in producing such devices and their behaviour across the radio spectrum.

“With the development in science and technology and the introduction of nano-science, this could become a reality soon.”

Dr Alomainy will be presented with the Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award for Engineering, Technology and Industry for his research talk into the magic behind invisibility cloaks.

Each year the British Science Association honours five outstanding young scientists with the opportunity to present an Award Lecture at the festival, which this year comes to Bradford.

The Award Lectures aim to promote open and informed discussion on issues involving science and actively encourage young scientists to explore the social aspects of their research.

Roland Jackson, British Science Association chief executive, said: “The Award Lectures are always an extremely popular feature of the festival programme.

“They are given by outstanding communicators who bring their subjects to life with great enthusiasm and passion, explaining their current innovative work and its relevance to our everyday lives.

“The awards seek to reward their ability to explore and discuss the social aspects of their research with the general public via thoroughly entertaining lectures.”

Dr Alomainy received the MEng degree in communication engineering and PhD degree in electrical and electronic engineering from Queen Mary, University of London, in July 2003 and July 2007 respectively.

He joined the department of electronic engineering as a lecturer in antennas and electromagnetics in 2007. He was previously working in the same department as a research assistant on projects related to wearable antennas and on-body channels.

Dr Alomainy’s award lecture is open to the public and will take place from noon on Thursday, September 15, at the University of Bradford. For more information, visit

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