Paul Smith Associates
So much more than a PR agency

The Heath’s Paul Le Pinnet ‘honoured’ by Imperial College Press invite to pen the ultimate guide to scientific glassblowing

Runcorn: February 11, 2015: Imperial College Press (ICP) has commissioned The Heath Business and Technical Park’s award-winning glassblower Paul Le Pinnet to write a specialist technical book on scientific glassblowing.

ICP – a joint venture between Imperial College and the international publishing house World Scientific – combines the expertise of one of the world’s leading science institutions with the resources of a major scientific publisher. ICP approached Paul after discovering that there has been no book written on the intricate technical skills of scientific glassblowing for decades.

An initial synopsis of his 400-page book was sent to experts in Europe and the United States of America for assessment. After being well received, ICP has commissioned Paul to write ‘Laboratory Scientific Glassblowing – A Practical Training Method’ which is scheduled to be published towards the end of next year.

Dr Merlin Fox, ICP’s senior commissioning editor for chemistry books, said: “Apart from some reproductions from earlier authors, there have been no new books for several decades on scientific glassblowing. We decided it was time there was a new publication on this fascinating and immensely skilful topic, and our research identified Paul Le Pinnet as being one of the world’s leading authorities. We have invited him to share his extensive knowledge and experience to create the ultimate handbook on scientific glassblowing for others to follow across the globe.”
Paul Le Pinnet
Paul’s book will be published both in print and as an e-book, and will be translated into a number of languages. It will be targeted towards students, established glassblowers and academic institutions in an effort to give a better understanding of glass and the techniques involved in scientific glassblowing.

Said Paul: “I’m delighted and deeply honoured to have been approached by such a prestigious institution as Imperial College Press. It came completely out of the blue and took me totally by surprise but after drafting my synopsis, which has been well received by various experts, I’m now looking forward to this incredibly exciting challenge to write a book about my experiences of nearly 50 years as a scientific glassblower.”

Paul, one of only around 150 scientific glassblowers in the UK, stumbled into the profession by accident while training as a chemist. After breaking glass vessels in experiments, he was told by a glassblower that he should learn how to fix them. He went on to study at Manchester University before joining ICI and then his current employer SOG Group. He works with research chemists, physicists and biochemists from his technical laboratory at The Heath.

A fellow of The British Society of Scientific Glassblowers, he has written numerous scientific papers, contributed to glassblowing journals and spoken at global glassblowing symposiums but this will be the first time he will have written a book on the subject.

Paul joined SOG Group – owner and operator of The Heath in Runcorn, Cheshire – when SOG bought the ex-ICI chemicals HQ site in 2000 and transformed it into a business and technical park. Instead of working exclusively on ICI-related projects, SOG promoted Paul’s unique skills to a far wider audience. Over the past 15 years he has undertaken assignments for research & development scientists from across the UK and around the world.

Paul said: “There are books out there about artistic and decorative glassblowing but clearly ICP has identified a requirement for a book on the speciality of scientific glassblowing. As a chemist, it is a subject that has certainly fascinated me since I started working 49 years ago. Virtually everything you do as a scientific glassblower is bespoke. Each challenge is unique and it is a skill that is being used by about 150 people in the UK, working in either research & development or glass production.

“Glassblowers often work in isolation and normally only meet each other at symposiums where they can share their ideas and knowledge. You are always learning. Indeed, I was at a symposium several years ago where an American glassblower demonstrated his technique for making a join, it was so obvious and easy and is something that I have applied ever since.”

Two thirds of the book will be dedicated to scientific glassblowing methods and techniques while the remainder will contain contributions from renowned international scientific glassblowers who have agreed to support Paul’s project.

He added: “I hope my book will appeal to established glassblowers but will also help to encourage students to become the next generation of scientific glassblowers.”

About The Heath
The Heath Business and Technical Park is a phenomenal regeneration success story. Formed in 2000, its owner and operator, SOG Ltd, has transformed a once single occupancy corporate facility into a thriving independent business park. The Heath now provides office and laboratory accommodation for more than 170 individual organisations, ranging from business services and IT specialists to those at the cutting edge of science, research and advanced manufacturing. Around 2,000 people are employed at the site. For further information, telephone 01928 515988 or visit

About Imperial College Press
Imperial College Press was formed in 1995 as a partnership between Imperial College London and World Scientific Publishing. ICP benefits from both the expertise of one of the world's leading academic institutions and the experience of a well-established and globally recognised Science, Technical and Medical publishing house.

Imperial College Press is committed to producing high-quality books in both print and electronic format, embracing advances in modern technology to produce excellent e-books alongside traditional print books. To ensure maximum relevance to the scientific community, works published by the ICP reflect the leading areas of teaching and research at Imperial College, notably Physics, Engineering and the Life Sciences. Within these areas of excellence ICP already publishes many authors from around the globe at other leading institutions such as CalTech, Princeton University, the University of Cambridge and CERN.

11th February 2015