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The Heath's Paul Le Pinnet's cutting-edge guide to the art of scientific glassblowing

The Heath Business and Technical Park's award-winning glassblower Paul Le Pinnet has written a specialist technical book on scientific glassblowing which is the first text book on the subject to be published in more than 30 years.

Commissioned by World Scientific Publishing Europe, one of the world’s leading academic publishers, the book was officially launched at an event staged at The Heath on Wednesday, June 7th and attended by friends, family and former colleagues of Paul who retired last year from his position with SOG Group, owner and operator of the business and technical park.

WSPE approached Paul following a feature on him which appeared in the Daily Mirror and discovering that there had been no book written on the intricate technical skills of scientific glassblowing for decades. It took Paul, who lives in Warrington, Cheshire, over two years to produce ‘Laboratory Scientific Glassblowing — A Practical Training Method’ which is the ultimate authority on the science.

Dr Merlin Fox, WSPE commissioning editor for chemistry books, says: “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 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’s book is being published both in print and as an e-book. It is 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.

Paul told guests attending the book launch that he had been fascinated by glass since his student days which evolved into studying the art of scientific glassblowing, and his book represented over 50 years’ experience in the subject.

SOG Managing Director John Lewis was the inspiration behind maintaining and developing the scientific glassblowing department after SOG had purchased The Heath from ICI, inheriting skilled technical staff. Mr Lewis said that scientific glassblowing had no longer been required by ICI and when they first met Paul had told him there was no work to do. However, Mr Lewis said that because of Paul’s monumental talent and skill, SOG decided to use the glassblowing section as the shop window for the Park and it turned into a spectacular success.

Mr Lewis said it had been a remarkable 17 years in which Paul’s department provided services to science businesses across the UK and around the world and became the focus of numerous high-profile visits to The Heath by Royalty, Government Ministers and trade delegations. Paul himself was called upon to give lectures around the country on glassblowing, was commissioned to write a book on the subject and then awarded the MBE.

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 SOG Group where he worked with research chemists, physicists and biochemists from his technical laboratory at The Heath.
Former PM Tony Blair with Paul
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 is the first time he has written a book on the subject. He was awarded an MBE last year for services to scientific glassblowing.

Paul says: “There are books out there about artistic and decorative glassblowing but clearly WSPE 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 more than 50 years ago. Virtually everything you do as a scientific glassblower is bespoke. I hope my book will appeal to established glassblowers but will also help to encourage students to become the next generation of scientific glassblowers.”

• Laboratory Scientific Glassblowing: A Practical Training Method is published by World Scientific, ISBN: 9781786341976

About The Heath
The Heath, which was established as a business park in 2000, has attracted over 175 British and international companies, ranging from bio science firms to IT specialists, from food industry consultants to website designers, and from government agencies to telemarketing specialists. Residents have been attracted by the 60-acre business park's vast range of impressive facilities and its flexibility in space management and in attitude. The Heath offers a wide range of office and laboratory space, together with a purpose-built conference centre that includes a 120-seat lecture theatre. Residents can also choose from a wide selection of additional services, including telephone and broadband connectivity, laboratory support services, scientific glass-blowing and precision engineering facilities, to name but a few. Residents also have access to The Heath's fitness centre and gym. Combined with 1,700 parking spaces, its first-class transport links - and the ability for residents to select and pay for just the services they require - it's no surprise that the number of companies on The Heath is continuing to grow rapidly.

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8th June 2017