Did the future philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, design and build a an early jet powered aero-engine, in Manchester, in 1908? This programme tells the story of Wittgenstein's earliest project, and rebuilds his jet. Presenter Cassie Newland is an archaeologist with a passion for engineering. When she meets "shed engineer" Dave Southall they scrutinise Wittgenstein's designs, and try to work out how the aero-engine would have worked.
Arriving in England in 1908, Wittgenstein was a research student in mechanical engineering at Manchester University. After working at a research station in Glossop, doing experimental work with kites, and thinking about designs for a flying machine, he began to focus his attention more on the engines that might power them. Using a combustion chamber, he developed a scheme for an engine powering a propeller assisted by gas discharge nozzles at the end of each blade. But by 1911 Wittgenstein was restless and switched to studying Mathematics at Cambridge. Would his engine have worked, if used in an aircraft? In this programme, we find out.