Did you know that the man leading the biggest science project the world has ever seen, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland, is Dr Lyn Evans from Aberdare? Or that the Vale of Neath was the inspiration for Alfred Russel Wallace, the best-known scientist of the 19th century who ranks alongside Darwin as the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection?
Shaped by our industrial past, it’s not surprising that many of our heroes and heroines are industrialists, entrepreneurs and scientists. An early canal pioneer, Thomas Dadford Junior revolutionised the science of civil engineering and played a major role in the industrial development of Wales. His work can still be seen today along the Abergavenny and Brecknock Canal and the Neath Canal.
One influential ironmaster's wife, Charlotte Guest, was probably the best-known woman in 19th century Wales. When her husband died in 1852 she took control of the ironworks, a highly unusual thing for a Victorian lady to do, and under her management, Dowlais became the world’s largest manufacturing company.
The impact of these men and women's ideas, inventions and determination has been felt far beyond the Valleys. Their achievements have shaped the modern world.