27 May, 2022

Turning engineering into an art form in Trafalgar Square

20 August, 2009

An academic combined art with engineering when he gave a lecture on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square recently. Professor John Robinson, head of the Department of Electronics at the University of York, was selected to occupy the Fourth Plinth for an hour as part of artist Anthony Gormley’s One & Other project.
Professor Robinson used his 60 minutes at the heart of one of the busiest places in the nation’s capital to share his enthusiasm for engineering and show some of ways it is changing our world, as well as flagging up the Engineering the Future Partnership, which aims to place engineering at the heart of Government in order to place and keep the UK at the forefront of global innovation.

Informative and entertaining
“It is important that academics take every opportunity to engage with the public, explain the research we do and how it can solve the problems we face,” commented professor Robinson. “I hope the lecture was informative but entertaining too. I am used to standing up and talking in front of large groups of people but not in such an unusual and challenging venue. One & Other is a great opportunity to be part of a unique project while doing something I really enjoy and am passionate about.” 
Paul Jackson, chief executive of the Engineering and Technology Board (ETB), said: “The ETB is delighted that professor Robinson seized this opportunity to promote the vital role that engineering has to play in meeting global challenges, as well highlighting the vast and inspiring array of careers and opportunities it has to offer.” The lecture looked at how we go about choosing the best solution from a range of answers, a process known as optimisation. It included examples from across electronic engineering, with brief excursions into other disciplines including psychology, music and art, and a focus on Professor Robinson's specialist area of image analysis.

Pic caption: Professor Robinson delivers the engineering message from the Fourth Plinth.

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