Art meets engineering in London’s Trafalgar Square

11 August 2009

A UK artistic project, by sculptor Antony Gormley, has given engineering a prominent platform as a University of York academic scaled the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square to deliver a lecture. Professor John Robinson used Gormley’s One & Other project as a vehicle to give a 60-minute talk in one of London’s busiest areas.

Professor Robinson shared his enthusiasm for engineering and showed some of the ways it is changing our world. He also took the opportunity to flag up the Engineering the Future Partnership, which aims to place engineering at the heart of Government in order to keep the UK at the forefront of global innovation.

The head of the Department of Electronics, said: ‘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.

‘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), added: ‘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.

Professor Robinson took his place on the Fourth Plinth at 7am on Tuesday 4 August.

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