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Engineering steps up to the Fourth Plinth

A University of York academic combined art with engineering when he gave a lecture on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square yesterday.

Head of the Department of Electronics Professor John Robinson was selected to occupy the Fourth Plinth for an hour as part of artist Anthony Gormley’s One & Other project.

He 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.


“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,” said 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.”


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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