Lord Broers' Reith Lecture broadcast

Lord Broers

Lord Broers gave the second of the BBC's prestigious Reith lectures at the Department of Engineering last month. The lecture chaired by Sue Lawley will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 13 April at 8.00pm then repeated on Saturday 16 April at 10.15pm.

The series of five lectures will be broadcast every Wednesday from 6 April to 4 May at 8.00pm on BBC Radio 4.


Lord Broers chose the Department as a venue, because it represents home turf. He studied and conducted his first research in the Department of Engineering. He later returned to be the Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Department (1984-96) and then the Head of Department (1993-96), before becoming the University's Vice Chancellor (1996-2003).


In the five lectures, entitled 'The Triumph of Technology', he sets out his belief that technology can and should hold the key to the future. In the Cambridge lecture, Lord Broers showed how collaboration lies at the centre of technological innovation. He explained that the era has passed when individuals could achieve significant advances while working in isolation. Technology research needs team work to engage the full spectrum of expertise and if breakthroughs are to be achieved then very often these teams must be international.


Lord Broers says: "I have chosen technology as the subject of my Reith Lectures because it is exciting and fast moving and because it shapes our lives.

Technology provides the means for the third world to join the first world and, besides, if we do not understand it better we will fall behind in our own intellectual, social and material development. I have spent my life creating technology and it is a huge privilege to be given this chance to explain its importance."


Lord Broers was succeeded by Professor David Newland, and then by Professor Keith Glover as Head of the Department of Engineering. Professor Glover published the Department's new strategy last year, which features three major themes: engineering for life sciences; cognitive systems engineering; and sustainable development. Implementation of this strategy is well underway. It includes the creation of the Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE), which embodies the Electrical Engineering Division. Professor Bill Milne, the Director of CAPE, has worked with his colleagues to secure substantial funding from the Government for the new laboratory on the West Cambridge Site, strategic partners from industry, and an exciting portfolio of research projects. CAPE is already up and running. It will move into its new building at the beginning of 2006.

Date published

4 April 2005

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