The 2015 Alumni Weekend at the Department of Engineering Science

This year over 170 Engineering Science alumni and non-alumni enjoyed thought-provoking lectures and a special presentation by Lord Jenkin of Roding, the grandson of Charles Frewen Jenkin who was the first professor of Engineering Science at Oxford University. The Department’s new alumni section of the website was launched and some Engineering alumni viewed one of the largest and most important collections of printed ephemera in the world at the new Weston Library.

Thoughts on the day from those who were here…

Alumni 2015 logo“I found the lectures fascinating in the way they enlightened me in areas of water as both a medium and engineering problem that I and am sure many others had not considered.  The Jenkin lecture provided a perfect connection and continuity between the engineering ages with the formal handing over of Professor Jenkin’s mirror galvanometer and writing instruments. For me this represented the continued evolution of engineering as the engineering craftsmanship of tools of one age was brought to the attention of a generation steeped in the efficiency of tablets and laptops as vital engineering tools of today.

It was great to feel part of Oxford again and to immerse ourselves in intellectual stimulation that first sparked our interest in the subject, for many of us many years ago, but still today animates the hearts and minds of Oxford Engineers.  I and am sure many others would welcome the chance to maintain and grow connections with the department and to continue to support its staff and members  well deserved achievements of putting Oxford, engineering  and excellence together on the national and global map”. Alumnus, Magdalen College (1983)

“Excellent lectures and the most encouraging report on progress towards the 2020 vision by Professor Tarassenko all made for a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable day”. Alumnus, Balliol College (1967)

“For me the highlight of the Department’s Alumni Weekend was this year’s Jenkin Lecture by Mark Enzer on Global Water Issues. He gave an exemplary account of the problems faced in making clean fresh water available for human consumption. Using just a tiny fraction of the planet’s abundant resources to this end involves almost all the over-riding concerns of our times: climate change, the environment, energy, population. In view of the excited opinions to which we are incessantly exposed on these topics, it was a pleasure to hear a calm, objective and wide-ranging presentation of the facts”.  Friend of the Department

“The event proved to be a simulating and thought provoking event. The opportunity to hear about the growth of the department, to be stimulated by listening to approachable talks and to interact with Oxford Engineering Alumni made for a  highly enjoyable celebration”. Non-Alumni

The Day

In the morning a group of Engineering alumni and their families viewed the Toyota City Imaging Project, a collection of motoring and transport images from the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera - one of the largest and most important collections of printed ephemera in the world. It offered a fresh view of British history through primary, un-interpreted printed documents which, produced for short-term use, have survived by chance. The Collection is not only the strongest in the 18th to early 20th centuries but also contains earlier material. Digital.Bodleian represents a landmark in the Bodleian’s recent technological achievements in that it brings together many extraordinary special collections on a new digital platform, including material from the John Johnson Collection. 

In the afternoon the Department staged two thought-provoking lectures on the theme of water management. Professor Ian Thompson’s lecture focused on “putting sustainability into water engineering” and there was an eye opening look at the value of water by Mark Enzer, Engineering Science alumnus and Group Practice Manager for Water and Environment with Mott MacDonald, who gave this year’s Jenkin Lecture, titled: “Global Water Issues”. Professor Lionel Tarassenko, Head of the Department of Engineering Science, delivered his lecture on “The 2020 Vision for Engineering at Oxford – How Far Have We Got?” In his talk Professor Tarassenko highlighted the need for graduate funding as a significant number of UK post-graduates are being deterred from continuing with their studies in this country. Lord Jenkin of Roding, grandson of the first Professor of Engineering Science (Professor Charles Frewen Jenkin FRS, 1908 -1929), made a special presentation of his grandfather’s drawing instruments and mirror galvanometer. These are now on permanent loan to the Department and will be showcased for students and guests to enjoy in the Jenkin Building.

Mark Enzer: The Jenkin Lecture: “Global Water Issues”

Launch of Alumni Website

A new milestone in the history of the Department of Engineering Science – the launch of the Department’s new alumni website section – please visit:

The Day in pictures…

Special presentations by Lord Jenkin of Roding

Special presentation by Lord Jenkin of Roding - 1Special presentation by Lord Jenkin of Roding - 2Special presentation by Lord Jenkin of Roding - 3

Unique collection at the Weston Library

Unique collection at the Weston Library - 1Unique collection at the Weston Library - 2Unique collection at the Weston Library - 3

Meeting old friends and new students over drinks and canapés

Meeting old friends and new students over drinks and canapés - 2Meeting old friends and new students over drinks and canapés - 1Meeting old friends and new students over drinks and canapés - 3

Our thanks to Lord Jenkin, members of the Oxford Engineering Alumni (OEA), formerly Society of Oxford University Engineers (SOUE), students and staff who helped to make this such a special and memorable day, and to all alumni and non-alumni who attended.