IMechE President Visits UBC Mechanical Engineering

The following article was written and submitted by Dr. Gary Schajer.

On June 28, 2016, the Department of Mechanical Engineering received a visit from Jonathan Hilton, President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).  IMechE, the national Mechanical Engineering organization in the United Kingdom, was founded in 1847 by railway pioneer George Stephenson, and has over 110,000 members worldwide.

President Hilton’s background is in the automotive industry, notably in race car engineering and in regenerative energy harvesting, and thus he was particularly interested in seeing related activities at UBC.  His visit started in the Manufacturing Automation Laboratory, where Prof. Yusuf Altintas showed examples of his award-winning research on high-speed, high-precision manufacturing techniques.


President Hilton and Prof. Altintas at the Manufacturing Automation Laboratory

President Hilton went on to see the high-performance engine research work at the Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC), hosted by graduate student Jeremy Rochussen.


President Hilton with researchers at CERC


President Hilton has made student education a major theme of his presidency and had particularly requested to see student projects at UBC.  He is pictured below at the Engineering Design Centre with members of the UBC Baja team, and at the Kitsilano Yacht Club with members of the UBC Sailbot team. The latter’s autonomous sailboat (“sailbot”), named Ada, is currently being prepared for the Microtransat Challenge–a challenge to make a transatlantic voyage entirely autonomously, without any human intervention–which the team plans to begin this August. President Hilton lingered long after his scheduled departure time to talk with student team members about technical details and design strategies.


The Baja student team shows off their all-terrain, off-road vehicle


President Hilton climbs up for a better look at Ada, the autonomous sailboat (“sailbot”)


President Hilton’s visit was organized by Chartered Engineers Pacific, the BC chapter of IMechE and other UK Engineering Institutions.  They regularly hold scholarly and social meetings, most recently with UBC speakers Prof. Peter Cripton and Prof. David Wilson.