The newspaper of Imperial College London
 Issue 143, 7 July 2004
Queen opens main entrance and Tanaka Business School«
Professor David Mervyn Blow - a tribute«
New principal of engineering announced«
Privatisation has not made rail safety worse«
Hydrogen car wows students«
There's nothing quite like getting your hands dirty…«
Engineering chapter«
SAMS goes live«
The wardens are leaving…«
Hospital's open day«
Show secures vital funds«
Reader's letter«
Staff and student discounts«
Battling it out in Trieste«
A Living Yearbook showcases activities«
An authentic taste of the real Poland«
In brief«
Media spotlight«
What's on«

Queen opens main entrance and Tanaka Business School

by Tanya Reed

HER Majesty The Queen crossed the threshold of Imperial College's newly-built entrance into Tanaka Business School on a blustery, bright 24 June and made history.

images: Alexander Tanaka - Her Majesty
l to r: Alexander Tanaka - Her Majesty The Queen

Surrounded by cheering wellwishers, she passed through the doors of the gleaming landmark building, funded by a £25 million donation from alumnus Dr Gary Tanaka, and paused opposite the imposing image of a multi-coloured scan of a brain, representing the brainpower of the institution.

As a Malcolm Arnold fanfare struck up, provided by the College's chamber orchestra, The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of York, joined rector, Sir Richard Sykes to meet members of the Tanaka family, Alexander and Janeczka, and speak to Lord Foster, whose company, Foster and Partners, designed the building.

Alexander gives the Queen a bouquet of flowers

A visit to a lecture theatre, led by Tanaka Business School principal, Professor David Begg, included a few words with students to discuss the mortgage industry, as well as a closer examination of research projects and spin-out ventures.

Bruce Girvan, technical marketing manager of Ceres Power, an Imperial spin-out company specialising in fuel cell technology, said: "The Duke was interested in when we'd have the fuel cell operation out. He wanted to know when he could have one.

"The Queen was also very keen to know when she could get hold of one and asked technical questions, such as what fuels would it run on, and how many would one need for an average house.

"She was also very interested in the low emissions and reduced carbon dioxide output, while being very aware about global warming."

The Innovation Study Centre team demonstrated a telecare research partnership involving Tunstall Group.

"The Queen thought our bed monitoring system was very neat," said Tony Rice, chief executive of the Tunstall Group.

"She also thought the fall detector was a very good idea as well. Prince Andrew was interested in the cost, and what clinicians thought about our products."

Her Majesty meets members of the staff

Rifat Atun, director for centre of health management, Tanaka Business School, added: "I simulated how telecare could be used to enhance patient experience and health care services. I acted as a clinician and used telecare to monitor a diabetic patient with high blood pressure.

"The Queen was very interested to hear that one could monitor the patient at home and that the patient could use the technology to check his or her own blood pressure.

"She was particularly impressed that we did not have to admit the patient to hospital, and commented that this would be extremely useful in reducing waiting lists within the NHS as it could free up hospital beds.

"Prince Andrew was interested in how much it would cost to deliver and whether the technology could be exported to other countries."

Dressed in a powder blue dress and jacket with matching hat, The Queen listened to a powerful speech from Sir Richard Sykes before unveiling a plaque to commemorate the opening.

"I am delighted to pay tribute to a 21st century philanthropist - our alumnus, Dr Gary Tanaka," he said. "We are here to celebrate his magnificent gift and the creation of our business school, so aptly named after him.

"The building in which we now stand represents another step in bringing to fruition the far-sighted vision and wisdom of your ancestor, Prince Albert.

Her Majesty unveils the plinth, with Sir Richard Sykes, Rector
Her Majesty unveils the plinth, with Sir Richard Sykes, Rector

"Far ahead of his time, he recognised that people would live better, in a more prosperous country, if art and science were properly directed to useful purposes.

"Innovative science and scientists are essential to successful industry. It is entirely fitting, therefore, that our Tanaka Business School is at the very portal of the College.

"We compete on a global stage, and to have a building, as splendid as this, on one of London's great thoroughfares, sends a message to the world about the role of learning and discovery in this fast changing world and Imperial's contribution to that."

The Queen, Visitor of Imperial College, who last came to the College in 1998 to open the Sir Alexander Fleming Building, signed the visitors' book before receiving a bouquet from eight year old Alexander Tanaka, who had been practising his bowing and perfecting his smile throughout the morning, aware that his father, technical investor, principal and director of Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc, was watching over a weblink.

The identity of the brain scan, in the main College entrance - a closely guarded secret until now - was revealed before The Queen departed. "The Queen asked whose brain it was and Jo Hajnal said 'it's mine,'" said Danish artist, Per Arnoldi, who worked with the professor, an imaging scientist at the Hammersmith campus, to create the visualisation.

"He told me afterwards that he couldn't keep a secret from The Queen.

"I'm trained to tell other people's stories - by listening, you can squeeze the story into understandable information.

"The brain as an enclosed form is recognisable - imagine the brain power in this room today. I thought of it as a symbol - 'bring your brain to Imperial and we'll fill it.'

"The brain also has shape and functions well architecturally. It's a conversation piece. I separated eight layers of brain, and gave each a colour."

His biggest obstacle was turning the installation 90 degrees so it was horizontal.

"Brain scans are always vertical and Jo said all the scientists would laugh, but I knew they wouldn't object as the image was in the wrong hands anyhow - mine!" he said.

More than 400 staff, students and alumni watched the event on a live stream from the Imperial website.

See the online record of The Queen's visit  Opens in new window.

What you thought about the day...

RICHARD DICKINS, director of music: "This was a great opportunity to show off our chamber choir and soprano soloist, fourth year biochemist, Naomi Mason.

"We love the acoustics here - we'll have to bully Tanaka for regular concerts. It's all plate glass and loftiness as well as being so beautiful. Who wouldn't want to perform here?"

LORD OXBURGH, former rector: "Gary Tanaka has laid the foundations of the most important changes in building development in the College since the 1960s and this entrance totally transforms the whole aspect of College. It's been a truly remarkable occasion."

SIR ERIC ASH, former rector: "It's great that at long last, Imperial has an entrance. There's a reasonable chance that if you ask a cab driver to take you there, they know where they are going."

Emeritus professor HOWARD MORRIS, who runs M-SCAN, an analytical chemistry and biochemistry consultancy company: "It's an impressive building. Let's hope in 20 years' time, I can grow my business and be able to make a donation like this! Also, the brain scan image reminds me of a cell - it's quite inspirational."

PROFESSOR TOM HOEHU added: "It's a very exciting art work. It marks the change of a regime. It also makes you think of your own mortality."

SPENCER DE GREY, architect: "As large spaces can be very echoey, the drum was designed to absorb sound, making it easy to talk within such a social space.

"This entrance now plays a major role as part of a vision which truly represents an institution founded by Prince Albert in 1851."

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