Head of Department: Alan Swanson, Head of Mechanical Engineering 1978-1983, FREng, Pro Rector (Educational Quality) of Imperial College


A new MSc in Robotics was launched. The first student competitions started.


An inter-departmental Robotics Centre opened, along with a Polymer Testing Unit. Research into the effects of vibration on machines and structures, and subsequent analytical modelling led to the creation of the Modal Testing Unit.

Meanwhile, in London...

The Iranian Embassy on Princes Gate was stormed by gunmen in 1980, leading to a six day siege. Imperial buildings offered a very good view of the events, and were in demand from journalists. Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first female Prime Minister, and also the first with a degree in science (Chemistry), in 1979.

The Department's new Robotics laboratory

The Department's new Robotics laboratory

Iranian Embassy siege

Kensington in May 1980, during the Iranian Embassy siege

Photo credits:

Image of Robotics laboratory from the Imperial College London archives

Kensington Gore and Royal Albert Hall, during Siege of Iranian Embassy, May 1980, Ben Brooksbank [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons