The Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad met students, academics and collaborators at Imperial today.
The Prime Minister saw some of the ways in which Imperial has become the UK’s number one science, technology, engineering and medicine collaborator with Malaysia.
He was joined by Sir James Dyson, the founder of Dyson – a key partner of the College – who helped found the Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial.
Dr Mahathir and Sir James were welcomed by the Provost, Professor Ian Walmsley, and the Vice President (International), Professor Maggie Dallman.
Professor Dallman explained how innovation, collaboration and internationalism are pivotal to Imperial’s success, including exceptionally strong ties with Malaysia. The College has 573 Malaysian students while 2,300 alumni live and work in Malaysia, including the Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PhD Medicine, 1993).
Design engineering showcase
The Prime Minister and Sir James Dyson met Anna Bernbaum and Ben Greenberg, fourth year students in the Dyson School of Design Engineering. Both spent six months interning at Dyson. They demonstrated to Dr Mahathir, Sir James and Dyson CEO Jim Rowan a series of projects they developed at Imperial, including a robotic arm that can play chess against humans (Sir James’ question: “Who won?”), future skin for robots, and an artificial cochlea.
Anna told the visitors that the most important lesson she’s learned at Imperial is “how to collaborate and really work as part of a team – all our project are collaborative”. Ben said that soft traits, like presentation skills, give Imperial’s Dyson School students an edge.
The Prime Minister toured Professor Ricardo Martinez-Botas’ Turbochargers Group Lab, learning about the latest developments in low-carbon transport and electric motors, as well as major collaborations with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
Professor Martinez-Botas showed how engines, including those that power Formula 1, electric and hybrid cars, can be made significantly more efficient, harnessing waste heat.
“Our ideas are being translated into the marketplace, and that makes us proud, because we want this technology to benefit society,” Professor Martinez-Botas told the Prime Minister.
The PM also learned about the challenges in promoting wider adoption of electric vehicles, such as developing batteries that will continue to perform after extensive usage and recharging. These advances could help the industry move to 1 billion low-carbon vehicles by 2050, Professor Martinez-Botas said.
Speaking of his group’s Aston Martin collaboration and its alignment with his vision of a low-carbon future, Professor Martinez-Botas said “electric cars must become desirable, not just affordable.”
The Prime Minister took the chance to sit down and talk with a group of Malaysian students. They discussed the latest developments in engineering, how to succeed in their careers, and recent political change in Malaysia.
Aiman Syahirah, Secretary of the Imperial College Malaysian Society, said she was impressed by Dr Mahathir’s stamina: “He’s 93 years old, but has the energy of a 40-something.”
She and her fellow Malaysian students hold regular social events “like a home away from home,” but also enjoy Imperial’s highly international community: “We have friends from all over the world.”
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
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