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News > Careers & Mentoring > Engineer Previews Tomorrow's World

Engineer Previews Tomorrow's World

Former pupil Jonathan talks to former pupils all about engineering
Jonathan with Sixth Form pupils
Jonathan with Sixth Form pupils

The King's School's young engineers got a glimpse of tomorrow's world of robotics and AI, when expert Dr Jonathan Aitken gave a talk on the next industrial revolution.

Jonathan is a former King's pupil, leaving in 2000 to gain a first class with distinction Masters of Engineering from The University of York. Now a Senior academic at The University of Sheffield, Jonathan has worked at the forefront of both academia and industry, providing bespoke solutions to some of the industrial world's most complicated problems while passing on his expertise to the next generation at Sheffield University, one of Britain's centres of excellence for engineering.  

Jonathan has previously helped to develop the robots that will ultimately decommission the Sellafield Nuclear Reprocessing Plant throughout what will be more than a 60-year programme. He has also developed the safety systems that allow for greater collaborative robotics, where man and machine work alongside each other, in safe, secure and effective settings. Currently he is working on software to locate and direct robots that will spend their entire existence operating underground in sewers providing detailed diagnostic data for the engineers above ground.

Jonathan, who was a keen jazz musician while at school, and now lives in South Yorkshire, said: "At Sheffield, we want students to deal with real world problems and provide answers that will benefit society."

"Their working world will look increasingly at how we use Artificial Intelligence and the ever-improving means of mass data collection to provide flexible solutions. For example, how can we produce component parts that may be different for every application in a flexible manufacturing process." 

He added: "Any engineering course is not an easy option. It will be intensive and require hard-work and discipline, but it is extremely rewarding."

During his talk at King's, he took some 50 young men and women through the basics of drone technology, showing how drones are modeled, controlled and used for different purposes. 

The King's School's Head of Physics, Dr Stephen Hartnett, who mentors King's young engineers and runs the school's entry into the annual national Physics Olympiad, that Jonathan himself excelled in 24 years ago, said: "We had a very strong turnout of students who are eager to know more about how they might use their studies in the working world, and Jonathan provided an in depth and fascinating insight into the future roles and challenges they may encounter."

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