UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering


Barlow Memorial Lecture and Prizegiving 2019: Video now available

15 July 2019

At the event held in July 2019 the lecture was given by Dr Peter Thompson, CEO of the National Physical Laboratory who talked about how measurement science (metrology) has underpinned scientific breakthroughs that have had global impact.

Peter Thompson

Author : Tim Bodley-Scott

+44 (0)20 7679 3976 | t.bodley-scott@ucl.ac.uk

On World Metrology Day, 20th May 2019, the way in which measurement standards are defined was changed forever following perhaps one of the most significant revisions to the International System of Units (the SI) since its inception.

This year’s Lecture was held in partnership with the UK’s national centre for data science and AI, the Alan Turing Institute, for the third time. Dr Thompson’s lecture outlined “from Radar to 5G”, how measurement standards affect our daily lives and how emerging technologies such as Quantum are dependent on metrology for successful commercialisation. Dr Thompson highlighted how the SI is now based on a set of definitions each linked to the laws of physics.

Alongside the Barlow Lecture, the event is also a celebration of the current research of the Department and involves a research poster and technology demo showcase. The research work carried out by both postgraduate and post-doctoral researchers is a vital element of all leading research departments. Prior to the Lecture, several prizes were presented to outstanding students and for the best recently graduated PhD thesis. Details of the prizewinners are shown below:


•             The Fabrizio Lombardi Prize for Best Recently Graduated PhD – Gabriel Saavedra (Thesis title: Optical Fibre Communication Systems in the Nonlinear Regime. Supervisor: Prof Polina Bayvel)

•             The Cullen Prize for the Best Student Poster – Mr Dovydas Joksas ("Memristive Neural Networks". Supervisor: Dr Adnan Mehonic)

•             The Cisco Prize for the Best Poster Related to the Internet of Everything – Mr Thomas Gerard ("Intelligent Optical Transmitters for Data Centres". Supervisor: Prof Polina Bayvel)

•             The Turing Institute Prize for the Best Poster Related to the work of the Alan Turing Institute – Ms Salinna Abdullah ("Comparison of auditory-inspired models using machine-learning for sound classification in cochlear implants". Supervisor: Prof Andreas Demosthenous.)

•             The Environment Agency Prize for the Most Outstanding Female PhD student poster – Ms Lucy Hale ("Terahertz Near-Field Microscopy and Spectroscopy". Supervisor: Prof Cyril Renaud).

You can view the Prizegiving Ceremony here: https://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Play/18386

You can view the Lecture and Q&A here: https://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Play/18387


Reflecting on the past year, Head of Department, Professor Sarah Spurgeon said “It has been a very productive and successful year for our Department. We were ranked 1st in the UK in the Academic Ranking of World Universities’ Subject Rankings. Professor Hugh Griffiths was awarded an OBE. We also received funding either as lead or partner for 4 Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), and 2 EPSRC Programme Grants as well as a £4.9m UKRI-EPSRC Grant to fund a UK Dark Fibre Research Facility”.

The Barlow Lecture is held biennially in memory of Harold Everard Monteagle Barlow (1899-1989) who was the Head of the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering at UCL from 1950 to 1967. He invented the H01 millimetre waveguide and is remembered for his many contributions to microwave research for which he was awarded the IEE Kelvin and JJ Thompson Premiums, the Faraday Medal, the URSI Dellinger Gold Medal and the IEEE Kelly Prize. Professor Barlow is also remembered as being the PhD supervisor of 2009 Nobel Prize winner Professor Sir Charles Kao (1933-2018), who pioneered the development and use of fibre optics in telecommunications.