Past Annual Lectures


Date: Wednesday 21st February 2018
Registration: 18.30
Lecture: 19.00
Reception: 20.00
Venue: The Kevin Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31), followed by a reception in the Council Room (K2.29), Kingís Building, Strand Campus, London WC2R 2LS

'Tunnels and Tunnelling'

Our guest speaker for the evening was Bill Grose (Engineering, 1978). 

Bill read civil engineering at Kingís from 1975 to 1978 as a mature student, studying under Kevin Nash amongst others, graduating with a first class degree and directly joining Ove Arup & Partners. He stayed with Arup until retirement in 2004, with his career developing from geotechnical engineering into tunnelling, major project leadership, and strategic consulting, working all over the world. 

Bill was a director of Arup for 20 years; he started and led Arupís global tunnelling business and spent five years leading Arupís design of Londonís Olympic Park, followed by two years as part of a strategic research team in HM Treasury. 

Since 2004, Bill has run his own consultancy, providing advice to the tunnelling and infrastructure industry, with clients including High Speed 2, Transport for London, Thames Tideway, Swiss Re, Munich Re and Deloitte. Bill has an international reputation for forensic investigation of tunnel failures and was chairman of the British Tunnelling Society from 2006 to 2008.

Billís talk discussed tunnelling from the early days of industrial revolution to the intricacies of modern tunnel boring machines and techniques. Bill looked at what the future might hold, exploring how tunnellersí know-how developed from the early empirical methods to the appliance of science and now information technology and data management. 

There are many uncertainties and dangers lurking underground and learning from past failures is a significant part of a tunnellerís education. Bill  described the forensic investigation of recent collapses across the world and key lessons the industry has learned from them. 


Date: Thursday 9 March 2017

Venue: JKTL Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31), Strand Campus 

Registration: 18.30

Lecture:  18.45 - 20.30

'Titanic, from engineering triumph to human tragedy - how a splendid ship was sunk by the obstinacy and perversity of man.í

Our guest speaker for the evening was Graham Anthony (Civil Engineering, 1953). After leaving Kingís, Graham served with the Royal Engineers in Berlin - where he developed his skills as a competitive helmsman sailing on the magnificent Havel lakes - and then travelled the world working for international manufacturing companies. In London, he was a founding director of the Engineering Council and was a member of the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee. A qualified Yacht Master, with a lifelong passion for sailing and the sea, Graham has sailed around the British Isles, on the Baltic, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. He is a regular contributor to maritime journals, and regularly lectures to university, yacht clubs, and cruise audiences. 

Grahamís talk discussed how the Titanic was a triumph of American finance and British engineering. He explained the background to many of the Titanicís technical issues, and showed how the design features of the Titanic and her two sister ships prove what splendid technical triumphs they were.

He reasoned that the Titanic did not hit the iceberg by her own accord, but because of the failings of her captain and officers, and that the tragic loss of life was because regulations permitted 16 lifeboats to be taken off the Titanic the day before she left Southampton. These human failings are the reasons why the Titanic has become the worldís most famous maritime tragedy.


Date: Wednesday 24 February 2016

Venue: JKTL Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31), Kingís Building, Strand Campus, London WC2R 2LS, followed by a reception in the Council Room (K2.29).

Registration: 18.30

Time: 18.45 - 20.00

Reception: 20.15

'Fukushima, the story of a nuclear disaster'

Our guest speaker for the evening was Mark Whitby (Civil Engineering, 1972), a Kingís Engineer and a former President of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He has always been sceptical about the claims made for nuclear energy, particularly its economic viability, and having a home within four miles of a nuclear power station, Mark has a keen interest in the industry's concept of safety.

This talk set out the time line of the melt down of the Fukushima nuclear reactors following the Tohoko earthquake and tsunami, revealing how close the accident came to becoming a disaster on an unprecedented scale. Drawing on a number of the many publicly available reports into the disaster, the talk  also focused on the fallout from the disaster in terms of the success in limiting atmospheric radiation, the potentially more worrying concerns for the release of radioactive material into the Pacific Ocean, and the recent Lancet report into longer term effect on the region's population.

2015 - Inaugural Lecture

Date: Thursday, 12 February 2015

Venue: JKTL Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31), Kingís Building, Strand Campus, London WC2R 2LS, followed by a reception in the Council Room (K2.29).

Registration: 18.30

Time: 18.45 - 20.00

Reception: 20.15

'Impact of Engineering on Medicine - from Imaging  to Surgery and Beyond'

Our guest speaker was Liz Beckmann who gained a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at King's College, London, where she was one of the few women studying Engineering.

She has been working in the medical imaging world for over 30 years.  She started her career with EMI Medical in the early days of computerised tomography (CT).  She has also worked for GE, AMI Hospitals, Picker and was Managing Director of Elscint (GB) before founding Lanmark Medical Innovations, with Dr Neil Ridyard in 1989.

Liz was President of the British Institute of Radiology from 1993-94 and is co-author of the book 'Godfrey Hounsfield: intuitive genius of CT'.