IET chooses Essex professor for celebration of incredible people from past, present and future

  • Date

    Wed 23 Mar 22

Professor Barrie Chaplin has been chosen to feature in the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Gallery of Engineers stairwell exhibition at IET London: Savoy Place, which aims to showcase how truly diverse, innovative and exciting the engineering and technology professions are.

Professor Chaplin, who died last year, two weeks before his 97th birthday, was a founding father of modern electronics. A pioneering engineer, inventor, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Essex, he made an impact across numerous fields including circuit design, digital computing and noise cancellation technology.

The IET asked the public to nominate any engineer or technician who has made a positive impact to the industry or the world and received hundreds of worthy and diverse nominations.

The top 95 nominations, as decided by a review panel, are now celebrated at the stairwell gallery exhibition at IET London: Savoy Place. The review panel comprised some of the best minds across the engineering sector, including those with experience championing Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI), and some representatives from the IET.

The list features people from the past, including some of the well-known greats, to some who had been overlooked, as well as incredible people from today and those working on amazing things for the future. A few of the outstanding people who have been included are LatchAid creator, Chen Mao Davies; engineer and LGBTQ+ right activist, Cel Welch; dedicated suffragette, Laura Annie Willson; and enigma codebreaker, Alan Turing – all individuals who have made a real difference for today and tomorrow.

Professor Chaplin worked alongside Turing in Manchester and he was possibly the last survivor of the group of truly great innovators that represented the golden age of modern electronics which flourished in the aftermath of World War Two.

His son Andrew Chaplin said: “It is wonderful to see my father recognised in this way alongside so many outstanding individuals, although he himself never gave a moment’s thought to his potential standing in the world’s pantheon of achievers. His entire focus was to use his creative ability to ‘level up’ humanity, by, for example, introducing practical transistorised computation to the world, ultimately into people’s homes; making complex cost-effective electronic systems available to small businesses to allow them to compete with industrial giants; electronically removing noise pollution from an increasingly noisy and anti-social world; supporting hospitals with an electronic system to efficiently detect and map glaucoma disease in the eye; bringing the wonder and power of electronic engineering to schools by virtue of his revolutionary Electronic Systems A-level qualification.”

His widow Sarah Chaplin said: “Barrie was quite the most genuine, humble and unique person I have ever met. I am very proud to have been his wife.”

Head of EDI at the IET, Dr Laura Norton, said: “I’m delighted to see the final collection of individuals nominated for recognition from our celebrating impact campaign. It showcases the true diversity of successful engineers and technologists throughout history and in the present day. These amazing individuals provide role models for the future generation and inspire us all.”

“At the IET we want to change outdated perceptions and showcase the diverse talent and creative careers in our sector, and this campaign helps us to do just that.”

The exhibition is now available to view at IET London: Savoy Place or you can learn more about the inspiring 95 engineers and technologists on our website.

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