University of Leicester eBulletin

Woman in Control

December 2002
No 270

The University of Leicesterís first female Professor of Engineering is in Control.

In her Inaugural Lecture entitled Control Ė Magic or Mirage? on January 14, 2003, Professor Sarah Spurgeon will focus on what it is like to be a woman in the male dominated world of control engineering, an area she was driven to work in by a strong desire to apply her traditional background in mathematics to real world problems.

Professor Spurgeon will chart her own career from a West Midlands comprehensive school with no culture of females working in science, through undergraduate and postgraduate study at the University of York, to her academic career, firstly at Loughborough University and latterly at the University of Leicester.

She is a rare breed. In Engineering and Technology women in the UK hold only two and a half per cent of professorships.

She will reflect on eighteen years in traditionally male-dominated workplaces, ranging from an aircraft factory on the banks of the Humber to the West Midlandsí automotive industry.

Her lecture will consider the contribution control engineering can make to twenty-first century life and the excitement of solving real-world problems. These can range from the design of control systems for diesel engines, where emissions legislation and the requirements of the developing world are a priority, to the use of control theory to model the inner feedback control signals in the human body, providing insight into the development of osteoarthritis.

Professor Sarah Spurgeonís Inaugural Lecture takes place on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 5.30pm, in Lecture Theatre 1, Ken Edwards Building, main University Campus, University Road, Leicester. It is open to the public and free of charge.

NOTE TO EDITORS:   Further information is available from Professor Sarah Spurgeon, University of Leicester Department of Engineering, telephone 0116 252 2531/2559, facsimile 0116 252 2619, email

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