Top engineer keeps an Eye on things at city unveiling

Dr John Roberts spoke about his work at the official opening
Dr John Roberts spoke about his work at the official opening
Have your say

The designer of the London Eye shared his secrets when he spoke at the official opening of a new university building in Sheffield.

University of Sheffield engineering graduate Dr John Roberts was speaking at the opening of the university’s new Pam Liversidge Building.

Dr Roberts also designed white knuckle rides such as the Pepsi Max Big One in Blackpool.

The £21 million Pam Liversidge Building on the corner of Newcastle Street and Broad Lane, named in recognition of the achievements of one of the UK’s leading female engineers and industrial entrepreneurs, was completed earlier this year.

It houses two lecture theatres, several flexible teaching and study spaces with drop-in IT facilities, plus Insigneo, Scentro and CISTIB –three of the university’s joint research ventures.

Dr Roberts entertained the audience, which included Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP David Blunkett, with his stories about his work on the London Eye and the roller coaster in Blackpool.

“It gives me great pleasure to know that two of my biggest projects have taken 100 million people on some kind of pleasurable journey,” he said.

The building also includes an atrium, named The Honourable Sir S Y Chung Atrium, in recognition of the graduate’s generous contribution of $1 million to the faculty of engineering.

Now aged 96, the distinguished Hong Kong businessman and politician came to the University of Sheffield on a British Council scholarship in 1948, completing his PhD in Mechanical Engineering in 1951.

Although he was unable to attend the opening event, he was represented by his son, Gilbert Chung, accompanied by wife Carol and their two sons.

Miles Stevenson, director of alumni and donor relations at the University of Sheffield, said: “It’s brilliant to be able to create a permanent and visible thank you to Sir S Y Chung who has made this significant donation in gratitude for the education he received here more than 60 years ago.”

Professor Mike Hounslow, pro-vice-chancellor for engineering, said: “We’re also enormously grateful to Pam Liversidge for her involvement in this building and the support she has always shown to the faculty of engineering and the University of Sheffield, and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to mark that contribution by naming the building in her honour.

“And of course, we also owe a huge thank you to Sir S Y Chung for his continued support for the faculty and his very generous donation which has helped to make this building a reality.

“This is an extremely important event for the faculty, and the wider university, marking the official opening of this vital new building, which is helping us to take our research activities to a new level at the same time as providing a first class teaching and research environment for our postgraduate students.”