JC or not JC?

We recently published a letter from David Elisha, who thinks Jeremy Clarkson does not deserve the title champion of engineering. We asked you if Clarkson was the right choice, and if not, invited alternative suggestions

In our 10 November issue we published a letter from David Elisha, who thinks Jeremy Clarkson does not deserve the title champion of engineering and should be replaced. We asked you if Clarkson was the right choice, and if not, invited alternative suggestions. Here is a selection of your many letters.

I believe that Jeremy Clarkson is a very good choice for the title Champion of Engineering.

While there will be people that are better qualified, there is no-one that has the character and personality, or indeed the platform, to deliver the message the title demands. One reason I give is that in 2002 Clarkson put forward a passionate and inspiring case on BBC2’s series Great Britons for Brunel to be voted as the greatest Briton of all time.

It is the passion shown on these shows and his ability to talk humorously on the subject that wins him the title — not his ability to talk in depth in any particular area.

It made me cringe that your correspondent wants to award such a title to an energy or urban policy maker. As an engineer I marvel at the creation of huge buildings, supersonic cars, space flight and ridiculously high and long bridges, not something like the M4 bus lane.

Billy Milligan

Grangemouth

Scotland

Jeremy Clarkson is certainly not my idea of a champion.

His layman’s idea of good engineering used to be Aston Martin, at a time when its cars were possibly the worst examples of automotive engineering. He soon changed his opinions — ironically at a time when Astons are almost becoming | reliable.

My vote goes to the late Fred Dibnah, who has indisputably inspired interest in, and the preservation of, the UK’s industrial heritage through his character and enthusiasm.

Old technology maybe, but his programmes demonstrated exactly the excitement of invention, and the childish buzz we all get when the new machines actually work.

Julian Cooper, chief engineer

Lola Cars International

Huntingdon

I agree that Jeremy Clarkson may not exactly mirror the cutting edge of green technology that is being developed (or is already developed).

However, can we really afford to turn away such a dominant figure in the media, who is most supportive in his reporting of our field? Are we really so flushed with celebrity support for our cause that we can afford to be picky?

Clarkson appeals to a far wider audience than club racers, and if just a small amount of his support changes the minds of a few up-and-coming school pupils that engineering might be a good thing, surely that is positive progress?

Wendy Bourne

Harwin

Hants

Champion of engineering? Not Jeremy Clarkson, who admits he doesn’t know how things work.

how about James May, who seems to know his way around an equation or two — that should put the cat among the pigeons on the Top Gear team?

I can’t think of anyone else. unfortunately there don’t seem to be any famous designers any more, such as the Spitfire’s RJ Mitchell, Barnes Wallis or Brunel — it’s all done by teams.

has anyone any idea who the overall designer was for the Eurofighter Typhoon?

Denis Sharp

by email

Ousting Clarkson is clearly a job for our tame champion engineer. Some say he (or she) plugs into a laptop every night, others say he recites Kempe’s every sunday morning, facing East.

all we know — well actually we don’t — is that he’s a bit anonymous, and that’s the problem. nature abhorrs a vacuum, and engineering probably needs a Clarkson to bring all the fine achievements of the past, and ideas of today, to the attention of the wider world in a way that grabs attention.

To my mind Robert Llewellyn, of Scrapheap Challenge and How Do They Do It? fame is the only possible alternative. but entertaining as Llewellyn is, Clarkson has more gravitas. As long as he doesn’t go too far to offend he should keep up the good work.

Richard Hill

Shrewsbury, Shropshire

Jeremy Clarkson is a highly successful entertainer, but his knowledge of engineering, as your readers understand it, is vestigial.

His principal ’engineering’ exploits are to drive large, gas-guzzling and totally unaffordable cars at unrealistic speeds, and his views on global warming and climate change appear to be much the same as Sarah Palin’s.

Engineering today is not about personalities, but teamwork — teams who designed and built the Pelamis wave energy converter, the A380, nuclear submarines and the people at Ricardo.

Engineering ’heroes’ such as Brunel, Joseph Bazalgette or even railway innovators Oliver Bulleid and Arthur Peppercorn, are figures from the past.

Dr Anselm Kuhn

MFIS, Stevenage, Herts