Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Imperial College London
Imperial College London is a college of the University of London which focuses on science and technology, and is located in South Kensington in London. Although properly titled Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine , since 2002 the college has adopted the style Imperial College London and prefers simply Imperial for short.
Imperial's scientific leaning gives rise to its strongly biased male:female student ratio of approximately 7:3, a consuming problem for many!
As a specialist science college, Imperial is often seen to enjoy a similar reputation in the United Kingdom as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology enjoys in the United States. To become more academically rounded a merger with University College London was proposed in October 2002, but was called off a month later after protests from staff and students of both colleges. A £27m financial contribution to the college from alumnus Gary Tanaka in 2000 allowed the construction of a new building for the management school (now renamed Tanaka Business School). The business school building provides the college with an official and imposing "Main Entrance" and was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004.
The main campus of the college is the South Kensington campus, and is situated near the Royal Albert Hall on the boundary of the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The area is dense with institutions of learning: the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal College of Music and the Royal College of Art are all nearby (see Albertopolis). There are two other major campuses – at Silwood Park (near Ascot in Berkshire) and at Wye (near Ashford in Kent). There are various other small medical campuses dotted around Greater London.
The Imperial College was founded in 1907, upon the merger of the City and Guilds of London Institute, the Royal School of Mines and the Royal College of Science, although these entities continued as Constituent Colleges. It was granted a Royal Charter in July 1907. The expansion of the South Kensington campus in the 1960s absorbed the site of the former Imperial Institute , designed by Thomas Colcutt , of which only the 287-foot (85-metre) high Queen's Tower remains amongst the more modern buildings.
In later years St. Mary's Hospital Medical school (1988), the National Heart and Lung institute (1995), Charing Cross and Westminster schools (1997) merged into the Imperial College School of Medicine , the fourth Constituent College. In 1997, the size of the Medical School was increased with the merger of Royal Postgraduate Medical School, and the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. In 2000, a merger with the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology expanded it even further.
Also in 2000, Imperial merged with Wye College, which at that time had a much lesser reputation than Imperial. A number of voices have opined that the merger may have been due to Imperial's wish to obtain the significant amount of land owned by Wye College rather than for academic reasons; similarly there have been suggestions that Wye College accepted the merger because it was in financial difficulties. Neither of these rumours can be confirmed.
In 2002, the constituent colleges were finally abolished in favour of a new faculty structure.
Rumours occasionally surface about a possible merger with the London School of Economics. Whilst the two institutions have often conducted joint ventures, there has been no significant progress toward a merger.
Imperial is consistently ranked in the top four in the country for academic prowess by newspaper league tables. In most of the latest tables, Imperial comes third, before the LSE. On occasion, Imperial has come second in these tables and has pushed Oxford University into third place.
Imperial offers undergraduate and postgraduate education. Its research and teaching are organised into four faculties, each headed by a principal. The faculties include that of engineering, medicine, physical sciences, and life sciences. In addition to the four faculties a Business school exists as well as a Humanities department. However, the humanities department's main purpose is to provide elective subjects and language courses outside the fields of science for students in the other faculties and departments.
The College is acknowledged worldwide as a centre of excellence for teaching. It has some of the brightest and most innovative teachers anywhere in the UK. All departments visited and assessed for their teaching (by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and, since 1997, the Quality Assurance Agency) have scored between 21 and 24 points out of 24 or, in the previous system, have been judged excellent.
Imperial has a reputation for working its students particularly hard in terms of laboratory work and coursework.
Academic and research staff number around 3,000. Of these, 53 are Fellows of the Royal Society and 57 are Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering. Distinguished past members of the College include 14 Nobel Laureates and two Fields Medallists.
The University is consistently recognised as one of the top three UK university institutions for research quality. It is ranked 5th in the world for Engineering and IT, 10th in the world for science and 14th in the world overall according to the latest rankings by Times Higher Education. [See League Tables external link for more information] It has been in the league of best institutions in the world in all global rankings of Universities and institutions.
Imperial's research income is one of the largest in the UK – £167.2 million for 2002–03. This includes Research Council grants, grants from charities and a larger sum from industry than any other British university.
In the December 2001 Research Assessment Exercise, 75 per cent of staff achieved a 5* rating, the highest proportion in any UK university. The College was second in the country with an overall score of 6.68 out of 7.
Imperial College graduates also have, by far, the highest average starting salary among British graduates. While this is partly due to higher London salaries, it also reflects the demand for the technically knowledgeable graduates Imperial turns out.
Imperial College Radio was founded in 1975 and broadcasts on 999 AM to the South Kensington campus. Recently, it has also launched a website, with internet broadcasting and various competitions. The radio station has a collection of over 51,000 tracks, which are viewable on their website, via the Imperial College Union website.
STOIC (Student Television of Imperial College) is Imperial College's TV station. It broadcasts from the Student Union to the Junior Common Room, DaVinci's Bar and some nearby Halls of Residence.
Published weekly, Felix has recently changed from a magazine to a 'compact newspaper' format and is free to all Imperial College students. It aims to be independent of both the College itself and also the Student Union.
Imperial College Boat Club is one of the most consistently successful rowing clubs in the country. Under the legendary coach Bill Mason it achieved many wins at Henley Royal Regatta and provided many internationals and Olympians, including members of the gold medal winning eight at the Sydney Olympics, Simon Dennis and Louis Attrill .
- Rajiv Gandhi (Indian Prime minister)
- T. H. Huxley (Scientist and author)
- Branislav Ivkovic (politician)
- Brian May (Member of Queen)
- W. H. Perkin (Discoverer of Aniline dyes)
- Trevor Phillips (journalist and politician)
- Simon Singh (Popular science author)
- H. G. Wells (Science fiction author)
- Simon Dennis ( Olympic Gold medallist, Rowing)
- Louis Attrill ( Olympic Gold medallist, Rowing)
- Sir Alexander Fleming (Nobel laureate and co-discoverer of penicillin)
- Geoffrey Wilkinson (Nobel laureate, Chemistry)
- Dennis Gabor (Nobel laureate, Physics)
- Derek Harold Richard Barton (Nobel laureate, Chemistry)
- Baron Patrick Blackett (Nobel laureate, Physics)
- Abdus Salam (Nobel laureate, Physics)
- Sir George Paget Thomson (Nobel laureate, Physics)
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