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Lassonde Professor Richard Hornsey publishes book about notable educator George Minchin Minchin

Minchin (1845-1914) was a professor of applied mathematics, pioneering work on photoelectricity

Headshot of Richard Hornsey

Lassonde Professor Richard Hornsey has published a second book focused on the history of engineering education. This time, shining a spotlight on influential educator and innovator George Minchin Minchin with the publication of The Many-Sidedness of George Minchin Minchin.

This achievement follows the release of Hornsey’s inaugural book on the history of engineering education, Imperial Engineers: The Royal Indian Engineering College, Coopers Hill, which was published in 2022.

Professor Hornsey is passionate about engineering education, having played a lead role in the establishment of the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University over a decade ago. His interest in this topic and passion for history led him to embark on a years-long journey uncovering the little-known pioneering work of George Minchin Minchin.

Minchin was a professor of applied mathematics at the Royal Indian Engineering College. His extraordinary range of accomplishments offers a unique inside view of the major technological and educational developments of late nineteenth-century Britain. Minchin’s mathematical textbooks were praised for their lucidity, and his advanced pedagogical thinking underpinned his lifelong work on reforming science education.

Book cover: The Many-Sidedness of Geroge Minchin Minchin

“I was first drawn to George Minchin because of his pioneering work on photodetectors – which is my own area of engineering research,” says Professor Hornsey. “Then, I discovered his advanced ideas of education, the elegance of his writing, and above all, his wit and humour. Add an early modern work of science fiction and satires that poked fun at the scientific establishment, and I was hooked.”

The Many-Sidedness of George Minchin Minchin is the first complete biography of George Minchin Minchin. It unveils the scientific community’s excitement during the early days of electromagnetic theory, wireless telegraphy and x-rays. This book also traces Minchin’s little-known pioneering work on photoelectricity, which led to the first electrical measurements of starlight and laid the foundations for solar cells and television.

Professor Hornsey is the Associate Dean, Academic and Students at the Lassonde School of Engineering. He was formerly Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and has also served as Associate Dean, Vice Dean and Interim Dean at the School.

In 2015, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada and was named a University Professor at York.