The Bill Robinson story
Dr Bill Robinson began his earthquake engineering career at New Zealand’s Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) in the Physics and Engineering Laboratory (PEL)
Since then he has invented and developed a number of seismic protection devices, including the Lead Rubber Bearing now used throughout the world. Before joining PEL, Dr Robinson completed a PhD in Physical Metallurgy at the University of Illinois, USA, with a thesis on mechanical damping in single crystals of KCI at high temperatures.
During his time at PEL he developed a number of new experimental techniques using ultrasonics in solid state physics, initiated a research program in the Antarctic on sea ice, and invented a number of devices to reduce the damage to structures during earthquakes. In 1985 he was appointed director of PEL, introducing new management procedures for research and development.
In 1995 Dr Robinson founded Penguin Engineering Ltd to capitalise on his expertise and technical developments in the areas of damping and seismic isolation. At the end of 1998 the name Penguin Engineering Ltd was changed to Robinson Seismic Limited.
He has been awarded many honours including the Michaelus Medal, an honorary DSc, a Fellowship of the NZ Royal Society and the NZ Royal Society’s Gold Medal for Technology.
In 2007 Dr Robinson was appointed Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for services to engineering.