26 February, 2014 - 10:43 By Tony Quested

Timely homage to Sinclair, the great Cambridge inventor

Edison was generalising but he might well have been epitomising Clive Sinclair in all his anarchic glory when he said: “There are no rules here – we're trying to accomplish something.”

Sinclair has never been a great respector of boundaries or frontiers in terms of innovation; blue skies thinking never went as far as Sir Clive’s mental horizons which gravitated towards the kind of inter-galactic territories more often vocalised by Stephen Hawking.

Cambridge – the UK’s technology capital – has become a global hotspot for entrepreneurship. But in terms of raw, cutting edge technology inventors its CV resembles a round of Emmental. Nobel Prize winners in science a-plenty but electronics inventors nowhere near as prolific.

Sinclair has never been a nutty professor as some snobs in Cambridge have tried to define him. He was and remains a brilliant, world-leading engineer – skills honed at Vickers and which blossomed through his creation of consumer electronics products that caught the imagination of generations; some might say which set the mood of future generations of consumers.

The Centre for Computing History in Cambridge this weekend pays timely homage to the great man and places his inventiveness in a proper context.

On Saturday and Sunday (March 1 and 2) the Centre is presenting a special display of Sinclair computers and some other lesser known ‘Clive classics.’

Celebrating the “design genius and inspirational inventor,” the exhibition will feature some of Sinclair's early radio products from 1965 through to the Pocket TV, the legendary C5 electric vehicle and iconic computer stars of the ’80's like the ZX Spectrum.

All the computers are in full working order and available for visitors to use. The exhibition will also include some rare Sinclair development hardware as well as a unique display of software and printed material.

What's more, you'll also have the chance to drive the centre’s very own Sinclair C5! And there’s yet another bonus – as part of the Sinclair Celebration Weekend, the centre is offering visitors the unique chance to spend an evening in the company of Saul Metzstein - director of the BBC 4 Drama, Micro Men and several Doctor Who episodes.

A screening of the film Micro Men will be followed by a Q&A session with Saul giving you the chance to ask those questions you always wanted to ask – within reason and on-topic, the centre adds.

A Mensa mastermind and brilliant poker player, Sir Clive is arguably a one-off, refusing to bow to convention or accept barriers to engineering progress being placed in his path.

To book your place at the event visit http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/32457/Sinclair-Weekend/

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