Steve Wozniak joins Australian university as virtual professor

21 Oct 2014

Steve Wozniak meets University of Technology, Sydney's PR2 robot 'Gutsy' during a visit to Australia earlier in 2014. Photo by Srinivas Madhisetty

University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) has appointed Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak as adjunct professor in its faculty of engineering and IT.

Woz, as he is affectionately known, is somewhat of a demigod on the tech scene. He is credited as having had a major role in the revolution of home computing, having single-handedly designed the Apple I and Apple II in the 1970s.

Inventor, electronics engineer, computer programmer and co-founder of what is now one of the world’s biggest tech entities, Wozniak can now add a professorship to his list of titles.

It is the first adjunct appointment Wozniak has accepted at any university, but he won’t be relocating to Australia any time soon. Working from the US, Woz will be beamed in via telepresence to chat with students in the university’s Magic Lab, an innovation and enterprise research laboratory, as well as the School of Software and Centre for Quantum Computation and Intelligent Systems.

Woz expected to make some magic

Magic Lab director Prof Mary-Anne Williams expects there will be as many jokes shared as ideas, as well as occasional pranks with Woz, whom she describes as “the coolest person in the universe”.

“Woz loves the energy, the vibe and the robots in the Magic Lab,” she said.

“Woz constantly highlights the new possibilities for technology to change the world and enjoys sharing his insights and experiences. The students have been totally wowed by the attention he has given them – one claiming he had changed her life in less than 60 seconds.”

Inspiring future technology pioneers

UTS deputy vice-chancellor of research Prof Glenn Wightwick is equally excited to have secured such an iconic mentor for students and staff.

“The first computer I owned was an Apple II and I spent thousands of hours programming it,” he said.

“His history aside, Steve Wozniak remains a leading voice in innovation and a promoter of creativity and ingenuity, especially among the young technologists who will take the next step.”

Wozniak will visit the UTS campus, physically, for the second time this December.

Don’t miss our Innovation Ireland Forum on 24 October in the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.