A former pupil of Lanark Grammar School has gone on to prove that the old Scottish traditions of inventiveness and excellence in engineering are far from dead.
However, Robert Watson is becoming a thoroughly modern engineer, one of his earliest inventions being a very state-of-the-art drone-killer.
Now 23, Robert, of Hazelbank, has been honoured after emerging as the top student in his year after completing a five-year master’s degree course at Strathclyde University in Glasgow.
Far from that having been a half decade of having his head buried in boring textbooks, those years have seen him take a trip to Canada and help invent a drone-killing device straight out of Q’s laboratory in a James Bond movie script.
His justly proud dad, Robert Snr, says that Robert Jnr seems to be fully realising his early potential.
After education at Underbank Primary, his son became dux at Lanark Grammar.
Robert Jnr’s degree, achieved with distinction, is in electrical and mechanical engineering with international study, and his efforts earned him a substantial cash prize from the National Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
While the very nature of taking an engineering degree involves absorbing a lot of dry, technical information, Robert and his fellow students were allowed to let their imaginations to run free.
His dad recounts: “He and four of his classmates also received an award for the best final-year project in which they built an autonomous drone killer, in other words, a big-assed drone that thinks for itself and takes out other airborne drones on its own.
“This also came with a significant financial award, contributed by BP.
“As part of his degree, he spent a year studying abroad at Toronto University, one of Canada’s top academic institutions.
“Its admission requirements are extremely high, so getting in the front door was an achievement in itself.
“He had a ball over in Canada, immersing himself in the Canadian lifestyle.
“Strathclyde University has now offered him a full financial scholarship and place on its PhD programme, so he’ll be returning to the university in October for another three years.”
Doubtless, this won’t be the last Gazette article about the achievements of this talented young Scot who seems to have a bright future ahead of him – unlike any drones he might happen to take a disliking to!