Skip to main content

All in a good cause

I am currently scanning in some old photos from my university days and I feel I have to share the Winter 1976 British Lecture Attendance "Record Breaking" Expedition that took place in Cambridge on 20 February 1976. The aim was to attend as many lectures as a possible in a single morning, raising funds for RAG '76.


Those present above are Dave Izod, Rod Hill, Me, Helmut Jakubowicz, Dick Lacey, Neil Thomas and Andy Brookes and (taking the photo but on the right below) Mark Saville. We stormed into the lectures, held up the lecturer and demanded money with menaces.


I do appear to be wearing a skirt. This is because a couple of those present designed a 'British Board of Lecture Censors' certificate to post up at each lecture. In the corner of the certificate was a picture of their sponsor, 'Mrs Ethel Trappit.' For some reason they used a picture of me with a Newcastle Brown bottle. (I was not amused initially.) So I had to, really.


Those attending the lectures seemed highly entertained. Not surprising really. They were students.


Perhaps rather more surprising was the good grace of the lecturers, who allowed us to disrupt their teaching with surprisingly few moans. Although the physicist below did seem a little wary of the (toy) gun. (We would probably be arrested as terrorists today.)


What I had totally forgotten was the 'Boo Now' sign in the bottom left of the photo below, prepared to get the audience on our side in case we had any trouble from lecturers. It is also notable that the gangster with the hat, shades and violin case to the right below is now himself a professor. I wonder how he would react if this happened to him?



There is an epilogue. A year later I went to visit someone I knew from home, who was at Lancaster University. He had on his wall one of the British Board of Lecture censor certificates, given to him by a friend of his who had been at one of the lectures we hit. So this person who I was visiting had my picture on his wall without realising it. Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the certificate any more, but this is a fuzzy picture of what was there:













Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Mirror, mirror

A little while ago I had the pleasure of giving a talk at the Royal Institution in London - arguably the greatest location for science communication in the UK. At one point in the talk, I put this photograph on the screen, which for some reason caused some amusement in the audience. But the photo was illustrating a serious point: the odd nature of mirror reflections. I remember back at school being puzzled by a challenge from one of our teachers - why does a mirror swap left and right, but not top and bottom? Clearly there's nothing special about the mirror itself in that direction - if there were, rotating the mirror would change the image. The most immediately obvious 'special' thing about the horizontal direction is that the observer has two eyes oriented in that direction - but it's not as if things change if you close one eye. In reality, the distinction is much more interesting - we fool ourselves into thinking that the image behind the mirror is what's on ou