A Cambridge Guest

So here I am in a palatial guest room in Christ’s College, Cambridge.  I’m here because I am one of the (two) External Examiners for Physics. I spent yesterday afternoon at the Cavendish Laboratory preparing for today’s Part 2 Examination Board; tomorrow we have Part 3. The role of the External Examiner is basically to oversee the whole process including the classification of the honours degrees, to try as far as possible that candidates are treated fairly, and to ensure that academic standards are upheld.

Last night there were long queues of students here and there, all dolled up in their finest. It being June, of course, it is time for May Week (which, obviously, lasts a fortnight) and the inevitable May Balls. There were fireworks all over the city last night as things kicked off in a number of locations. My own evening was spent in more modest but in its own way very agreeable style, with an excellent curry up Castle Hill and a pint in the Pickerel.

Obviously I can’t blog about the actual business of the Exam Board. In fact I can’t blog about very much at all as  a college breakfast beckons. I will however just note that it does feel a little spooky being here as a guest at this time of year for this specific reason.

Exactly 30 years ago, I was a Finalist at Cambridge enjoying all the end-of-year activities and waiting for my own degree result for Part 2 Physics. Now I am on the other side of the fence in a way I could never have imagined back in 1985. It’s a strange kind of cyclic universe sometimes.

Anyway, must get on. Long day ahead. Need that Full English.

4 Responses to “A Cambridge Guest”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    It’s a hard life…

  2. Phillip Helbig Says:

    “Need that Full English.”

    They are a good band, but I thought that you were more of a jazz man. 🙂

  3. […] annual cycle of academic life brings me once again to my duties as External Examiner for Physics at the famous Midlands University called Cambridge, so I’m […]

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