“Real Artists Ship”

Colin Johnson’s blog

Incidental Benefits

Nice story that I heard from Steve Furber last night; certainly paraphrased and probably apocryphal, but funny nonetheless. As you may well know, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Andre Geim from Manchester. Following this announcement, the Vice-Chancellor invited him to come and discuss this with her. She said to him “Clearly this is a great achievement: what can we do to recognize this in the University? Name a building after you? Endow a professorship in your honour?”. To which, he is alleged to have said “you can get me my own reserved parking space by the doors of the physics building”.

Reminiscent of Clark Kerr’s comment that to be a successful university leader all you need to do is provide “sex for the undergraduates, football for the alumni and parking for the staff”. This comment does lose some of its edge in England where university football matches attract a crowd of a dozen friends and family of the players to a muddy field at the back of campus, rather than 40,000 spectators to a purpose-built stadium like in the USA.

Leave a Reply