King's College London Mathematical Society 1976-1977

It's time for a laugh.

MathSoc7677-smallWay back when, I went to King's, London, to take Mathematics as an undergraduate degree. While I was there, I joined the King's Mathematical Society (a.k.a. MathSoc), as one would, and in a fairly short amount of time I became the Treasurer of said society. I wasn't completely out of my senses; my best friends also gained positions: Phil Allen (the guy dead center with the gown) was President, and Stuart Kelly (immediately to my left) was Social Secretary. Rounding up the MathSoc team were Anne-Marie Critchard (to my right) as VP, and Gail Croston (two over on my right) as Secretary.

Looking at this photo now (click it for a larger version), I'm reminded about how long ago it was. For a start, you can see it in the 70s fashions, especially the hair. Oh man. Another is that I'm having real problems remembering people's forenames (the photo comes with surnames). Sure my "inner circle" I can remember, but, for example, the guy 4th row back, furthest left, was next door neighbor in the halls of residence on Champion Hill and for the life of me I can't recall his first name (Simon Rees?). Ditto the guy in the first row, furthest right, was my mentor when I started, but again memory fails me as to the name (Mark Harvey?).

One name I do remember is second row, furthest left: Dr Paul Davies, as he was then. Famous in layman's circles for writing philosophical books that explore the boundaries (if any) between what physics knows and what it doesn't. He taught me Special Relativity in my second year and the interesting thing about the final exam was that you could take your notes in and refer to them if need be.  Also penultimate right, same row, is Prof. John Taylor who taught me Neural Networks (not the computer science thing, but a mathematical treatment, at least as far as I remember) in my third year. No fault of his, but it was the only course I failed — I couldn't engender any enthusiasm for it, despite the infamous first lecture of the course when he brought in Tupperware container containing a human brain dripping with formaldehyde solution.

So, if you're in that photo, post a comment here, or send me an email. I'd love to hear from you.

Album cover for Dance into the Light Now playing:
Collins, Phil - Dance into the Light
(from Dance into the Light)

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3 Responses

#1 Nick Hodges said...
08-Aug-09 3:33 PM

You failed to point out which one you were. ;-)

julian m bucknall avatar
#2 julian m bucknall said...
09-Aug-09 12:51 PM

Nick: The handsome-in-a-70s-way guy in the front row, of course.

Cheers, Julian

#3 Stephen Downes-Martin said...
12-Feb-12 10:39 AM


Do you have any other photos of the math department / mathsoc from the 70's? I'm second row far right (sitting to the left of Prof John Taylor).

All the best


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