One of the delights I am discovering in being retired is that, this week, I could take off for two days to Cambridge.

In 2008 I was running a programme on Combinatorics and Statistical Mechanics at the Isaac Newton Institute. My good friend Jan Saxl arranged for me to be appointed a G. C. Steward visiting fellow at Caius, a position whose onerous duties were to give “three or four lectures” to the mathematics undergraduates, and to attend the annual Venn Dinner. My lecture notes are here. I enjoyed my time there greatly, and made some good friends.

Jan has been very seriously ill recently, and my visit was partly to see him. It was very good to see him out and about again! In addition, five years on, Rosemary is my successor as Steward fellow, while she is giving a Part 3 course on Design of Experiments (which includes something apparently very uncommon in Part 3: she encourages her students to ask questions, and they do!).

I spent a morning sitting in the common area of the Centre for Mathematical Sciences. I am not invisible in Cambridge; several friends came by, and some, including Imre Leader and Geoffrey Grimmett, stopped for a chat. Geoffrey posed me a very interesting mathematical problem about group actions, which I will describe if I manage to get anywhere with it. I also spent some time working – I became so engrossed that I left my coat on a chair, but it was still there when I went back for it.


About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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