On Friday I become a professor


At midnight on the morning of Friday 1 October, I change from Dr Dodgson to Professor Dodgson. No ceremony. No fanfare. Just a quiet switch of title. It feels most peculiar. When I changed from Mr to Dr, there was a ceremony, in Latin, in a fancy building. I went in a Mr and came out a Dr. When my wife changed from Miss to Mrs, there was a ceremony, thankfully not in Latin, in a beautiful church. She went in a Miss and came out a Mrs.

But this switch from Dr to Prof has no ceremony: it just happens. It has been a long haul to get here. Twenty years of research. Almost a hundred papers. Putting together a formal application this time last year. Waiting while references were sought, and then committee after committee met, deliberated, and passed its recommendation to the next committee. Finally, the letter in May telling me that my application was successful. Then came the formal Report to the University on all of the academic promotions for this year, the formal Discussion of the Report in the Senate House, the publishing of the Grace, and the formal approval of the Grace by the Regent House (the Cambridge procedures can be arcane). Finally, last week, a letter arrived, requiring my signature to say that I accepted the promotion. After all this, why would I not? So, after that final signature, everything is now clear for my promotion to take effect, quietly and without fanfare, on the first day of the new academical year: 1 October.

So, on Friday I become a professor. 

 The photo is of me on the way to my ScD graduation ceremony on 15 October 2007. The white bow tie and bands are mandatory for graduation at the University of Cambridge. The gown is that of the PhD, the highest Cambridge degree that I held before going to the ceremony. At Cambridge, you wear the gown that relates to your current degree, not the gown of the degree to which you are about to be admitted.

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