Archive for St. Hugh’s College

A discovery of wromynce

Posted in Books, Travel, University life with tags , , , on March 4, 2018 by xi'an

While recovering from this minor food poisoning bout in Oxford the other week, I took a break by having an early night after my class and reading a book hurriedly purchase from a local bookstore, A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness, which title sounded (wrongly) familiar, and which turned out to be a soapy wromynce (my own mix of witch, vampyre, and romance…) involving a reluctant witch and a very ancient vampyre falling in love against the eternal rules of their respective communities. Including all imaginable clichés on these creatures, like enormous wealth, superior intelligence, involvement into human history, science, arts, politics, &tc., since the dawn of time (at the very least). The style is appalling, with one dimensional characters and less-than-one-dimension plots, a hotchpotch of alchemy and the most advanced science, of historical facts and of the most threadbare conspiracy theories, the main character oscillating between the rational, precocious, sport-obsessed, Oxford academic and a Harlequin-like damsel-in-distress having lost her intellectual pursuits… As in La Belle Sauvage, the book has a strong connection with Oxford and its colleges at the beginning of the book that may make for an extra incentive, but it was a relief to abandon the unfinished book there before returning to Paris|


annual visit to Oxford

Posted in Kids, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2018 by xi'an

As in every year since 2014, I am spending a few days in Oxford to teach a module on Bayesian Statistics to our Oxford-Warwick PhD students. This time I was a wee bit under the weather due to a mild case of food poisoning and I can only hope that my more than sedate delivery did not turn definitely the students away from Bayesian pursuits!

The above picture is at St. Hugh’s College, where I was staying. Or should it be Saint Hughes, since this 12th century bishop was a pre-Brexit European worker from Avalon, France… (This college was created in 1886 for young women of poorer background. And only opened to male students a century later. The 1924 rules posted in one corridor show how these women were considered to be so “dangerous” by the institution that they had to be kept segregated from men, except their brothers!, at all times…)

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