Principal's Blog: Early June


blogBowerscrop1Regular events:
It is great that we been able to put on some of our regular events albeit in different and unaccustomed formats. These include virtual music, virtual chapel, Principals Conversations and this blog. Apparently there were some 40000 MS team meetings in the university as a whole in April alone. I wonder how much more difficult this time would have been say ten or even five years ago before decent video conferencing. We are using zoom for social activities and MSTeams for work.

On 26 May we had the first zoom blurbs. Our SCR speaker was the wonderful Professor Emeritus Simon Altmann, who is a former Tutorial Fellow in Mathematical Physics. Since his retirement in 1991 he has published several articles in the field of art. He shared with the zoom audience his passion for “Piero’s Madonna del Parto and the Council of Trent” with brilliant slides. He dwelt on the unusual nature of the pregnant Madonna.

Benjamin Singer, who is a DPhil student in Interdisciplinary Bioscience spoke on “COVID-19 and other stories: how to think about pandemics”. He gave a great insight into how epidemiologists work including a fascinating account of risk factors and how to be better prepared next time. It was a shame we could not have the wonderful dinner afterwards as usual.

Also on 27 May, Roger Casale an alum and former Labour MP for Wimbledon spoke to the College PPE Society by zoom.

Our medical students:
The four final year students (James Maye, James Tizzard, Alanna Wall and Gautam Menon) would normally be on elective, or pursuing studies into areas of particular medical interest at this stage in the course.  I am delighted to say that instead they have all volunteered to start work as doctors early, where they are taking clinical responsibility for patient care (under supervision).  They all appear to be thriving in their new roles, and are enjoying their new responsibilities!

The fourth and fifth year students similarly have sought opportunities to help in their local communities. Ruby Lawrence is working as a nursing assistant in a care home and Jana Bourhill is working in an elderly care home, whilst Imogen Jury, Natalie Maalouf and Sunya Aslam are all working for local charities, helping to care for the vulnerable in the neighbourhood, delivering medicines and groceries.  Brad Johnson has been actively fundraising for the NHS, raising £15,000 with some other medical students.

A clap for all of them. I would love to hear other stories of students and alums working in the NHS.

Most of our College committee meetings continue and we have additional covid meetings twice a week. The Conference of Colleges is holding several extra meetings to respond to he pandemic. I have had time to tune into the Hay Virtual Festival to which we usually go. There have been some great talks including by three Brasenose alums/ex Fellows. I may not have got to them all but I did go to Simon Schama, Jesse Burton and Tim Harford, who are all distinguished members of our BNC community. Some 10000 people watched some of the events. I also got to “see” Rutger Bregman, David Spiegelhalter, Sally Davies, Samantha Power and Jim Al Khalili.

I have been reading Hitler’s Berlin Games by Duff Hart Davis.

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