Encaenia 1999 - (1) to No 4517



<br /> Oxford University Gazette: Encaenia 1999 (supplement)

Oxford University Gazette

Encaenia 1999

Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4517

Friday, 25 June 1999


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Contents of the supplement


University Acts

CONGREGATION 23 June

1 Conferment of Honorary Degrees

THE PUBLIC ORATOR made the following speeches in
presenting the recipients of Honorary Degrees at the
Encaenia held in the Sheldonian Theatre on Wednesday, 23 June:

Degree of Doctor of Civil Law


Justice Aharon Barak

President of the Supreme Court of Israel

Honorandorum agmen ducit, ut par est, vir tanta auctoritate praeditus ut
secum sanctissimam iuris publici dignitatem et amplitudinem adferre videatur.
in Lithuania natus mox Hierosolymam migravit, ubi iuris civilis scientiae tam
praeclaro successu incubuit ut cum vix e scholis evasisset iam cathedram
obtineret, discipulos institueret. virum summos apud homines academicos
honores tam veloci cursu consecutum mirabantur universi; ipse maiora
spectabat, vitam umbratilem deseruit, in aciem forensem vitamque publicam
descendit. hic quoque amplissimos honores brevissimo tempore adeptus fisci
advocatus evasit, in causis difficillimis eos adiuvabat qui summam rerum
administrabant. audivistis ingenium
viri rapidum, quo fretus praeter advocatorum ceterorum consuetudinem
interrogationibus repentinis et eisdem gravissimis solebat haud minore
auctoritate ex tempore respondere quam ceteri post moras diuturnas. quod quo
minus admiremini, nomen suum hic duxit a fulmine. permultas iuris provincias
peragratus, nam omnis Minervae homo est, nullam fere iurisprudentiae partem
intactam et inornatam reliquit; quin Universitates complures visitavit, scholas
et acroases habuit, commentarios locupletissimos edidit. patriae suae multifariam
praesto est, quem gravissimis illis colloquiis quae in Castris Davidicis fiebant,
cum de Orientis finibus decernebatur, non tantum interfuisse verum rem magna
e parte peregisse cognovimus. in iudiciis sententias longiores conscripsit
quibus iudicum libertatem defendit, iudiciorum potestatem ulterius promovere
studuit, ipsos rei publicae
rectores iudicibus iurique civili rationem reddere coegit. obscurum non est
hunc, qui ne in re divina quidem inveterata privilegia, si e re publica est,
nefas habet oppugnare, cum hominibus summo loco positis interdum certamen
habuisse, saepe excessisse victorem. civium iura contra potentiorum
impotentiam tutatus adeo quorundam inimicitias movit ut minas subierit,
custodia et militibus saepiatur.

Praesento patriae suae iudiciarium summum, iuris propagnaculum firmissimum,
libertatis assertorem constantissimum, Aharon Barak, ut admittatur honoris
causa ad gradum Doctoris in Iure Civili.

Admission by the Chancellor

Iudex eminentissime, iustitiae antistes praeclarissime, qui iuris praestantiam
cum inter academicos docuisti, tum in iudiciis declaravisti, ego auctoritate mea
et totius Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Doctoris in Iure Civili honoris
causa.

Paraphrase

The first of our honorands is, appropriately enough, a man of such authority
that he brings with him the sublime majesty of the law. Dr Barak was born
in Lithuania but soon moved to Jerusalem, where he applied himself to the
study of the civil law with such success that very soon after graduating he
was instructing students as the holder of a Chair of Law. The speed of his
ascent to the highest academic honours was the subject of general admiration,
but he had yet more ambitious plans, and he entered the arena of public and
political life. Here too his ascent was rapid, and as Attorney General he was
involved in cases of great weight and complexity. You have heard evidence of
the quickness of his mind, which enables him—very differently from the
habit of most lawyers—to deal immediately with questions put to him
without notice, producing answers as authoritative as those which others
produce only after prolonged consultation. This swiftness is perhaps less
surprising when you recall that Barak actually means lightning. He is
versatile, and he has left a distinguished mark in many fields of the law; he
has also given lectures at many universities and published important legal
books. He has served his country in many ways, not least in the Camp David
talks on the future of the Middle East, where it is well known that he played
a crucial role in achieving the agreements. He has produced a number of
lengthy judgments, in which he has defended the independence of judges and
endeavoured to extend the power of the courts, working to make government
and its agents subject to the courts and the law. It is no secret that Dr
Barak, who does not regard even privileges claimed and maintained in the
name of religion as beyond the reach of the law, has been involved in
disputes with men in high positions, and that he has regularly been
successful; he has in this way incurred some hostility, and in the light of
threats he has had to accept a military body-guard.

I present a staunch defender of the rule of law and an unwavering partisan
of liberty, Aharon Barak, President of the Supreme Court of Israel, for
admission to the
honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law.

Admission by the Chancellor

You are a most eminent judge and an outstanding agent of justice; you have
taught the supremacy of the law at the academic level, and you have
maintained it in practice in the courts. Acting on my own authority and that
of the whole University, I admit you to the honorary degree of Doctor of Civil
Law.

Return to list of contents


Degree of Doctor of Letters


Dame Muriel Spark, DBE, C.Lit.

Writer

Cum plurimi sint hodie in Universitatibus ei qui carmina fabulas historias
commenticias interpretentur, tum multo pauciores occurrunt qui umquam ipsi
quicquam tale genuerunt; quo fit ut haec quam produco rara avis sit ideoque
vel acceptior hominibus Musarum quidem privignis, artis autem criticae atque
censurae peritissimis. quid de huius educatione verba faciam, cum ipsa tam
lepide descripserit ut ludi magistram integerrima aetate florentem litteratissima
quaeque tamquam suam agnoscat? mox bello saeviente ad secretiora patriae
consilia admissa id genus rumorum apud hostes disserebat quod nigrum
appellatur; iucundiorem disciplinam vix inveneritis qua formetur fabularum
poetria. mox ad poeticam se contulit, et quidem non solum ipsa carmina
exquisita pangebat verum etiam poetarum collegio praesidebat, recitationes
instruebat, genus irritabile vatum aliquamdiu patiebatur; quos in libro quem
de vita sua scripsit festive faceteque depinxit. mox ad fabulas conversa duas
res quae plerumque int
er se repugnant ita coniungit ut consociari sua sponte videantur: hinc
accuratissimam vitae cotidianae imitationem, qua hominum operariorum, virginum
tenuiorum, caelibum nummatiorum, et verba et sententias exquisito penicillo
effingit; hinc aliquid maius atque divinius, quo numinis sive providentia sive
interdum malevolentia significari videtur; huius enim ingenio triste aliquid, ne
tetricum dicam, inesse manifestum est. quid? nonne apud Vellicopernenses
virum introduxit qui secum auram Tartaream contulit, tranquillas incolarum
vitas dolis et malignitate turbavit? nuntiorum magistra est sollertissima, vocis
et vivae et mortuae interpres callidissima, quae alios nobis exhibeat cum
mortuorum manibus colloqui nitentes, alios voces nescio quas audientes, quibus
oboedire conentur; invitis denique senum anicularumque auribus iterum atque
iterum molestissimum istud finxit ab Aio Locutio quodam insusurratum, Memento
te esse mortalem. sed vereor ne longum sit si omnia huius aut opera
percurrere
coner, cum permulta scribendi genera ornarit, aut praemia atque honores
quibus merito est honestata.

Praesento historiarum commenticiarum magistram perfectissimam, vitae humanae
interpretem sagacissimam, Muriel Spark, Excellentissimi Ordinis Imperi
Britannici Dominam Commendatricem, Litterarum Commendatricem, ut admittatur
honoris causa ad gradum Doctoris in Litteris.

Admission by the Chancellor

Fabularum inventrix eloquentissima, quae ita vera cum falsis commiscere calles
ut auditores et delectentur et
doceantur, ego auctoritate mea et totius Universitatis admitto te ad gradum
Doctoris in Litteris honoris causa.

Paraphrase

Universities nowadays contain multitudes of people who are active in the
criticism and interpretation of literature, but very few who have themselves
produced anything of that kind. Dame Muriel is thus all the more welcome
among us, to whom the Muses have been step-motherly, but who are highly
practised in the art of criticism. It is
unnecessary to say anything about her schooling, as she has herself
described it, so vividly that many an educated woman seems to recognise
among her own teachers something of that woman in her prime, Miss Jean
Brodie. The War came, and Dame Muriel served in the secret part of the war
effort, involved in the spreading of black propaganda among the enemy; an
ideal activity, one might think, for the formation of a novelist. After the War
she turned to poetry, writing distinguished poems herself
and running the Poetry Society as its Secretary. Her autobiography gives an
amusing description of some of her difficulties with what Horace called `the
prickly race of poets'. She turned to writing novels, which are remarkable for
their success in combining two things which regularly do not go together, but
which she contrives to make apparently natural companions: on the one hand
the accurate evocation of ordinary life, including the speech and thought
patterns of industrial workers, or of girls of slender means, or of comfortable
bachelors, all depicted with a most feline touch; and on the other hand
something altogether higher and less mundane, indications of the activity of
the supernatural, sometimes providential, but sometimes—it cannot be
denied that Dame Muriel's mind has its dark and sinister
aspects—apparently
malign. Thus she let loose on Peckham Rye a character who disrupted some
humdrum lives with cruel humour, and who brought with him a convincing
whiff of sulphur. She is a mistress of the spoken word, and an expert in
depicting the interplay of the living and the dead. She has depicted
spiritualists struggling to make contact, and people hearing and obeying
strange voices. In Memento Mori she shows old people receiving repeated
telephone messages from an apparently supernatural source with the
unwelcome tidings: Remember that you must die. I have no time to mention all
her work. She has distinguished herself in many genres of writing, and
received many well deserved honours and awards in many countries.

I present a perfect practitioner of the novel and a
profound interpreter of life, Dame Muriel Spark, DBE, C.Lit., for admission to
the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.

Admission by the Chancellor

You are a most talented novelist: you succeed in blending the imaginary with
the real in such a way that your readers are both delighted and also
instructed. Acting on my own authority and that of the whole University, I
admit you to the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.

Return to list of contents



Professor Jean-Pierre Vernant

Professeur Honoraire au Collège de France

Liceat mihi hunc quem produco Graece definire [en men tois praktikois
theoretikotaton, en de tois theoretikois praktikotaton], quem in philosophorum
scholis eruditum philosophiaeque studiosum mox rapuit patriai tempus iniquum:
vir enim libertati deditissimus se statim cum illis coniunxit qui servituti
inhumanissimae quae tum grassabatur totis viribus resistebant, inter quos
primarium locum consecutus ante viris militaribus quam academicis innotuit,
ante tribunus militum evasit quam philosophiae professor. libet meminisse
hunc in Nemausi urbis moenibus suorum erga Britannos benevolentiam invitis
hostibus inscripsisse. cedunt tandem arma togae, reditur ad studia humanitatis,
incipit hic exemplaria Graeca


nocturna versare manu, versare diurna;

quae tamen ita evolvebat ut contentus non esset hoc sibi proponere, deorum
cultum, urbium institutiones, poetarum historicorum philosophorum libros,
separatim intellegere, sed magis haec omnia ita explicare ut inter se viderentur
intimo nexu esse coniuncta. Graecis hominibus, atque illis praecipue qui ante
Pisistratum florebant, ubique in philosophando inque re publica nihil magis
cordi fuisse quam ordinem lucidum; num eisdem placere posset in re divina
rudis indigestaque moles, historiarum rituum deorum indiscreta congeries,
neque inter se neque cum ceteris vitae partibus ulla ratione conexa? quin
altius inspicienti atque omne materiae genus simul tractanti apparere rationes
subtiliores, quibus animadversis patere iter quo hinc Graecorum mentes, hinc
alteritatem (ut ipsius verbo utar) intellegere posses. quod propositum cum
magnae atque arduae cogitationis indigebat, tum ab hoc mirabilem in modum
effectum est: permultos enim optimae notae libros conscripsit, alios solus, alios
cum conlegis (namque non solum hominum doctorum sodalicium insignissimum
gubernavit, verum etiam, ut miremur, conlaborat libentissime), in fabulis
poeticis linguam quandam inventam demonstravit quam in rebus quoque divinis
atque etiam in institutis publicis vestigare possimus, qua denique perspecta
nihil fere Graecum est quin melius intellegamus.

Praesento Graeciae interpretem praeclarissimum, morum sacrorum poetarum
indagatorem oculatissimum, praedicatorem eloquentissimum, Iohannem Petrum
Vernant, amplissimis apud suos honoribus honestatum, Academiae Britannicae
nec non plurimis ubique Academiis adscriptum, ut admittatur honoris
causa ad gradum Doctoris in Litteris.

Admission by the Chancellor

Vir doctissime, cuius egregii labores Graecorum artes scripta vitas tam claro
lumine illustraverunt, qui cum
patriae tuae optime servivisti, tum nostrae te amicum constantissimum
praestitisti, ego auctoritate mea et totius Universitatis admitto te ad gradum
Doctoris in
Litteris honoris causa.

Paraphrase

Of our next honorand it is tempting to say, in Greek terms, that he is among
practical men outstandingly theoretical, and among men of theory
outstandingly practical. He was educated in philosophy and attracted to a
philosophical career, but he was swept in another direction by the crisis in
his country's affairs: his devotion to freedom led him to join the Resistance
to the monstrous tyranny of the time. He soon attained a leading position, and
so he made a name as a man of action before becoming known as an academic,
and before he was a Professor he was already
famous as a Colonel. We in this country remember with emotion that he dared
to write `Vive l'Angleterre!' on the walls of Nîmes. At last the War came
to an end, humane studies began to revive, and he followed the injunction of
the poet Horace: Day and night, read the works of the Greeks! In his reading
he was not content with the goal of understanding the political institutions of
the polis, the cult of the gods, and the productions of the writers—poets,
philosophers, historians—as so many separate and self-contained areas.
The Greeks, and especially those of the
archaic period, valued nothing so highly as clarity and order: could it be that
in their religion they were content with a chaotic and meaningless mass of
separate rituals and beliefs, without real connection either between themselves
or with the other areas of their lives? On the contrary, it must be that if all
the material were surveyed together and analysed at the deeper level, rational
patterns would appear; and by understanding them, it would become possible
to understand the Greek mentality, and also (to use his own word)
l'alteritÄ, their otherness from us. The task demanded intense and
arduous thought and study, but Professor Vernant has carried it through in
a most impressive fashion, producing a series of highly important books, some
by him alone, others in co-operation with other scholars: for he has been not
only the head of a great research centre, but also (perhaps surprisingly, in
view of his record) a great collaborator. He has been able to show the
existence of a la
nguage of structure, which is present in the works of the poets and which
can be traced also in Greek religion and in political institutions. By learning
to read this language we can improve our understanding of virtually every
aspect of archaic and classical Greece.

I present Jean-Pierre Vernant, an outstanding interpreter of the Greeks, most
perceptive in his research and most eloquent in explaining their religion,
poetry, and
society, holder of the highest honours in his own country, Fellow of the
British Academy and of many other Academies throughout the world, for
admission to the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.

Admission by the Chancellor

You are at once a scholar of great learning, whose work has illuminated early
Greece, and a man who has served your own country with great distinction
and been a true friend of ours. Acting on my own authority and that of the
whole University, I admit you to the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.

Return to list of contents



Sir Tony Wrigley, PBA

Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge

Quod studium homini proprium esse debet? quod aliud, poetae si credimus
eloquentissimo, pontificali cognomine insigni, quam hominis ipsius natura? quam
definitionem inhumano magis sensu detorsit alter poeta: nil esse in vita nisi
genituram, coitionem, obitum. cuius sententiae acerbitatem hic quem produco
magnopere exstinxit. maiorum enim nostrorum dies natales, nuptiales, fatales,
in libros linteos relatos inque decies mille parochiarum tabulariis servatos, ita
perlegit excussit
explicavit ut fructum vel maximum perceperit, perceptum ceteris impertierit.
non deerant quidam qui morosum istud genus annalium, exilem nimis materiam
esse clamarent; quibus hic responsum dedit ad persuadendum aptissimum, sicut
apud prophetam Ezechielem verba Domini legimus, qui cum rogarit, fili hominis,
putasne vivent ossa ista? tunc ipse respondet, Ossa arida, ecce ego
intromittam in vos spiritum, et vivetis. permulta sunt quae ex aridis illis
monumentis solet eruere. huius enim opera intellegimus quot annos natae
mulieres nupserint, quae res cum admirabile sit quantum diversis temporibus
discreparit, tum maximi momenti est et ad fingendos societatis cuiusvis mores
et ad civium multitudinem augendam minuendam gubernandam; nec non quot
pueros quibus intervallis pepererint, quatenusque certis temporibus mulierum
fecunditas frenata sit atque compressa. itaque fere cum Martiale poeta gloriari
possit, Homines pagina nostra sapit. sed quid non ipsius verbis utar, idcirco
se tam vehementer istius modi studiis delectari, quod plurimum valeant in
maiorum vita societate moribus intelligendis? quaestiones spinosas acute
dividit, lucide exponit, descriptionibus et imaginibus inlustrat, cum idem
monuerit istius generis tabulis subdolum aliquid inesse, quod rebus ipsis
falsam quandam simplicitatis speciem imposuisse videantur. tempus me deficiat
si coner exponere quantum hic consecutus sit in explicanda ingenti illa rerum
conversione qua a ligni usu ad metalla, a manuum opera ad machinas
officinasque progressi sumus. hoc tantum dico: si quis tetricae oeconomicorum
scientiae expers est, mecum delectabitur cum apud hunc scriptum invenerit,
viros oeconomos primarios scilicet toto caelo erravisse in eis quae
praedixissent.

Praesento virum de humani generis scientia optime meritum, annalium
scriptorem praeclarissimum, societatis explicatorem ingeniosissimum, Antonium
Wrigley, Equitem Auratum, Academiae Britannicae Praesidem, Collegi de Harris
Manchester Visitatorem, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum
Doctoris in Litteris.

Admission by the Chancellor

Temporis praeteriti inlustrator doctissime, cuius egregiis laboribus et nos ipsos
et maiores nostros planius et melius intellegimus, ego auctoritate mea et totius
Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Doctoris in Litteris honoris causa.

Paraphrase

What is the proper study of mankind? According to the poet Pope, it is man.
More recently, the poet T.S. Eliot gave the idea a more sinister turn, asserting
that human life consisted of nothing but `birth, copulation, and death'. That
apparently crushing epigram was itself largely robbed of its venom by Sir
Tony Wrigley. His statistical work on the records of births, marriages, and
deaths, which are preserved in the records of ten thousand parishes, has
made possible the accumulation and communication of insights of the highest
importance. There were some who derided that kind of historical research as
dry and its material as lifeless; he has given such critics a convincing
answer, reminding us of the episode in Ezekiel, when the LORD, having asked
`Son of man, can these bones live?' goes on, `You dry bones, behold, I shall
cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live'. From those dry monuments
he has succeeded in extracting many things. As a result of his work we know
at what a
ge women got married, a statistic which varies astonishingly from one age to
another, and which is of enormous importance for the character of a society,
and also in determining the size of its population. He has also investigated the
number of children and the intervals at which they were born, and the
varying patterns of limitation of the potential fertility of women. He could
indeed claim with the Roman poet Martial, `My page smacks of man'. In his own
words, `The fascination of work on population history stems from its central
position in the fabric of social and economic life in the past'. He analyses
complicated questions with acuteness and expounds them with lucidity,
illustrating his argument with diagrams and charts, while remaining well aware
of their capacity to mislead: `Highly stylised models create problems . . . They
introduce a quite unreal simplicity'. My allotted time would fail me if I tried
to explain all his contributions to the history of the Industrial Revoluti
on, that great change from the use of wood to that of metal, and from reliance
on our hands to the use of machinery. One thing I must say: anyone who is
ignorant of the gloomy science will share my pleasure when Sir Tony says in
print, `The classical economists were, of course, entirely mistaken in
their
expectations'.

I present a man who has made a signal contribution to our
understanding
of the human race, a very distinguished historian, most resourceful in his
account
of society, Sir Tony Wrigley, President of the British Academy, Visitor of
Harris Manchester College, for admission to the honorary degree of Doctor of
Letters.

Admission by the Chancellor

You are outstandingly learned in your knowledge of the past and eloquent in
explaining it. Your distinguished work has enabled us to understand better
both our ancestors and ourselves. Acting on my own authority and that of the
whole University, I admit you to the honorary
degree of Doctor of Letters.

Return to list of contents


Degree of Doctor of Science


Sir John Walker, FRS

Director of the Medical Research Council Dunn Nutrition Unit, Cambridge

Tritissimum est adagium, Unum quemque nostrum id esse quod comedat; sed
cum pueri dicaciores Es quod es decantent, tum si quis nugas miserit, serio
quaesiverit qua tandem ratione id quod manducatur in membrorum vim inque
corporis impetum abire soleat, is in ipsius vitae arcana progredi conatus adeo
difficultatibus vel maximis impedietur ut necesse sit saepe caput scabat, saepe
stilum vertat: cui quaestionum generi hic iamdudum incubuit, plurimum
contulit, magna ex parte solutionem atque
enodationem excogitavit. inter nos diu versabatur plurimarum artium
adulescens, qui pila peritissime, folliculo felicissime luserit, aequalium camerae
communi praesederit, in saltando autem Saliorum magister rite appellatus
morem vetustiorem revocarit, iuniores docuerit, per oppida vicina tam luculento
successu instituerit ut hodie quoque rustici numerum ictumque servent. nec
minus in arte scaenica antiquissima profecit, qui quotannis ludiorum magister
apud Wheatlienses gregem suum produxerit. quem cum audieritis tot negotiis
operam dedisse, paene incredibile fortasse videbitur eundem chemiae
deditissimum fuisse, ceteris studiosis excelluisse, mox inter Eduardi Abraham,
viri honoratissimi, discipulos acceptum esse. ad difficilioris notae quaestiones
provectus ea prima animantium elementa quae propter praestantiam
pq<Phi> s' eµmai dicuntur aggressus est, quorum et compages et effectus
non nisi difficillime intellegitur. in ipsius corporis humani cellulis structurae
quaedam reperiuntur quae
ita filorum grana percurrentium speciem praebent ut a viris doctis, linguae
Graecae scilicet peritissimis, iure mitochondria vocentur. haec corpuscula aliquo
modo primas in cibo concoquendo partes agere manifestum est; ratio latet, de
singulis homines biochemici certant, et adhuc sub iudice lis est; hic quem
produco et plurimum iam profecit et cum discipulis suis, nam scholae
illustrissimae nuper factus est Praeses, si quid adhuc obscurum est mox
enodabit. sed vel notabiliora sunt quae detexit hic et adhuc detegit in
synthasi, sic enim ei appellant qui extra omnes et scientiae et linguae Latinae
cancellos egrediantur, qua demum in-
tellecta fas erit discere quo modo cibus in motus et
agitationem corporis evadat.

Praesento corporis humani exploratorem sollertissimum, explicatorem
eloquentissimum, Iohannem Walker, Equitem Auratum, Societatis Regiae Sodalem,
Praemio Nobeliano nobilitatum, Collegi Beatae Cath-
erinae Socium honoris causa adlectum, ut admittatur
honoris causa ad gradum Doctoris in Scientia.

Admission by the Chancellor

Arcanorum scrutator oculatissime, ipsius vitae indagator acerrime, qui res
obscurissimas clarissimo lumine inlustrasti, ego auctoritate mea et totius
Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Doctoris in Scientia honoris
causa.

Paraphrase

That we are what we eat is a hackneyed saying, sometimes uttered as little
more than an off-hand expression of cynicism; but serious scientific enquiry
into the way in which foodstuffs really are transformed into energy is one
which takes the enquirer to some of the innermost secrets of life itself, and
which involves questions of the greatest difficulty and complexity. Sir John
Walker has worked in this area throughout his career, and he has made a
most important contribution to solving the central problems. He was an
undergraduate in Oxford, and showed himself to be a man of many parts: he
played for his college at
most ball games, and he was President of the Junior Common Room. He was a
leading figure, too, in the Morris Dance, initiating his juniors into its
mysteries; at his departure he left an enduring monument in the form of
flourishing Morris groups in some of the Oxfordshire
villages. He also led the mummers' play at Wheatley for six years. He seems in
fact to have been so busy that it comes almost as a surprise that he was also
working hard at chemistry, to such good effect that he was accepted as a
student by that great man, the late Sir Edward Abraham. He began work on
the difficult questions connected with proteins, the vital elements of living
things, which both in their structure and in their activity present great
complexity. There are in the cells of the human body certain structures which
have a similarity to granules with threads in them, and which are
appropriately called by scientists, to show their familiarity with classical
Greek, mitochondria. It is clear that in some way they play a central role in
assimilation of food, but the actual process is not at all easy to understand,
and some aspects are still the subject of disagreement among biochemists. Sir
John has made great strides in unravelling these mysteries, and at the head
of the impor
tant research team of which he has recently become Director he is at work on
further discoveries. Yet still more important are those he has made and
continues to make on what the scientists, pushing back the bounds alike of
our knowledge and of the Latin language, call synthasis: the process which,
when fully understood, will enable us to understand the process by which
nutrition is transformed into energy.

I present Sir John Walker, FRS, Nobel Prizeman, Honorary Fellow of
St
Catherine's College, a profound enquirer into the structure of the body and
a gifted expounder of his findings, for admission to the honorary degree of
Doctor of Science.

Admission by the Chancellor

You are a perceptive investigator of natural secrets and an energetic
researcher into life itself; your work has shed a flood of light on many dark
matters. Acting on my own
authority and on that of the whole University, I admit you to the honorary
degree of Doctor of Science.

Return to list of contents



Professor Andrew Wiles, FRS

Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics,
Princeton University

Neminem, credo, in hac hominum litteratissimorum frequentia reppereris quin
mecum hanc formulam conceptis verbis concinere possit: Nullam in infinitum
ultra quadratum potestatem in duas eiusdem nominis fas esse dividere. Haud
ita pridem res aliter se habebat, nos plerique Ciceroni ipsi adsensi eos
dixissemus qui mathematici vocentur non solum recondita in arte et multiplici
subtilique sed etiam in magna rerum obscuritate versari; sed hodie et
Pythagorae arcana vulgi aures titillant, et homines devia illa mathematicorum
latibula visitant ita indocti ut nihilominus curiositate ducantur. itaque quisquis
famam sibi adpetit huius quem produco vitam contemplatus ne eruditum
geometrarum pulverem aspernetur. hic enim cum diu in intimis rei algebraicae
medullis habitarit, tam primum nobiscum quam postea apud Cantabrigienses et
postremo apud Princetonienses, tam insignem denique consecutus est gloriam
ut etiam ab insciis neque isti studiorum generi adscriptis agnoscatur. qui
usque a primis aeta
tis suae annis austera numerorum scientia delectatus notissimum illud Petri
Fermati theorema, a tot tamque nobilibus mathematicis CCC ferme annos frustra
temptatum, sibi proposuit probandum; quod quidem firmata iam aetate post alia
egregia facinora rationibus exquisitissimis summoque acuminis firmamento usus
tandem firmissime elaboravit. longum sit si spinosissimas istius incepti
difficultates, ingeniosissima huius artificia, singillatim percensere coner,
praesertim cum L tantum homines esse dicantur qui quantum hic perfecerit
animo recte aestimare possint, quorum in numero me non esse confiteor atque
concedo. erant homines quibus hic nimis audax videbatur, qui tantae
claritudinis problema solus aggrederetur; erat tempus quo ipse
paene desperarat, cum theorema illud, devictum iam, ut videbatur, atque
superatum, tamen tamquam Hydra illa Lernaea insperatas difficultates subito
protulit atque
produxit. sed res bene vortit: vicit tandem vivida vis animi, invenit Sphinx
Oedipodem suum, cui ita plauserunt universi mathematici ut dolerent quidam
sibi ademptas esse haud ingratas frustra ratiocinandi molestias, solutum
denique esse venerabile istud aenigma.

Praesento temporum nostrorum Archimeden, numerorum magistrum singularem,
theorematis ultimi enodatorem incomparabilem, Andream Wiles, Societatis Regiae
Sodalem, Collegi Mertonensis Socium honoris causa ad
scitum, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Doctoris in Scientia.

Admission by the Chancellor

Mathematicorum princeps ingeniosissime, qui
quaestionem perdifficilem deficientibus ceteris vi
cogitationis devicisti, ego auctoritate mea et totius
Universitatis admitto te ad gradum Doctoris in Scientia honoris
causa.

Paraphrase

I do not imagine that there is anybody in this learned
company who could not recite in unison with me the
formula: There is no whole-number solution to the
equation xn + yn = zn, where n is greater
than 2. That is a very new state of things. Until recently most of us would
have agreed with Cicero, who said that mathematicians concern themselves with
a subject matter which is not only various and rarified but also obscure; but
now
discoveries in mathematics appeal to the ears of the
unlearned, and quite ordinary people feel an interest, even if not a well
informed one, in its most abstruse areas. Anyone who is interested in
becoming famous should consider the career of Professor Andrew Wiles and
think twice about passing up a mathematical career. After spending many
years at work on number theory, first here, then in Cambridge, and most
recently in Princeton, he has attained such celebrity that he has become
recognisable to laymen and to those with no professional interest in the
subject. At a very early age he was attracted by algebraic number theory and
decided that he would try to produce a proof of the last theorem of Pierre
Fermat, that classic problem which over the last three hundred years had
been attempted without success by so many
eminent mathematicians. In his maturity he crowned his many other
achievements by producing a definitive proof, by means of procedures of
extraordinary subtlety and
intellectual range. It would take far too long if I were
to try to explain his achievement in detail, with its perplexing difficulties and
Professor Wiles's most ingenious
solutions; especially as there are said to be only fifty
people in the world who fully understand it, and I freely confess that I am
not one of them. There was a time when people were inclined to criticise him
for over-confidence, in taking on such a problem single-handed; there was a
time when he came close to despair, as the theorem, which had appeared to
be defeated, suddenly put forth new and unexpected difficulties. But all was
well: his
intellectual power prevailed, like an Oedipus he solved the riddle of the
Sphinx. His achievement has been greeted with universal applause by the
mathematical community, although some of them view with regret the
disappearance of a venerable puzzle, and the loss of the mingled pleasure and
pain of inconclusive mathematical endeavour.

I present the Archimedes of our time, the outstanding master of numbers, the
incomparable unriddler of the Last Theorem, Professor Andrew Wiles, FRS,
Honorary
Fellow of Merton College, for admission to the honorary degree of Doctor of
Science.

Admission by the Chancellor

You are a prince among mathematicians: by your intellectual power you have
solved a most intractable problem where others have failed. Acting on my own
authority and that of the whole University, I admit you to the honorary
degree of Doctor of Science.

Return to list of contents


Degree of Doctor of Music


Sir Simon Rattle, CBE

Conductor

Honorandorum agmen claudit vir cum in hoc theatro tum in plurimis aliis
acceptissimus, qui argutos tubarum clangores, canoros organi hydraulici novi
sonos, ad iudicium severum aurium scilicet perpurgatarum vocabit.
adulescens admodum gloriam adeptus est repentinam, barbam enim vix
deposuerat vir qui capillos numquam deposuit, immo crepitaculo ludere vix
desierat, cum in nobili hominum musicorum certamine seniores devicit, palmam
meruit, famae fundamenta iecit praeclarae quae continuo et crevit et crescit.
multa sunt quae in eo inesse debent qui homines symphoniacos velit
gubernare, quae cum omnia percensere non possim hoc saltem adfirmo:
ad summos honores non accedet nisi duas res inter se plerumque repugnantes
coniunxerit, gratiam, dico, et imperium, qui universum istum fidium fistularum
tubarum tympanorum sistrorum sambucarum cornuum cymbalorum
crepitaculorum concentum imperio regat unus aequo. his accedit in hoc quem
produco quod populi sensum ita aestimare callet ut multitudinem imperitam
atque homines a Musis remotissimos ad summa artis musicae opera auscultanda
invitet, invitatos detineat atque devinciat. vehementer enim veteri proverbio
Graeco adsentitur, musicae occultae nullum esse respectum. vix credibile est
hodie fuisse quoddam tempus nec multos abhinc annos cum inficetas hominum
Cornoviorum mentes nihil exquisitius, nihil subtilius delectare credebatur quam
scurrae nesciocuius tritissima dicacitas; quos nunc symphoniacorum gregem
alere nulli in toto orbe secundum, tanta frequentia in Odeon concurrere ut
locus in subselliis nullus relinquatur, hodiernorum musicorum operibus atque
illis etiam quae difficiliora
esse creduntur adlici teneri delectari, huius opera consilio labore maximo
effectum est. ita enim hic rem gerit ut et peritissimum quemque summo gaudio
adficiat et idem tirones trahat excitet devinctos habeat. ne amplissimo quidem
atrio contineri potest huius immensa vis, qui ne hoc quidem contentus, quod
plures simul symphoniacos direxit quam ante eum quisquam, ita acroases de
huius saeculi musicis conscriptas habuit ut universos simul cives, totius mundi
populum adloqui videretur.

Praesento Orphea alterum, civium suorum educatorem mellitissimum, Simonem
Rattle, Equitem Auratum, Excellentissimi Ordinis Imperi Britannici
Commendatorem, Collegi Beatae Annae Socium honoris causa adlectum,
ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Doctoris in Musica.

Admission by the Chancellor

Musicae antistes praeclarissime, qui aures nostras delectas, mentes instruis,
iudicium formas atque emendas, ego auctoritate mea et totius Universitatis
admitto te ad gradum Doctoris in Musica honoris causa.

Paraphrase

Last in our procession of honorands comes a man who is as welcome in many
theatres all over the world as he is in the Sheldonian. He will have assessed
the sonority of our new organ, and the silver snarl of the trumpets, with an
exquisitely attuned ear. Sir Simon achieved fame while still very young. He
had hardly begun to cut his beard—he has never cut his hair—in fact
he had barely (we might say) given up his rattle, when he defeated his older
competitors and won an important conducting competition. That laid the
foundations of a reputation which has grown ever since. A great conductor
needs to combine more qualities than I can list here. But what can be briefly
said is that to achieve the highest success he must combine two things which
do not easily or commonly go together. To conduct a modern orchestra, with
its sighing woodwinds, its sounding brass, its melting strings, and the rattle
of its percussion, to be (in the phrase of the poet Horace) its one all just
commander: that needs on the one hand charm, and on the other absolute
control. In addition Sir Simon possesses the ability to judge popular taste. He
has been able to bring even musically unsophisticated people to enjoy and
appreciate the master-pieces of classical music. He would endorse the Greek
saying that there is no value in music that remains hidden. It is hard now to
remember that not so long ago it was widely believed that Birmingham
audiences relished nothing more cultural than a stand-up comedian. Nowadays
the city can boast a symphony orchestra second to none in the world, flocking
to its concerts in crowds, and finding the sort of modern compositions which
are regarded as difficult both attractive and enjoyable. That is Sir Simon's
achievement, the result of his careful planning and hard work. He has
succeeded in attracting and retaining the novice listener, while at the same
time delighting the connoisseur. No venue, not even one as roomy as the
Sheldonian, can contain his energies: not
satisfied with conducting the largest orchestra in history, he has given a set
of televised lectures on the music of this century in which his audience was
the whole world.

I present a second Orpheus, a man who combines instruction with delight, Sir
Simon Rattle, CBE, Honorary Fellow of St. Anne's College, for admission to the
honorary degree of Doctor of Music.

Admission by the Chancellor

You are an outstanding servant of music; you give pleasure to our ears, you
instruct our minds, and you form and educate our taste. Acting on my own
authority and that of the whole University, I admit you to the honorary
degree of Doctor of Music.

Return to list of contents



2 Encaenia

THE PUBLIC ORATOR delivered the following introduction to the Creweian
Oration:

The Orator, beginning the Creweian Oration, reflects uneasily that, for an
audience sitting in this gorgeous yet austere theatre, it will contain two good
moments. The first is now, when they see that at least this bit will be in
English. The second comes near the end, when the audience sense that they
will soon be released from those historic seats, designed by craftsmen in the
baroque period, to ensure that no human leg, whether long or short, and no
human bottom, whether large or small, should sit on them with comfort. He
comforts himself that at least his audience will not be asleep.

Another academic year slinks exhausted away; another set of events calls for
oratorical record, that wax rhetorical. And again the Orator is checked by a
sobering reflection. His news is already known to most of his audience. The
vagaries of the Funding Councils, the comings and goings of Heads of House:
all this is already familiar. Rarely does the Creweian contain a bombshell. Yet
still the Oration comes purring up at the tail of the proceedings, like a
Daimler at the back of a funeral cortège, to lend to the whole business,
with its silent tyres, glossy paintwork, and hint of effortless power held in
reserve, a touch of lugubrious distinction.

Above all, it commemorates our benefactors; and we do not all know about the
benefactions received this year. To record them is our ancient custom and also
a present pleasure, even in a year in which our research income from all
sources has been no less than £114,000,000. That sounds like a lot, and
it is a great achievement, of which all of us can be proud, and on which some
of us especially are to be congratulated. But it is gravely disappointing that
next year's grant from HEFCE will be increased by only 2.8 per cent. The
Secretary to the Chest has commented that it `remains inadequate ... A
long-term solution to the financial pressures facing us seems as elusive as
ever'.

Our need of our benefactors was never greater. Their gifts are precious to
us and vital to the success of the University. For example, we have now been
able to establish a fund of £4,500,000 for graduate scholarships: a vital
resource, if we are to be able to attract and retain the best graduate
students. It was a pleasure that the meeting of the Chancellor's Court of
Benefactors was well attended again this year, and that four new members
were admitted. It was a smaller, more subversive pleasure, on that occasion,
when the photographer, preparing to take the group picture, took advantage
of his absolute power by telling both the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor
peremptorily to tuck in their too conspicuous feet.

Special mention this year must go to the Said Business School. In ancient
days, while technology and the arts were still friends, we read that the hero
Amphion built the walls of Thebes by playing the lyre so sweetly that his
music made the stones form themselves into the walls of the city. So, too,
when Troy was built, says Milton, under music's influence `Ilion, like a mist,
rose into towers'. Nowadays construction work is not quite like that; but on
its site near the Station the Business School's new building is struggling into
existence. It has received a very generous gift from Dr Michael Peagram. The
Centre has also received a splendid benefaction from Lord Sainsbury of
Preston Candover, for the School's library, to be named after the donor. The
words `It's on the shelf at Sainsbury's' will take on a new meaning.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has made a magnificent donation to Kellogg
College for lifelong learning. The Rothermere American Institute records a
splendid gift from the Daily Mail and General Holdings, Ltd., and a handsome
donation, for its Harmsworth Lecturership in American Arts and Letters, from
the Esmond Harmsworth 1997 Charitable Foundation. The Ashmolean has been
enabled by a munificent gift from Dr May Hamilton Beattie to endow a
fellowship in carpet studies. The Drue Heinz Trust has given very generously
to the new graduate centre at Hertford College and the Vice-Chancellor's
Fund. The HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust Martin Wills Fund has made a very
generous donation towards the establishment of a Chair in Old Age Psychiatry;
while the Andrew Mellon Foundation has contributed handsomely to the Digital
Collections Scoping Study at Oxford and to the Refugee Studies Programme,
and the Norman Collisson Foundation has made a generous donation to the
Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA).

Notable gifts have also been received from the Jesse and Thomas Tam
Charitable Foundation, towards the initial phase of the Chinese Centre for
teaching Chinese as a foreign language; from Mr Douglas Johnson, to establish
the Sir Edward Evans-Pritchard Lecture Fund; and from Mr John W. Adams,
for a research fellowship in political economy at the Centre for Socio-Legal
Studies. We place on record our gratitude to these our benefactors, and to all
the others whose names are listed in the programme of this ceremony. Thank
you all!

A few particular items can be singled out. The Ashmolean is grateful to the
Heritage Lottery Fund for help in acquiring the drawing by Ingres of Charles
Cockerell, the architect of the Museum; and to the National Art Collections
Fund for the acquisition of a number of works of art, notably the charming
terracotta sculpture by Rysbrack of Edward Salter, of Christ Church, at the
age of six. The Pitt Rivers reports a generous gift from Mrs Turvey for the
Native American Collection. The Museum of the History
of Science has grants to report from the PRISM Fund, for the purchase of an
eighteenth-century theodolite and
of a stereoscopic camera and viewer, from about 1900;
all French; not too French, one hopes.

Every year the Orator turns for some flavoursome tit-bit to the Bate
Collection of old instruments, and seldom in vain. This year they report the
gift of a collection of medieval and Renaissance reproduction instruments from
the Oxfordshire Museums Service, for use by students and visitors. The
collection includes: a crumhorn, a gemshorn, a cornetto—just one
cornetto—a dulzaine, a psaltery, a rauschpfeife, a rebec, and—quite
separate from all these, and not to be confused with them—a racket. A
racket, it must be said, which can hardly rival that created with his record
breaking orchestra by Sir Simon Rattle.

Also new, also musical, and also capable of a racket, is that striking instance
of organ transplant, the electronic digital instrument which has delighted us
today. It was inaugurated at a splendid concert, given by Mr Simon Preston
and the University Orchestra on 29 May: in a gesture of impeccable good
taste, the Orator's birthday. It possesses three specifications—English
cathedral, English eighteenth century, French Romantic; and that is only so
far: at least one, perhaps two, are still to be added, of a German kind. The
Yves Guihannec Foundation and Mr Robert Venables, QC, receive our
thanks.

The struggle over the electronic organ was long and raged—still
rages—with a passion bemusing to the outsider. I remarked innocently to
a member of the Music Faculty that `People say you can't tell the difference
between an electronic and a pipe organ'. `Yes', he snapped, `I dare say, if you
have cloth ears, you can't'. With less innocence, but no less truth, I said,
`George Malcolm says he can't tell the difference'. `Well', replied the man of
melody, `that's true, of course, you can't tell the difference. But that's not the
point. An electronic organ isn't sincere!' Now how, one muses, are we
to detect insincerity in a machine, or (for that matter) sincerity? Do we take
a hint from Wittgenstein and watch it carefully, as it plays Bach, to see if it
is
simultaneously winking at members of the opposite sex (or at alternative
specifications), or humming a Beatles hit, perhaps, somewhere in the vox
humana? Would it prefer to be a theatre organ and play Tea for Two
and I do like to be beside the Seaside? The problem is metaphysical, or
worse, and some doubters are still slow to be converted; but most listeners,
I think, felt keen pleasure.

I am leaving the Bodleian Library this year to the Professor of Poetry. And
here I must say a word about our
departing Professor, James Fenton. This is not the place to praise his poetry,
with its wide range, from the very
moving to the very witty; but I must say a word about his contribution to the
University while in the Chair. He has been accessible to the young, and to
large and enthusiastic audiences he has given lectures of great distinction,
which read equally well on the printed page. We thank him warmly, as he goes
off into the evening of his days: so young, and already an Emeritus Professor;
like Heads of House, they get younger every year.

We no longer list new professors, now that distinction is so rife among us
and so lavishly recognised, but mention must be made of his successor, Mr
Paul Muldoon, originally from Belfast, who was elected unopposed. What a
relief, in a year in which the publishing of poetry unleashed storms of
controversial vitriol, and the nomination of the Poet Laureate was greeted with
some startlingly ill-natured comments. He must surely be a very nice man.

Among interesting events, pride of place this year goes to the visit of HM
The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh to University College in May, to
mark its 750th anniversary. The occasion had at least two notable features.
One was the simultaneous presence of the Visitor of the college, in the person
of the monarch, and, in the person of the Duke, of the Chancellor of that
other University, the one over there, in the flat lands, where the coypu roam
among the sugar beet.

The other, a puzzle for the chronologically minded, is that at the end of the
twentieth century the college is 250 years younger than it was in the
nineteenth, when in the fine flush of Victorian medievalism it celebrated its
thousandth birthday, not without fulsome invocations of King Alfred; cakes, no
doubt, with a thousand candles, were baked and burned in the college
kitchens. Perhaps relativity is in some way at the root of this numerical
paradox; Professor Wiles, I expect, could explain it. To redress an historical
balance, Harris Manchester College this year celebrated Oliver Cromwell,
himself a Chancellor of the University; and you, Sir, spoke eloquently about
his Calvinism, or muscular Christianity—which sounds pretty Victorian,
too.

Lectures were given by some other grand people. The Prime Minister spoke
about Lord Beveridge and the welfare state. The Head of MI6 spoke of the
over-riding need for Secret Services to be open. For her own part, she
added, she had found it necessary, because of obsessive media interest, to go
back underground. Professor Amartya Sen, Master of Trinity College,
Cambridge, gave the Romanes Lecture, on the importance of universally valid
standards of justice. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, lectured on the
future of the common law. And Dame Diana Rigg, as Cameron Mackintosh
Visiting Professor, lectured on the Theatre and that necessary evil, the
critics; though surely in her case even the sternest critics must do as the
holy priests did with Cleopatra, and bless her when she is Riggish. And now
we are to have also a Visiting Chair in Opera Studies, to be named after Mrs
Robin Hambro, who has endowed it. We look forward to instruction combined
with delight.

It was a matter of general sadness that his late Majesty King Hussein of
Jordan was not able to come for the honorary degree which was to be
conferred on him. President Vàclav Havel, of the Czech Republic, did
come, to receive the honorary degree which we had voted him, but which he
was too ill to receive, last year. His sprightly appearance was a striking
tribute to the benefits of a shrewd remarriage. He gave an eloquent speech
on the role of the
intellectual in politics. Descending one step, but still
remaining at a Presidential level—this speech broadens down, like the
common law, from President to Presidents—in November the Boss Men of
Harvard and of Yale, both Oxford graduates, came and were similarly
honoured. Ya ya boom!

This year there has been the great debate on the governance of the
University. Or rather: there has been a great debate-shaped void, where it
did not take place. In Michaelmas Term the amended proposals were placed
before us. To expound them fully would need (in the phrase of Max Beerbohm)
a far less brilliant pen than mine. Both Hebdomadal Council and the General
Board will recede into history, replaced by one super body (the Charles Atlas
Committee?). The rest of us, whose bodies are less super, will be divided into
five academic divisions, each with a full-time head. Academic services such as
libraries and museums are to be put under a new Pro-Vice-Chancellor,
presiding over `a new tier of over-arching committees': a visual image whose
sombre impressiveness suggests the Prisons of Piranesi, or the opium dreams
of De Quincey. And, finally, future Vice-Chancellors are to be appointed for
seven years. Seven thin years, or seven fat years? It would be a very
sanguine Joseph, I fear, who would predict the latter.

I hope our new model Vice-Chancellors will not lose something which at
present strikingly separates them, along with the Vice-Chancellors of
Cambridge, from the executive heads of so many British universities. We have
usually felt confident that our Vice-Chancellor was on our side, one of us, one
of the good guys. That is a great privilege. It is not, alas, what one usually
senses in other Universities, if the conversation turns to their Vice-
Chancellors; and it certainly is not what most of us feel about the record,
over the last fifteen years, of the CVCP. I take my hat off to our Vice-
Chancellor; to the CVCP, two hats on! May we not lose, in the drive for a
modern notion of efficiency, something important to the soul of our
institution.

On the whole, the University seems to agree with the proposals. Hearty or
principled dissent was barely expressed; whether or not it is felt. One
observed a reluctance to talk about the business at all. Some detect here the
general discouragement that stalks an academic
profession which feels under-funded, under-paid, over-scrutinised, and
over-directed. What use to object to changes, or to discuss them, when in any
case changes will be forced upon us? Others think that what prevailed was
a sense of relief: things might have been much worse. But surely we can and
should rephrase what has just been said so grumpily in a less ungenerous
tone. We must feel grateful to the wisdom and humanity of the Vice-Chancellor
and his working party, building on the foundations well laid by the North
Commission, for achieving a result which has been so little divisive, where we
might easily have had bitter dissension.

A gratifyingly large number of public honours have come this year to
members of the University. In the New Year Honours list there were
knighthoods for Professor John Krebs, Royal Society Professor, for services
to behavioural ecology; for Professor Michael Dummett, Emeritus Professor of
Logic, for services to philosophy and to racial justice; and for Mr Victor
Blank, of the Chancellor's Court of Benefactors, a leading volunteer with the
Campaign for Oxford. In the Birthday Honours there were knighthoods for
Professor Keith O'Nions, Professor of the Physics and Chemistry of Metals;
Professor Richard Peto, Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology; and
Professor Bernard Williams, Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy. Professor
Geoffrey Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Turkish, has received a CMG; and CBEs
have been conferred upon Mrs Iona Opie, of the famous Opie Collection, now
in the Bodleian, on Professor John Bayley, Emeritus Professor of English
Literature, and on Professo
r Averil Cameron, Warden of Keble. Mr James Durcan, Principal of Ruskin, has
received the OBE, as has Mr Tom Hassall, Emeritus Fellow of Green College;
and Mr Robert Morris, Head Scout of University College, has received the MBE.
Hearty congratulations to all of them; may they not find, as one newly minted
knight ruefully confided, that everything now cost him more.

Every year we watch to see whether the University will score more elections
to the Royal Society or to the British Academy. Last year the arts had the
edge; this year was a good year for the scientists. There were nine elections
from our number to the Royal Society: Professor Frances Ashcroft, Professor
Lorna Casselton, Professor John Clegg, Professor David Cockayne, Dr Philip
England, Dr John Ockendon, Professor John Pethica, Professor Joseph Silk,
and Sir Peter Williams. The British Academy, for its part, elected seven of us:
Dr Paul Brand, Professor Paul Craig, Dr Paul Harris, Professor Alan Knight,
Dr David Marquand, Professor Robert Parker, and Professor John Vickers;
while Mrs Iona Opie, whom we think of as virtually one of us, was elected to
a Senior Fellowship.

Turning to Heads of House, we find some changes to report. There is to be
a new Provost of Queen's: Sir Alan Budd, formerly Chief Economic Adviser to
the Treasury and Head of the Government Economic Service, succeeds Dr
Geoffrey Marshall, one of the few Heads who can claim to have trained and
played with Sir Stanley Matthews. The new Principal of St Edmund Hall is
Professor Michael Mingos, Professor of Chemistry at Imperial College, London,
and before that for sixteen years Fellow of Keble. Lord Plant is to leave his
position as Master of St Catherine's and return to expounding Hegel,
combining the tranquillity of a research chair at Southampton University with
the serenity of the House of Lords. There is to be a new Warden of Rhodes
House: Dr John Rowett, Fellow of Brasenose and historian of the twentieth
century, succeeds Sir Anthony Kenny. Sir Anthony, who was Master of Balliol
before moving on to browse the lusher pastures of South Parks Road, is also
a prolific philosopher and n
o less active as a man of affairs; he earns our warm thanks by taking on the
leadership of the Campaign for Oxford.

Let us turn to the junior members, who loom so large in our working lives,
but who have been squeezed out of this ceremony. Last year I listed some of
the more picturesquely titled University Prizes on offer. This year, let us
glance at some of their other doings. I shall not linger
on the demonstrations which tried to heckle the Vice-Chancellor, because
Parliament had voted to impose tuition fees; and which did so bearing banners
inscribed with indecent language—skilfully calculated, when the demo was
shown that evening on television, to win the support of the voters.

Rather, let me mention a cross-Channel swim by a
relay of six swimmers, a race against Cambridge, in support of the University
swimming pool, that lustrous mirage which has so long glittered before our
eyes as we straggle through the desert of land-bound existence. Those who
are once bitten by the desire for it go through life forever yearning and
dissatisfied, like men who have been kissed in their dreams by goddesses; and
I have predicted that Orators will be pining for it, long after my voice is
silent. But now the Fund has raised more than a million pounds, including
£100,000 from Mr Michael McCafferty, sometime Rhodes Scholar and Captain
of the University Swimming Team; and the Rhodes Trust has offered £1.2
million as a challenge gift. Our congratulations to Lady Kenny, Chairman of the
Committee. Only £1.35 million remains to be raised. The cross-Channel
race, one records with deep satisfaction, was a dead heat, in nine hours and
twenty-five minutes. Almost as exhausting was the exploit of a Merton four,
who in support of their
College Boat Club rowed the whole of the navigable non-tidal length of the
Thames. The Boat Race, I observe, has attracted badly needed support of
£2,500,000, over six years, from Aberdeen Asset Management.

A hundred years of University Rugby at Iffley Road were celebrated by a
memorable match against former players. The Varsity Match was narrowly lost
at Twickenham; but it has been a triumphant year for the women's Rugger
team, and a good one (when the weather permitted) for the men's Cricket
Eleven. A junior member won the UK hill-climb cycle championship; recalling,
by contrast, the remark of Sir Maurice Bowra about Beaumont Street: `A stiff
climb...' The new high-tech hockey pitch came into use, a top class one, on
which the grandest teams are queuing up to play. There has been an
extensive review of
Oxford sport, which has made no less than seventy-five recommendations: we
are to become a national centre of cricketing excellence. Let nobody whisper
subversively about the home of lost causes.

Nor are we a mere Sparta, athletic but alien to the Muses. Music is
everywhere, and we are constantly delighted by the Bach Choir, Schola
Cantorum, and the Oxford Chamber Choir; by the University Orchestra; by the
musical life of the college chapels and the many college societies, choirs,
instrumental groups. The Oxford University Jazz Orchestra this year won the
BBC's Big Band Award. The theatre is no less lively. I pick a few titles, almost
at random, to give a faint idea of the richness on offer. We could have seen
an Othello; and `Tis Pity She's a Whore; and Hamlet, set in
the corporate world of the eighties. Comus was performed in Mansfield
chapel, and Iphigenia in Aulis in the Playhouse, in Greek. Those whose
preference is gloomy could go to Becket's Endgame, while the Gilbert
and Sullivan Society put on Iolanthe and The Gondoliers. Here we
were acting The Winslow Boy, and there Kafka's In the Penal
Colony
; here Jesus Christ Superstar, and there a dramatisation of
Mein Kampf;
here Twelve Angry Men, and there An Evening with Rudyard
Kipling
(also, when you come to think of it, rather an angry man).

So much for the young. Next year we may glance at the strange world of
their clubs and societies. Now for a few
of the myriad exotic and interesting activities of their
seniors. A team of Oxford scientists is at work making artificial diamonds; to
coat machine tool cutting bits, or so they say. It has been an outstanding
year for scientific games with birds. The Computing Laboratory has created
a robot, which resembles a hat-box on wheels, and which can herd ducks.
Surely we have a satirical picture of the Teaching Quality Assessment. A team
of scientists is at work reconstructing the appearance of the dodo: a much
maligned bird, it was related to the pigeon and really quite slim. Another team
flew on paragliders to accompany vultures on the wing. The vultures proved
friendly and followed the lecturers—regular culture vultures. Yet another
lot are applying laser techniques to the teeth of elephants to find out about
the water they have drunk in their lifetime. Elephants' memories, it appears,
while notoriously good, are not so good that scientists can rely with
confidence on their unsupported testimony.

Meanwhile, Dr Stephen Stokes has found the oldest skeleton of a modern
human in Africa; Professor Martin Biddle has discovered and studied the tomb
of Christ in Jerusalem; and a conference in Oxford aimed to recreate the
aftermath of the big bang and so simulate the creation of the universe. Truly
alarming possibilities open up. Perhaps next time they may actually succeed,
and a second universe may come into existence. Then what? As Bertie Wooster
so sagely observed of the prospect, then in the
future, of splitting the atom: It may be all right, or it may not be all right;
and if it isn't, pretty fools we shall look, when the house is blown sky-high,
and we are torn limb from limb.

I return to our benefactors, this time involuntary ones: that rapidly growing
class, the temporary workers and researchers, on short contracts. We used to
pride ourselves that the work here was done by those properly paid to do it,
and there was no large exploited class. External pressures have forced us to
change all that. More and more we depend on people who have no security,
who are liable to casual exploitation, to the imposition of extra burdens at
short notice, to sudden changes in their teaching loads. Their lot is much
harder than ours when we were starting our careers.

Even in Oxford we see positions advertised, not for a year, but for nine
months. That is to say, at the end of nine months of full-time teaching, the
unfortunate holder must look for other support in the long vacation, when he
or she might have hoped to write and publish some research, and so have a
chance of getting an academic job. The system which demands constant
publication neatly prevents these people from producing it. We are exploiting
some of our young, in ways which even a short time ago were unthinkable.

The pressure from the centre is unrelenting for economies, for leaving posts
unfilled, for substituting short term contracts for proper appointments. So it
might be surprising that for some things there is always money: for another
tier of bureaucracy, another set of hurdles on the way to a research degree,
another round of inspection and inquisition. We are, of course, not really
surprised. As another assessment procedure creaks past, unloved and
unrespected, we recall the verdict of Tacitus on the informers, the
delatores, who were a prominent in Imperial Rome. A type of person,
says the historian, created for
the ruin of the commonwealth, and never sufficiently
repressed, was now positively encouraged with rewards.

None of us believes in all that bureaucratic interference, but it will happen:
we are powerless to prevent it. What we do believe in does not have to
happen—the right sort of teaching, the adequate stocking of libraries, the
retention in this country of first class academics. Much of that will happen
only if we are helped by that noble army of benefactors, who have done so
much for us, and to whom we look for still more. We have learned a sad
lesson: whatever party is in power, we cannot rely on the State. I asked a
bilingual colleague: `How do you say in French, "It is regarded as a
defeat for the Minister for Higher Education that she has not succeeding in
reducing the grant to (say) the École Normale by as much as she
wanted"?' After a moment's reflection he replied, `You can't say that in
French'.

I come finally to that special category of our benefactors: our dead
colleagues, who worked beside us and served the University well. You will
pardon me if I mention first one of my predecessors in this office, Colin
Hardie, Fellow of Magdalen and Public Orator of the University: a man of wide
and various learning, a great Dantean as well as a classicist of the more
conventional sort, and a most eloquent Orator. We have also to remember:
Michael Aris, Fellow of St Antony's; Robert Beckinsale, Fellow of University;
Max Beloff, Fellow of All Souls; Alec Cairncross, Master of St Peter's; William
Calder, Fellow of Queen's; Alexander Cooke, Fellow of Merton; John Cowan,
Fellow of New College; Arthur Crow, Fellow of Oriel; David Daube, Fellow of All
Souls; Gwynne Henton Davies, Principal of Regent's Park College; Eprime
Eshag, Fellow of Wadham; Margaret Gowing, Fellow of Linacre; John Harris,
Fellow of Green College; Sonia Hawkes, Fellow of St Cross; Philip Holdsworth,
Master of St B
enet's; Martin Lawrence, Fellow of Green College; Raymond Lucas, Fellow of
Brasenose; Donald McKenzie, Fellow of Pembroke; Graham Midgley, Fellow of St
Edmund Hall; Kirstie Morrison, Fellow of St Anne's; Iris Murdoch, Fellow of St
Anne's; Herbert Nicholas, Fellow of New College; John O'Brien, Fellow of
Pembroke; David Phillips, Fellow of Corpus Christi; Charles Smith, Fellow of
Keble; Robert Torrance, Fellow of St John's.

Let us reflect on the true purposes of this great University: the creation of
knowledge, its protection, and its transmission. Much of that is unglamorous
and humdrum. Today we see the splendour of an ancient and famous
institution, raising huge sums of money, receiving and conferring honours.
There is colour; there is music; there are magnificent buildings and speeches
in Latin. But the real life of the place is of course not lived here. It is lived
in all those rooms in colleges, where every week tutorials are given amid the
tutor's more or less disorderly books; it is lived in the laboratories, where
stained tables and scarred walls may bear silent witness to the cost of
pushing back the frontiers of our knowledge. There these our late colleagues
worked, gave of themselves, read and taught and were the living stuff of the
University. Without them, all is vanity.

Pericles of Athens remarked that mere buildings, without men in them, are
nothing. At a time when the holders of power sometimes seem to forget that
ancient truth, and to believe that new frameworks, new buildings, new rounds
of inquisition and delation, new tiers of bureaucracy (O those over-arching
committees!) will suffice for the central purposes of higher education; perhaps,
indeed, that they actually are its central purposes; it is well to be reminded.
It is not the hive but the workers in the hive; it is not the library but the
readers in the library; it is not the laboratory but the scientists in the
laboratory, who achieve whatever has value. In their lives these men and
women were the life of the University; their work was its substance and its
soul. May we emulate them. Et lux
perpetua luceat eis
.

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CREWEIAN ORATION 1999

THE PROFESSOR OF POETRY delivered the following
Oration `in commemoration of the Benefactors of the
University according to the intention of the Right
Honourable Nathaniel, Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham':

It is the purpose of this speech to praise the benefactors of the University,
and in the past it has been my custom to concentrate attention on particular
benefactions to our great institutions, and to explain and celebrate their
purpose. Four years ago I spoke of the projected extension at the front of
the Ashmolean, long since finished and put to good use. Two years ago it was
the turn of the Museum of the History of Science, work on which is still in
progress. And it seemed logical to complete the series with praise for the
benefactors of Duke Humfrey's Library, not least Duke Humfrey of Gloucester
himself, the youngest son of Henry IV, who by 1444 had given the University
no less than 281 books, prompting our predecessors to build a library above
the Divinity School and to name it after him.

Forty years later, when the library was ready to receive the books, our
predecessors had forgotten their resolve, and Duke Humfrey's library was
never known as Duke Humfrey's Library until the nineteenth century, when
the splendid collection of chained books had long since disappeared. They had
remained in their library for a mere sixty-two years, until King Edward VI's
visitation of
Oxford, when the Visitors visited their zeal upon the benefaction, and `some
of those books so taken out by the
Reformers were burnt, some sold away for Robin Hood's pennyworths, either
to Booksellers, or to Glovers to press their gloves, or Taylors to make
measures, or to Bookbinders to cover books bound by them, and some also
were kept by the Reformers for their own use.' Then the benches and desks
were flogged off to Christ Church and the bare room turned over to the
Faculty of Medicine, and for half a century the University of Oxford, as
such, had no library at all. And if our benefactors had taken the view, as
they might have and with some justification, that there was no point in
throwing good money after bad, then that void at the heart of the University
might have remained.

But we were rescued by pilchards. For when Thomas Bodley married a West
Country widow, Ann Ball, when he formed his alliance with a pilchard factor's
relict, he acquired the fortune with which he restored and endowed the
library whose librarian is still known as Bodley's
Librarian.

Perhaps we should be more ashamed of those times when we have looked at
our plates and said: Not pilchards again! For it is precisely to that habit of
coming round again, to the pilchard's amenability in the matter of turning up
on the plate, that we owe our good fortune and the fame of our library.

The heirs of Duke Humfrey, the successors of Bodley, still come to our aid as
the frequent pilchard did. This year we have to thank Railtrack PLC for
sponsorship of the Recording Centre for the Blind at the Bodleian. Sir Robert
Horton, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung made
generous contributions to the Bodleian Incunabula project, as did the Andrew
W. Mellon Foundation to the Digital Collections Scoping Study. Nigel and Helen
Lovett have liberally helped to establish the Acquisitions Endowment Fund for
the Vere Harmsworth Library of the Rothermere American Institute. And three
charitable bodies, the Michael Marks Charitable Trust, the Oxford Historical
Buildings Fund, and the Esmée Fairbairn Charitable Trust have made
significant contributions to the Old Bodleian Development Project.

The first act of this Development Project has been to intervene once again in
the long war between the death-watch beetle and Duke Humfrey's roof. In past
decades it had been believed that a liberal dousing with an appropriate
chemical would be enough to see the beetle off, but it turns out that such
treatments cannot penetrate far enough into the wood to reach that part
where the tiny white grubs spend ten years munching their way towards
adulthood. And what a dismal adulthood it is when it comes. They give up
eating and take up tapping with their thoraxes for a mate. They cannot hear
each other tap: it is we who have heard them over the years, and have
thought their tapping presaged a death. And it does indeed presage a
death—but it is their death, not ours, that it presages, for once
they have mated they are doomed shortly to die. They tap in search of this
deathly mate they cannot hear but only feel in the vibrations of the damp
wood, the damp wood that has been pilchard, bread, a
nd milk for them as long as they can remember. They tap at a rate of eleven
pulses to the second, and when male and female recognise each other it is like
two fax machines finding out that they are compatible. The signals blend. The
female receives the fax, and the message says: stay exactly where you are,
and keep on tapping; I am on my way; yours truly, Death. Then the female is
frozen, tapping, to the spot, and the male finds her and mates with her, and
it is May and it is warm enough for her to fly, and she flies among the dark
rafters, waiting for parturition and death.

Damp wood is what they need, damp oak or willow, and the reason Duke
Humfrey's roof was damp was not that
it leaked but because its copper sheets lay too close to
the rafters. If the roof could be raised a little, giving the beetles more room
for their May flights, not only would the damp rafters dry out, cutting off the
source of nourishment, but also ingenious light-traps could be inserted to lure
the beetles to a premature death on sticky paper.

All this our benefactors have enabled us to achieve. The roof is raised, the
traps are in place, the beams are drying out, while below, in Duke Humfrey,
a beautiful fibre-optic system allows cool sharp light to be focused on
manuscript and incunabulum. The cork floor is ready for polishing. The desks
are in place again and soon the books will return from their temporary abode
in the Upper Reading Room. The doors will open next month and the readers
will return, and they will bring with them their lap-tops and think-pads, and,
where once the chained books resisted the pilfering Cavaliers, now, at every
seat, there is a socket where these modern chained books will be plugged in.
And then the tapping will begin, and the flying among the rafters of academic
cyberspace, and our library
will talk to other libraries, and manuscript to virtual manuscript, and
incunabulum to incunabula.

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