University Gazette, 6 March 2008: Notices
SPEECH BY THE PUBLIC ORATOR
THE PUBLIC ORATOR delivered the following speech in a Congregation held on Saturday, 1 March, in presenting for the Honorary Degree of Master of Arts
Mr ROGER BOWLER
Thomas Stearns Eliot, vir ipse Oxoniensis, unum ex operibus suis amico cuidam ut meliori fabro dedicavit; putavit enim, ut videtur, poetam non solum ingenio suo egere sed artificis, ut ita dicam, consilio atque auxilio iuvari posse. Ecce vir qui similibus verbis describendus est; nam licet duos commentarios cum conlegis exaraverit, in primis laudatur quia multa organa summa peritia excogitaverit per quae homines docti nova de rerum natura reperiant. Dicitur otium in piscando saepe consumere, quod non miror; ars enim piscatoria patientiam diligentiam subtilitatem sane requirit. Sed haud scio an otio parum adhuc fructus sit, quippe qui per annos quinque et quadraginta tot homines adiuverit, machinas tam varias construxerit, easque tam exacte et ad unguem fabricatas ut perfectio operis vix credibilis esse videatur. Apud Homerum legimus deum ipsum Vulcanum Achilli scutum finxisse, quia nec optimus ille Achivorum sine fabri auxilio victoriam reportare posset. Hominem non deum ego vobis induco; tamen dicere ausim bonum fabricatorem, qualem hodie videmus, aliquantulum afflatus divini mente sensisse. Hunc non solum propter artificium atque experientiam admiratur omnis chimicorum sodalitas sed etiam quia prudentem se modestum sagacem constanter praebuit. Itaque hoc conventu hominem de hac Vniversitate optime meritum recte laudamus; quem iam rude donatum honestat Vniversitas, desiderant conlegae, tremunt pisces.
Praesento artificem ingeniosissimum, certum virorum doctorum adminiculum, Rogerum Bowler, inter technicos apud Facultatem Chimicam quondam curatorem, ut admittatur honoris causa ad gradum Magistri in Artibus.
Admission by the Vice-Chancellor
Amice dilecte, organorum fabricator subtilissime, ego auctoritate mea et totius Vniversitatis admitto te ad gradum Magistri in Artibus honoris causa.
T.S. Eliot, himself an Oxonian, dedicated The Waste Land to his friend Ezra Pound as il miglior fabbro, the better craftsman, recognising, it would seem, that a poet requires not only natural talent but may benefit from the advice and help of a technical master. Here is a man who can be described in similar terms, for although he is the co-author of two scientific papers, he is praised above all for his exceptional skill in creating machines which have enabled scientific researchers to make new discoveries. He is said to spend a fair amount of his free time in fishing, which comes as no surprise, as the angler's art surely demands qualities of patience, concentration and exactitude. One wonders, however, whether he has actually had much spare time until recently, seeing that across a career of forty-five years he has helped so many researchers and built so many machines—built, indeed, with a degree of accuracy that provokes astonishment. We read in Homer's Iliad that it was the god Hephaestus himself who fashioned the Shield of Achilles, for not even the hero who was called the best of the Greeks could achieve his victories without a craftsman's aid. It is a man not a god whom I present to you; and yet I venture to suggest that a master of technique, such as we see here today, has felt some spark of divine inspiration. Moreover, our entire chemical community admires him not only for his skill and experience but for the shrewdness, modesty and good sense which he has always displayed. And so we rightly celebrate in this assembly a man who has done our University outstanding service. Now that he has retired, his colleagues miss him, the University honours him, and the fish tremble.
I present a superlative artificer, a trusty pillar of the scientific community, Roger Bowler, former supervisor in the Department of Physical Chemistry, to be admitted to the honorary degree of Master of Arts.
Admission by the Vice-Chancellor
Well-loved friend, masterly deviser of machinery, I on my own authority and that of the whole University admit you to the honorary degree of Master of Arts.
Proposals for Honorary Degrees to be Conferred at the Encaenia in 2009 and for Degrees by Diploma
Members of Congregation are encouraged to suggest the names of people on whom such degrees might be conferred. Degrees by diploma are conferred on heads of state and royalty, and Encaenia honorary degrees are conferred at the University's annual ceremonial event. The Honorary Degrees Committee in considering possible honorands will focus on individuals in the following categories:
1. those of high academic distinction in the fields of research and scholarship of specific interest to the University of Oxford;
2. those distinguished in the visual, literary, musical, and performing arts;
3. those distinguished in business and industry;
4. those who have played a distinguished role in public life, for example in contributing to progress and change in society;
5. those who have made a significant contribution to the activities of the University of Oxford—such individuals would normally also fall into one of the categories above.
Within these categories, the committee will aim to produce a balanced list which takes account of the international dimension which characterises this University's activities.
Honorary degrees will not be conferred on anyone who holds, or who has retired from, a resident teaching, research, or administrative post within the University or in any college or other society, except in exceptional circumstances such as distinguished service outside the terms of his or her paid service or outstanding service well beyond the call of duty.
Nomination should be sent on the approved application form, which is available from Miss Noon's office (telephone: Oxford (2)70008, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). The completed form should be sent to Miss J.M. Noon, University Offices, Wellington Square, by Friday, 9 May 2008, under 'Strictly Confidential' cover.
While informal soundings within the University will often be desirable, every effort should be made to ensure that publicity is not at any stage given to any specific proposal for the conferral of an honorary degree. All nominations will be considered in strict confidence by the Honorary Degrees Committee, which submits its report to Council at the beginning of Michaelmas Term. After discussion, Council will report back to the Honorary Degrees Committee, which will arrive at a list of honorands to put to Congregation.
The names of people on whom degrees by diploma and honorary degrees have recently been conferred may be found in the University Calendar, 2007–8, pp. 497–501.
This year's honorands are:
Montek Singh Ahluwalia
Professor Thomas Nagel
Professor Bert Sakmann
Professor Sheila Widnall
Professor Ada Yonath
Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Professorship of American History 2008–9
PETER ONUF, PH.D Johns Hopkins, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor in the Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia, has been appointed to the visiting professorship for the academic year 2008–9. Professor Onuf will be a fellow of Queen's College.
Reconferment of the Title of Visiting Professor
The Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Board has reconferred the title of Visiting Professor in Materials Science upon PROFESSOR COLIN ENGLISH for three years from 1 February 2008.
Man Professorship of Quantitative Finance
Appointed by The Principal of St Hugh's ex officio The Dean of Christ Church ex officio Professor E. Renault Council Professor T.J. Lyons Council Professor C. Mayer Social Sciences Board Professor X. Zhou Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Board Professor N. Shephard Oxford--Man Institute of Quantitative Finance Dr A. Patton Oxford--Man Institute of Quantitative Finance Professor N. El Karoui Oxford--Man Institute of Quantitative Finance Dr S. Howison Christ Church
Readership in Modern South Asian History
Appointed by The Principal of Somerville Mr Vice-Chancellor  The Warden of St Antony's ex officio Professor C.A. Bayly Council Professor J.M. Brown Council Professor S. Shuttleworth Humanities Board Professor R. O'Hanlon Oriental Studies Board Professor F. Robinson History Board Dr C. Haigh History Board Dr N. Gooptu St Antony's College Appointed by Mr Vice-Chancellor under the provisions of Sects. 10 and 11 of Statute IX (Supplement (1) to Gazette No. 4633, 9 October 2002, Vol. 133, p. 108).