Cambridge has its own funny little ways. One example: for decades, if you took Part III of the maths tripos — one of the tougher exams on planet Earth — you got no formal recognition at all, just the glory. Later, until just recently, you were awarded a measly Certificate of Advanced Study.
Actually, I rather liked this quirky refusal to equate Part III with some more humdrum hurdle for which you might get awarded a common-or-garden degree; but the University has decided, at last, to give people who survive the experience a “M.Math.”. And moreover, they are doing this retrospectively. So if you passed Part III since 1962 you can now claim your degree, and old hands are particularly invited to do so on April 30th, when there will be a celebration at CMS.
So, a mere 46 years after I worked my socks off, I’m going to turn up in fancy dress to get my gong, and join in the fun. Perhaps an earlier time-slice of me wouldn’t have bothered; but now I rather like the symmetry of collecting the degree in my very last term before retirement. And perhaps I’ll be slightly ruefully marking some regret too that I didn’t stick with the sums.