Climate change

Some years ago, the University Botanic Gardens here in Cambridge started a special area for the interest of local gardeners, displaying plants particularly tolerant of the low local rainfall. Because this part of East Anglia officially counted as a ‘semi-arid’ region.

Today, another sodden day. And our garden, if not awash, is lush to say the least. We used to get a lot of grey days with occasional drizzle; but recently it has repeatedly been raining proper rain, extraordinarily so for Cambridge.

At least the students revising and revising before Tripos starts (this week, for many) aren’t sweltering. An old Cambridge trick was glorious weather before and during exams, breaking just in time for the post-exam festivities ….

I see the first Maths Part III examination is on Thursday. Oh, so very good luck to all: I still feel for you! And heavens, there are now over 250 candidates for Part III. Back in the olden days, it didn’t used to be quite like that. A friend found he still had a copy of the Reporter with exam results for the year we graduated, and sent me this:

The stars indicate distinction (yes, yes, it’s been downhill all the way since). And “Ds” is for “dominus”, i.e. someone who had already graduated — so those whose names are unadorned took Part III at the end of their third year, while still undergraduates, which now seems crazily fast.

And no “Dna” for “domina”? Indeed no. Not one single woman took Part III that year.

So here at least there has been a welcome climate change. It’s still very male dominated, and we can debate the reasons for that: but it certainly isn’t now an exclusive boys’ club.

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