Thursday, November 06, 2014

University of Oxford's Dates of Reckoning

Yup, you got that right: University of Oxford's calendar is described in terms of "Dates of Reckoning".

I hope I survive! Or, to quote a certain movie: "You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting. In what world could you possibly beat me?"

Here is a convenient Wikipedia entry.

On a more serious note, I am looking up our calendar because I am trying to estimate the date of the exam for my networks module. I have been invited to give a plenary talk in Singapore, and I am trying to figure out how easily I can manage to accept the invitation. (It's really frustrating that our teaching structure requires me to do this and not just accept immediately, though this is too good an opportunity to pass up --- so I'll just need to be available by phone at an odd hour if it becomes necessary.)


Johan said...

Hi Mason,

The quote "you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting" is actually from the Old Testament, and was the "writing on the wall" during the feast of King Belshazzar.

When I took a course (Percolation Theory) from Bela Bollobas at Cambridge, he used the "weighed and found wanting" framing verbally while stepping through some case-by-base proof, and when we students didn't get the reference, he took a tangent to tell a story of some fellow at Trinity sending/receiving a postcard of Rembrandt's "Belshazzar's Feast" on the eve of some tenure-like decision, as a joke, but unfortunately I don't remember the details.


Mason said...

Johan: Actually, I know the movie didn't invent the basic gist of that quote, though I did not know the specifics (so thanks for that!). That was why I included the next line as well. I don't usually include the subsequent line when I use that quote.

I saw Bela give a talk once. I enjoyed the math, but based on the way he talked, I suspect that he and I might not get along so well if we met in person.