Friday was the first day of the Cambridge University Alumni weekend. We set off early (6.30), to beat the traffic and to book into Churchill College. Arrived at Churchill with what we thought was plenty of time, but, the booking we had made seemed to have been lost, despite Rosemary sending a confirmation email a few days ago. Luckily they still had some empty rooms, and we were eventually able to dump our stuff before going off to the Sidgwick site to register.
First visit was to the institute of Manufacturing on Mill Lane. They are part of the Engineering department. We were welcomed by Mike Gregory, head of IfM, and then heard a talk from Finbarr Livesey. The crux of the talk was, the country did not invest enough in R&D. Manufacturers who send their manufacture to low cost areas like China, should still manufacture some items in the home market. If they did not, then their R&D would lose the skills required to design for cheap manufacture. Oh and moving up the value chain, what was stopping the Chinese from doing the same.
We then had a demonstration of some robots, which are programmed by the students to perform tasks.
Afterwards we had a long lunch break wandering around Cambridge, before a tour of the Haddon Library in the faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology. Here we were treated to a simple demonstration of reconstructing written words from shredded documents.
On the same Downing Street site we had a tour of the Archaeology and Anthropology museum. The highlight for Rosemary and I was touching and feeling hand axes from a million years ago. We also touched many artefacts from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age and from Roman times. They also had the bow and arrow made on the BBC program by Ray Mears.
Before the opening reception we had a quick punt along the backs. Rosemary wanted a student to punt us, but instead she ended up with me. I thought I did very well, keeping a straight line and only losing the punt once in the mud. Unfortunately a couple at the reception saw me, and said I had been spotted by them losing the punt. The other complaint was from Rosemary, who thought I knew little of the colleges we passed.
We went to the Reception in the Fitzwilliam Museum, where the new wing has been opened. It was very smart. There was an exhibition of impressionists, with several pictures from Monet, Degas, Bourdin, and Pissaro. We met Peter Worsley and Catherine Side from the Berkshire Branch. We also met John Moore from the Buckinghamshire Branch.
There were some lovely canapés, and oodles of wine to be drunk.
Couldn’t hang around after the end, as we had to rush over to Robinson College to listen to a stand-up comic called Neil Mullarkey. Neil was educated at Robinson College, was president of Cambridge Footlights. He has acted in a number of films (Austin Powers), several TV programs. For his show he plays L.Vaughan Spencer, Life Coach, Self-Help Guru and Gangsta Motivator. Kind of based on an Ali G type character. He was rather amusing and did not descend into swearing.
A websites about Neil
I think the glass of wine at the interval was very large, so after the show it was straight back to the college and bed without supper. Thank goodness for the canapés.