And so to York


I am just back from two intellectually intoxicating days at the University of York, where I made an early start to my PhD (technically I am not starting until July) in real time operating systems.

In a few years this may all look like a mad escapade, perhaps I am old enough to know better. But right now I am admit to a slight giddy excitement about it all.

The peak moment was when I walked into the library, a building which you could live the rest of your life in. Walking up to the top floor, where the computer science texts were stored, I stopped off to read a few pages in a book about the correspondence between Mary McCarthy and Hannah Arendt. I don’t know much about either woman, but  I do know I want to know.

Th library also reminded me of the elevated status of research students – apparently, when I am issued with a card, I can borrow up to 50 (! Seems so outlandish I wonder if I misheard ’15’) items for as long as three months.

Roughly speaking there are about three times as many under-graduates in the UK as there were when I was one and so York (a middle sized institution) is about 50% “bigger” than Edinburgh was when I was there but numbers are not the only change one notices – there are far more overseas students than quarter of a century ago, sought by the universities because of the fees they pay and attracted to the UK by our universities’ reputation for excellence (both factors make the current government’s attitude of distrust towards foreign students look seriously flawed).

Cannot wait till I go back!

(And thanks again to Birkbeck for making it all possible).


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