“The Frontiers Of Education – Some Musings”

Remarks to:

Livery Education Conference – Preparing Young People For The Future

Alderman & Sheriff Professor Michael Mainelli MStJ FCCA FCSI(Hon) FBCS, Tuesday, 3 March 2020, Merchant Taylors’ Hall, London

“The Frontiers Of Education – Some Musings”

Masters, Wardens, Headteachers, ladies and gentlemen:

I have been asked to talk about education of the future, so I’ll start from the past.  Exodus 2:22, King James’s Version, says: “And she bare him [Moses] a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, ‘I have been a stranger in a strange land’.”

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Gresham Professors – Stand-up or Stand-down?

A talk given to one of my favourite communities:

 “Stand Up Or Stand Down”

Gresham Society AGM & Dinner

14 February 2019, National Liberal Club

The Gresham Society is a very serious organisation.  A Gresham lecture is supposed to be a serious intellectual occasion.  A Gresham Society address therefore should be an especially heavy and ponderous event.  I hope to disappoint.  Continue reading

Obverse and Reverse – Flip The Coin

I was delighted to see the final struck coin for next year’s quincentenary celebrations of Sir Thomas Gresham (1519-1579).  We, Z/Yen, ordered them to contribute to the celebrations.  The coin was designed by Xenia Mainelli (yes, a relation, one of my two cherished daughters).  This is the culmination of a four year, £250,000 project.

Much has been written, but we particularly look forward to Dr John Guy’s forthcoming biography (a pre-read was fantastic), and John’s Gresham lecture at Guildhall:

Sir Thomas Gresham (1519 – 2019)
Old Library, Guildhall
18:00 – 19:00, Thursday, 13 June

Bookings here from 15 April – https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/thomas-gresham-1519-2019

“Gresham’s Law: The Life and World of Queen Elizabeth I’s Banker” by Dr John Guy, 2019.

If you want my amateur take ahead of time:

Sir Thomas Gresham: Tudor, Trader, Shipper, Spy and the Ladies of Dulwich

Good Money Drives Out Bad / Bad Money Drives Out Good

And why the contradiction?

Robert Mundell (Nobel Laureate Prize for Economic Sciences, 1999), “Uses and Abuses of Gresham’s Law in the History of Money“, Zagreb Journal of Economics , Volume 2, Number 2, 1998.

Imagery courtesy of Xenia Mainelli, Animation courtesy of CISI

Road To Everywhere – Goodenough College

Founders’ Day Speech

Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli

4 October 2018, Goodenough College

“Road To Everywhere”

President, Chairman, Governors, Trustees, Fellow Fellows, Students, Ladies, and Gentlemen.  Wilkommen, Benvenuti, Bienvenue,欢迎光临 (huānyíng guānglín), Welcome.

It is a genuine honour to have been asked to deliver this year’s Founders’ Day address.  Founders’ Day is an opportunity to cultivate our legacies and sow our futures.  We do so in challenging times.

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A Professor’s Lot Is Not A Happy One

And another Christmas party on 14 December?  No, our every-other-year Gresham Christmas Soirée.  It’s one of my favourite events since I first played my bagpipes there in 2005.  And in an ever-stronger-every-other-year tradition we recite Barbara Anderson’s wonderful rewrite of Gilbert & Sullivan:

The Gresham Professor’s Song

We’ve Ge-ometry, Divinity and Music ’Ty and Music
There’s also Commerce, Rhetoric and Law ’Ric and Law
And Astronomy, Psychiatry and Physic ’Try and Physic
The Monday lunch time series, and much more And much more
Our subjects we with difficulty cover ’Culty cover
We formulate some titles that sound fun. That sound fun
Ah, take one consideration with another ― With another
A Professor’s lot is not a happy one.
Ah! When our Gresham Lecture duty’s to be done, to be done,
A Professor’s lot is not a happy one, happy one.

When you’re told to start at six and end at seven End at seven
And you want to fit in ninety Power-points, Power-points
But by five to eight you’ve got to slide eleven Slide eleven
You’re cold and tired and feel your aching joints. Aching joints
Our feelings we with difficulty smother ’Culty smother
When our Gresham Lecture duty’s to be done. To be done
Ah, take one consideration with another ― With another
A Professor’s lot is not a happy one.
Ah! When our Gresham Lecture duty’s to be done, to be done
A Professor’s lot is not a happy one, happy one.

When the au-di-ence ask questions that are silly That are silly
Worse still, they ask us something that’s quite hard, That’s quite hard
We try to answer sat-is-fac-tor-ily. Factorily
If desperate we tell them we’re time-barred. We’re time barred
Our stipends just, with difficulty, cover ’Culty cover
The overheads required to get things done. Get things done
Ah, take one consideration with another With another
A Professor’s lot is not a happy one.
Ah! When our Gresham Lecture duty’s to be done, to be done
A Professor’s lot is not a happy one, happy one.

The Professor’s Song – courtesy of Georgina Calver

Perhaps you’d like to see a live rendition?  On the left is John Carrington (Chairman) with Professor Robin Wilson leading, and to the right Professor Tim Connell, Professor Frank Cox, and lyricist (?) Barbera Anderson.  Fortunately I’m so far left here that I’m out of frame; sadly for you, you can certainly hear me!

 

From Archives To Modern Lives – Deep In The King’s College Scientific Archives

From Archives to Modern Lives: Frontiers of Trade and Technology
A survey of past and present innovation in association with King’s College London Archives, Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Surprisingly for some, London is, and almost always has been, a science city.  From the Gresham College days of the Tudor ‘New Learning’, Francis Bacon, the foundation of the Royal Society and on to the Industrial Revolution, genetics and even ‘fintech’, London has been at least as much about science & technology as it has been about trade & finance.

The World Traders had a wonderful day indeed.  Our main event, from 15:00 to 17:30, consisted of fully-illustrated presentations by six distinguished speakers, each at the very top of his or her own area of expertise. They referenced key objects of lasting scientific importance from King’s College London.

We handled numerous artefacts ranging from the original Wheatstone Telegraph of 1837 to the original DNA photo, “Photo 51”, to Barbara Cartland and Ted Hughes and Alan Ginsburg materials. Dr Brian May (yes, of Queen!) is an enormous fan of stereoscopy, heading up The London Stereoscopic Company http://www.londonstereo.com/, and created a 3D film for us. It feels like serious Livery one-up-person-ship that we can brag, “as we wore our 3D glasses Dr May leaped out from the screen to ‘Greet the Worshipful Company of World Traders’”.

The reception and dinner were on the eighth floor of Bush House in Aldwych (a building recently taken over by KCL, previously occupied by the BBC) with dramatic views from the City to Wesminster.

Wheatstone’s Cryptographs and Cipher

The full programme:

15:00 for 15:15      Reception, 1st Floor, Bush House, 101 (Auditorium)

15:15 – 15:30          Welcome
Deborah Bull, Assistant Principal King’s College London

                               Introduction
Dr Jessica Borge & Dr Geoff Browell

15:30 – 16:15         Computer Code
Artefact:                  Wheatstone’s Cryptographs and Cipher Post/ Telegraph TBC
Dr Jamie Barras
Professor Mischa Dohler

16:15 – 17:00          Life Code
Artefact:                   Photograph 51 TBC
Professor David Edgerton
Professor Karen Steel

17:00 – 17:45          Visual Code
Artefact:                   Wheatstone’s Stereoscope TBC
Denis Pellerin
Professor Reza Razavi

17:45 – 18:00          Concluding Remarks
Dr Geoff Browell

18:00 – 19:00          Drinks, 8th Floor, Bush House (South)

19:00 – 21:30          Dinner, 8th Floor, Bush House (North)
Guest Speaker: Dr Carina Fearnley

Liquidity Ditty – LiquiDitty – The Poem Drops

Ten years ago I gave a lecture on liquidity at Gresham College – “Liquidity: Finance In Motion Or Evaporation?”  – London, England (5 September 2007).  I recommend the transcript as easiest to read with the slides.  The lecture was actually scheduled back in February 2005 (yes) as I looked ahead ujneasily towards a liquidity crisis.  The timing turned out to be too good as I came back from summer break after BNP Paribas started the financial crises news and things lurched onwards to Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, RBS, etc.

Engraving of a flea, Micrographia by (fellow) Gresham Professor Robert Hooke, 1665.

In these days of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) this lecture seems to be coming back in popularity and I wonder about a reprise.  Meanwhile, I couldn’t resist ending the lecture with a little ditty of my own, based on Jonathan Swift’s construction around a flea, The Siphonaptera, that seems worth sharing again:

Big pools have little pools

which suck out their liquidity,

and little pools still lesser pools

and so on to aridity.

 

So, financiers observe, small pools

suck larger pools liquidity,

yet tinier pools drain other drops,

and so on to aridity.

Friendships Better Than Professorships?

28jan16_1440_v2This month we, the Trustees of Gresham College, hosted the Lord Mayor’s Gresham Event at Guildhall (he or she is our President!) … http://www.gresham.ac.uk/london-the-global-maritime-centre-in-a-changing-world

London – The Global Maritime Centre in a Changing World

 Thursday, 28 January 2016 – 6:00pm, Guildhall
 
THE LORD MAYOR’S ANNUAL GRESHAM EVENT – Introduction by the Lord Mayor of the City of London followed by a symposium

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