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1961 Mathematics - 28 June 2011

Brian Dolton, 1961 Mathematics and reunion organiser writes:

"Fifty years rolled away in a few minutes. Though many of us had kept in touch, close touch in some cases (a number have been regulars at the annual De Morgan Society dinners), this was the first occasion at which this larger group had got together in 50 years.

Of the 28 who had graduated in 1961, we managed to contact sixteen. Nine were able to come and we had messages from six others. We must thank the Alumni Association for their help in achieving this. We had opened the invitations to friends who had been in the department one year before and after us, and were very pleased that six of them joined our celebration. In addition, three staff whom we had come to know well over the intervening years were able to attend, along with six of our partners. Regrettably, all of the staff who taught us have died. Fond memories of a variety of teaching methods were swapped (some softened by the passage of time, perhaps).

Meeting from 12.30, at Hardy’s Brasserie in Dorset Street, London W1, it was soon evident that the private room provided for us was going to be a good idea. A quiet lunch would have been impossible! Twenty four, eventually, sat down. Noise levels continued to rise with decades of catching up, punctuated by memories from 50+ years ago. Messages from ten who could not attend were read out and we even had a phone call from Canada wishing us well. With sadness, we also remembered three friends known to have died.

Inevitably, eating took second place to talking, and the three courses stretched over two hours. From around 3.30, the party started to break up – some had travelled considerable distances – though not before there was all-round agreement that we must do it again, and soon.

To round off the day, a small group visited UCL, taking in familiar sights, and two benches in the Cloisters placed in memory of Lakshman (Joe) Sinnadurai. We also visited the Mathematics department, still in the same building, of which we were among the first occupants in 1959. How it fits in the 120 entrants a year (we had 32!), as well as post-graduates and staff, we could only wonder. We received a warm welcome, and were entertained by, Professor Dima Vassiliev, the retiring Head of Department.

A thoroughly enjoyable day, with good food, excellent company and a welter of nostalgia. We are starting work on a repeat, next year, already."

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