Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Lewis Carroll in Guildford

I was at a 5-year-old's birthday party on Sunday (along with my own 5-year-old, of course) up a street in Guildford called The Mount.  It's a steep residential street that I have never felt inclined to walk up before but, being there, I figured I'd go into the cemetery that is half way up and see Lewis Carroll's grave.  

Lewis Carroll has geographical links with a few places that I have been to because of my career in nuclear physics:  Oxford, where I did my PhD and where he taught mathematics.  The village of Daresbury in Cheshire, where there used to be a world-leading radioactive ion beam facility for nuclear structure research, and there is still a prominent tower that once housed the accelerator, is where Carroll was born.  Guildford is the home of the University of Surrey which has a large nuclear physics group, which is old enough to date back before the University was in Guildford, but was in Battersea.  Lewis Carroll spent quite a bit of time in Guildford after he installed his sisters in a house in the town.  He used to come and spend Christmases with them, and it was during one of these visits that he was taken ill and died.  

The University of Surrey has recently decided to name their building after people (previously they were named in a grid-reference style: AB, BA, BB, etc).  Lewis Carroll is one of the people so chosen, as shown in the picture below.

The other thing which links Lewis Carroll with physics is that many physicists seem to particularly enjoy Lewis Carroll's writing.  This is why they end up as physicists, and not as literary critics. 

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