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June 22nd, 2010

Prize Giving

I have been invited to address the Prize Giving of a certain Jesuit secondary school Somewhere In Britain. Attached is the most recent exchange of emails on the topic...

From The Headmaster:
The summer holidays have begun and it is actually quite warm in S_____. Thanks be to God. I hope you enjoy a summer break, wherever that may take you.

The Prize Giving is an opportunity to give the pupils an inspirational talk and you will be the first scientist in recent times to be the guest of honour. I think it would be really good to encourage an interest in science and to reinforce that faith in God and science do not contradict each other. I am sure you have given talks like this many times before.

In addition, would there be an opportunity to meet with some of our pupils? Our head of physics would be delighted if you could.

I reply:

It's rainy and freezing (well, 19 C) here in Rome! So now I know who stole all our sunshine.

I am looking forward with much anticipation to my next visit to ______. I would be happy to make myself available to the school at any time from my arrival until my departure.

Meanwhile, in order to get myself properly prepared for a Prize-giving, I have been doing research on the topic of appropriate speeches by reading up on my P. G. Wodehouse.

He replies:

PG Wodehouse is the best introduction and preparation for prizegiving. If I recall, prior to one such event copious quantities of gin were consumed. This can be arranged. Let me know if we can do anything to help.

(Alas, I can't stand the taste of the stuff... I will have to trust to the mere fact of being an American in such a quintessetially British setting will be sufficiently disorienting to replace the tonic effects of gin.)

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