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March 15th, 2012

Unexpected promotions

Recently one of my talks from last month has been posted online (50 minutes long). Note that the camera is just on my face, not my slides, but the slides are mostly unnecessary.

My next talk, this weekend, is to give a similar talk in Verona... in Italian. The bio that goes with the abstract of my talk online claims that I was "un professore" at MIT. While it looks like I am claiming a position I never really had, this actually literally true, because the Italian for teacher is "professore" and I did have the post of "lecturer" there, some 30 years ago when I was a post-doc and taught a couple of courses.

A similar mistake was made when I was applying for a position at the University of Nairobi during my Peace Corps days. I reported, in all honesty, that I was a "lecturer" at MIT and also at Harvard. Of course, the people I was speaking with in Nairobi were products of the British educational system where "lecturer" was the equivalent of the American "assistant professor", rather than being (what it is in reality) the lowest of the low in the American educational hierarchy, a temporary and very low-paid position. Not knowing that, they were very impressed.

I didn't bother to correct them then, either.

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