Teaching staff

Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, but that's still CH related.

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Jim Rayner
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Re: Teaching staff

Post by Jim Rayner » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:46 pm

I do remember the sense of awe that came over us during a physics lesson with R Crossland when we were ushered next door to Stan Malone’s lab to get a privileged view of his latest purchase, an electronic calculator. It was about the size of biscuit tin, was plugged into the mains and could perform the four basic arithmetic functions.

Of course it was no match for a slide-rule when it came to trigonometric functions and logarithms. But a nice toy nevertheless.
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Re: Teaching staff

Post by Katharine » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:47 pm

I found slide rules a joy to use. I didn't encounter them until I was at Oxford where my engineering friends used them, I didn't do too much In the way of Mechanics so didn't do that kind of calculation. I used slide rules extensively in Ghana when I was teaching there, 5inch ones for junior classes then 10 inch for higher levels including trig etc. We had dissension from Chemistry teachers who muttered about four figure tables, and that slide rules didn't give enough accuracy. Were their experiments accurate enough for four figures?
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Re: Teaching staff

Post by bakunin » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:59 pm

There were several chemistry teachers at CH were I was there but only one IT teacher. I'm surprised this is still the case. I would have thought it necessary or useful to increase the number of programming classes available and have the same number of IT staff as any other science subject

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Re: Teaching staff

Post by scrub » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:22 pm

Wait, did we really have a dedicated IT teacher? That's another thing I'd forgotten.
I do remember Monty(?) the maths teacher was the computer caretaker and whatever IT was called back then was definitely his domain, but I can't remember anyone else.
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Re: Teaching staff

Post by bakunin » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:27 pm

Yes, I meant Monty. He mainly taught IT with maths as his secondary subject, I thought.

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Re: Teaching staff

Post by wagenman » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:36 pm

bakunin wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:27 pm
Yes, I meant Monty. He mainly taught IT with maths as his secondary subject, I thought.
His role may have evolved into that but when i was there he was definitely a maths teacher. IT being more of a a hobby rather than a subject. I think i maybe had one IT lesson.

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Re: Teaching staff

Post by sejintenej » Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:19 pm

Katharine wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:47 pm
I found slide rules a joy to use............... I didn't do too much In the way of Mechanics so didn't do that kind of calculation. I used slide rules extensively in Ghana when I was teaching there,
Mine (12 inch version) and my soroban are on my desk and get used occasionally. Yes, electronic calculators are more accurate and for that I am overwhelmed - a financial one I got over thirty years ago, a £5 simple one, my mobile phone and my laptop. (Oh, I forgot Alexa which my son gave us for Christmas).
Generally what degree of acuracy do you truly need in ordinary life? 8 tins of dog food at ...pence type transactions or adding up the purchases to see if there is enough to get the car park charge refunded? I would hope that any OB could calculate in his / her head the price if 17 widgets at £2.99 (or a pupil just starting for that matter.)
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Re: Teaching staff

Post by jhopgood » Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:01 am

sejintenej wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:19 pm
Katharine wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:47 pm
I found slide rules a joy to use............... I didn't do too much In the way of Mechanics so didn't do that kind of calculation. I used slide rules extensively in Ghana when I was teaching there,
Mine (12 inch version) and my soroban are on my desk and get used occasionally. Yes, electronic calculators are more accurate and for that I am overwhelmed - a financial one I got over thirty years ago, a £5 simple one, my mobile phone and my laptop. (Oh, I forgot Alexa which my son gave us for Christmas).
Generally what degree of acuracy do you truly need in ordinary life? 8 tins of dog food at ...pence type transactions or adding up the purchases to see if there is enough to get the car park charge refunded? I would hope that any OB could calculate in his / her head the price if 17 widgets at £2.99 (or a pupil just starting for that matter.)
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Re: Teaching staff

Post by ColA25 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:21 am

J.R. wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:35 pm
I'm going to dust my trusty abacus off and see if it's worth anything on 'Floggit' !.
Just bought an abacus for my son...£10 in Ikea...
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Re: Teaching staff

Post by sejintenej » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:43 am

ColA25 wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:21 am
J.R. wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:35 pm
I'm going to dust my trusty abacus off and see if it's worth anything on 'Floggit' !.
Just bought an abacus for my son...£10 in Ikea...
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Re: Teaching staff

Post by michael scuffil » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:15 pm

My wife (a physicist) needed a calculator for her degree course. It was a Texas Instruments model, and cost about 150 pounds in 1974. A lot of money (say about 2000 in today's money). But I used it a huge amount for my PhD, which involved a lot of statistics. It had an LED display, which was both faster and more visible than today's LCDs, but of course you had to keep them plugged in most of the time. It was about this time I first saw a computer, at the Phonetics Dept. in Cologne University. About the size of a large fridge-freezer.
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Re: Teaching staff

Post by Alex » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:15 am

I first saw a computer in 1956. This is not simply boasting and one-upmanship directed towards Dr Scuffil, for it resulted from a visit to the HQ of the Lyons Company, organised for science and maths grecians by the visionary Mr Edward Bullard, who accompanied us. His most unusual career and abilities are described in other postings. He was an OB and junior housemaster of Maine B, who taught maths at CH.

The Lyons Company is a long defunct tea [and manufactured foodstuffs] merchant and then owned a country-wide chain of ‘tea shops’/restaurants. That custom-built computer, named Leo, used valves/vacuum tubes and occupied a couple of fair sized rooms (totalling say 80 m2). It was probably one of the world’s first computers designed and used only for business purposes (if not the first), for it kept track of all the restaurants’ stock of foodstuffs, etc and also prepared the company’s accounts.

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Re: Teaching staff

Post by J.R. » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:49 am

Mr Bullard taught me for a short while.

He was what today could be described as a 'walking computer'.
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Re: Teaching staff

Post by postwarblue » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:55 am

I wrote my first program in 1965. When I was at CH although a Maths Grecian (left in 1954), there was never the least hint that there might be a career in computing.
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Re: Teaching staff

Post by Katharine » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:19 am

I did Maths A level in the mid 60s, (for obvious reasons can't say I was a Maths Grecian!) and there was never any mention of computing as a career. I don't think it was seen as 'real' mathematics. It was seen as a tool, just as log tables were. All praise to Mr Bullard for taking you. Leo is well known in computing history.

I have said before how Barnes Wallis invited all doing A level Maths at Hertford to Weybridge to see what he did. For years I had a prototype non-misting mirror he was working on. I don't think there was any thought then that computers would transform the way his office worked, he did say he would offer a job to any of us who successfully completed a Maths degree as he was always in need of young mathematicians.
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