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We have good news from Lewis Lodge to share with you today!

In the grand scheme of things, it won’t even register a blip on the global seismograph; but for us, and particularly for Simon, my husband, who is the recipient of the good news; it’s the result of an awful lot of hard work, year in, year out, for over a decade.

Simon is an Academic – a University Lecturer. His specialism is the Quaternary – which is that bit of the geological record that largely focuses on human evolution and ice ages.

Anyway, less of the chit-chat. Our good news this morning is that Simon has been conferred the title of Reader in Quaternary Science. A what? Ah, I can see this will require a little explanation, so let’s just take a little succinct bit from Wikipedia…

“Reader requires evidence of a distinguished record of original research as well as a significant record of teaching excellence and service to the university.”

They don’t give these things away free with a packet of Cornflakes you know!

Promotions in British academia are not easy to come by – not least at the University of London. He had to submit his application right at the start of the year and then there was not a peep out of the review committee until yesterday – a whole seven months.

It’s not done by what your Department Head and colleagues think of you, it’s done by what the wider academic community think of you and your research. They ask six noted academics in his field – two whose names he supplied and four that they appointed independently – for their opinion, as to whether he was worthy of promotion. Basically, they were asked if they thought Simon is good enough at what he does to be a future Professor.

They said YES! *punches the air*

Because frankly (and I’m speaking as the person who sees the hard graft, the worry, the early mornings, the late nights, the not-gone-to-bed-yets), he jolly well deserves it!

He’s a hard worker my husband and he’s also a rare beast in academia -a team player – which hasn’t always worked in his favour. The last time he applied for this he got knocked back for being ‘too nice’. But with a gorgeous sense of serendipity, it’s precisely that ‘nice’ collaboratory set-up that yielded the globally-significant research, which contributed, in part, to him being awarded this promotion.

AHOB, the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project (not, as I call it, the Another Happisburgh Opportunity [for] Beer project), last summer published research that, to quote the BBC and the Natural History Museum ‘literally revolutionised the way we think about the early human colonisation of northern Europe.’ So, we’re not talking academic small-fry here; Simon’s a key collaborator in a project that pulls together lots of people from Quaternary disciplines and publishes ground-breaking work. So working together as a team would be what? Mutually beneficial to all concerned? I think so!

And THIS is the link to my blog post that rounded up all the media posts about their discoveries, which was published last July.

This is the way he likes working and it’s yielding amazing results. I’m so proud of him! Finally, after a long hard graft, his work institution have recognised what those of us who have the privilege of knowing him in person have known for ages. He’s absolutely fabulous and now judged to be academically fabulous too.

It’s back to the beach at Happisburgh this September for Nick Ashton, Simon Parfitt and Simon Lewis, to start work on unlocking more bits of the ancient human record in Britain; and yes, there may be beer at the Hill House pub. But these three, working quietly away together since the early 1990s -and who aren’t usually three of the grumpiest-looking blokes (see below) – are putting out an astonishing body of work, which is now, finally, being justifiably lauded and recognised.

So there we are. It’s not earth-shattering news, but it’s an important personal pat-on-the-back for Simon;

  • for recognition of twenty one years of contributing to science in the UK,
  • to lecturing to hundreds of students getting degrees in Geography (including one Rachel Collier at the University of Gloucestershire in 1991 – wonder what happened to her…)
  • and being (I’m sure) a valued part of the Geography Department at QMUL.

Excuse me, I have to go off and be ridiculously proud.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 13th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)

Maybe this is why I never made it in academia. Because I always wanted to be a writer, and I was scribbling away at my fiction instead of grinding out endless paper after paper after paper...

But... How can you be 'too nice' to be a Reader? Does that mean that all Readers must be vicious and evil and plagerise their students' work?

Mind you, my superviser wasn't very nice. And he's now a Reader. [ Or is he now a Professor?] Met him at a conference a couple of years back, said 'hi!' after not bumping into him for 8 years or so, and he didn't even bother to come up and say 'hello, how are you doing?' An amazing academic, but a lousy human being...

Sometimes I think I got my Ph.D in spite of him, instead of because of him.
Aug. 13th, 2011 04:47 pm (UTC)
Many congratulations to your husband!

Producing solid pieces of research takes an awful lot of work, so he richly deserves the accolade.
Aug. 13th, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
Share with him "atta-boy" and "kudos" from Cincinnati, Ohio.
Aug. 14th, 2011 12:44 am (UTC)
This is really good news. Congratulations to Simon.
Aug. 14th, 2011 04:15 am (UTC)
Congratulations to your husband, Simon! You are both richly deserving of being "ridiculously proud."

I hope you get to celebrate in grand style!
Aug. 14th, 2011 08:56 am (UTC)
Congratulations to Simon!
Aug. 14th, 2011 03:10 pm (UTC)
Very impressive - well done, it sounds very well deserved :)
Nov. 1st, 2011 03:33 am (UTC)
It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

Nov. 1st, 2011 08:59 am (UTC)
Great read! I wish you could follow up to this topic

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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