Those who can

July 12, 2018

The article “Mr Chips with everything?” (Features, 5 July) explored the relationship between research and teaching.

When I was invited for an interview for an undergraduate place at University College, Cardiff (now Cardiff University), we were shown around and introduced to some of the academics, one of whom was showing off a book that he had just published. When it came to the formal interview, he was a member of the panel and asked what I thought academics did when not teaching.

“Write books to impress prospective students!” was my response – and I got an unconditional offer.



Whether leading researchers are “good” teachers slightly misses the point. I still value the fact that, as an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge, I was taught by world-leaders. Some of them were also excellent teachers and some were dreadful.

But, for me, the whole point of university was to be challenged and to get some idea of how real mathematicians think. University is not school.


Send to

Letters should be sent to:
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.
View terms and conditions.

Please login or register to read this article

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments