THE PRIME minister has appointed the first Indian academic to head an Oxbridge college, writes Harriet Swain.
Amartya Sen, professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University, will become master of Trinity College, Cambridge, in the New Year. He succeeds Sir Michael Atiyah who retires in September.
Professor Sen was born in India in 1933 and educated at Calcutta University and the University of Cambridge. After teaching economics at Calcutta, he was elected to a prize fellowship of Trinity in 1957 and went on to serve there as a staff fellow. He became an honorary fellow of the college in 1991.
He has been a professor at Delhi University, the London School of Economics and Oxford, where he was Drummond professor of political economy, and a fellow of All Souls College. Other roles include presidencies of the International Economic Association, the Indian Association and the American Economic Association.
He is married to Emma Roths- child, who is a fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and has three daughters and a son. The fact that his wife teaches at Cambridge, where he has a home, will make the move from Harvard relatively easy, said Professor Sen. He hopes to combine mastership of Trinity with finishing a book on rationalism.
Trinity, Cambridge, is unusual among Oxbridge colleges in having a master appointed by Number Ten rather than the fellows.
Sir Michael said: "He is a very distinguished economist and philosopher. He is an excellent choice and I hope the college will appreciate having him."