What a fascinating story of tolerance, compassion and cultural exchange! ‘The Germans in Oxford’ (Oxford Today, Michaelmas 2014, pp. 36–43) is a brilliant account of the power of education to unite people, and in particular, German students with Oxford University, a proud tradition that continues today.
I would like to point out that the German presence in Oxford has always been fascinating and compelling. One very memorable anecdote:
During the rise of Nazism, Jewish scientists in Germany either lost their jobs or went abroad for university posts. One of these scientists was quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger, who wanted to work at Oxford, but one condition — he wished to live with two women at once, his wife and his mistress! College authorities frowned upon his open relationship and barred him from the University.
I wonder, if Schrödinger were to apply now, would Oxford still bar him?
While I am speaking about renowned scientists, let me take this opportunity to present a challenge to Oxford.
Why, fellow Oxonians, must you allow Cambridge to get all the credit for Stephen Hawkings’ education? I am talking about the current film, The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne as the young Hawking. This film (brilliant, by the way, and featuring Oxonian Felicity Jones, Wadham College, 2006), fails to give Oxford credit for providing a solid foundation for Hawking’s education (University College, 1959).
I am calling all current and would-be Oxonian filmmakers to create a film about Stephen Hawking’s time at Oxford. (He could possibly give Rob Lowe a run for his money in a funnier version of Oxford Blues!) It appals me that so many people here in New Jersey — and the rest of the galaxy — think that Hawking was solely a Cambridge man. Please, please tell the world the wonderful story of Hawking the Oxonian!