In early September a group of just over 30 zoologists, botanists and biologists came together to celebrate having matriculated 30 years ago in 1989, reconnect with friends, and immerse ourselves in all things Oxford – both social and scientific.
- A visit to the Wytham research centre, tour of the Bee lab, Guppy lab, and Flight lab
- A walk around the woods with Prof Ben Sheldon;
- A lecture on “What happens when you add or remove predators from ecosystems?” By Prof Tim Coulson;
- A tour of the Herbaria with Prof Stephen Harris
- A walk around the Botanic Gardens also with Stephen.
We were delighted to hear from Ben about plans for the new Zoology Department – and to stress to him the importance of the coffee area, without which many of us would not have become friends 30 years ago!
We also had a series of 10-minute ‘Ted Talks’ from our year – it was lovely hearing about people’s subsequent professional life and not least how many of our year have made lasting differences to the world around us. Subjects covered included the evolution of the mammalian jaw, charity work in early childhood development, cetacean research, sustainable development and farming, cancer research, island rat eradication, behaviour change, and making a mid-career transition to science teaching.
On Saturday night we had a drinks reception and dinner in the Natural History Museum (tables under the T Rex!), and subsequently retired to the Trinity College bar; memories are hazy from this point on.
We believe this was the first time such an event has taken place; it was such a success we do hope others will consider following suit. Our follow up plans are for a field trip in 2020! It is fair to say that the friendships made in lectures, practicals, and field trips 3 decades ago have stood the test of time, as has our interest in all things biological.
Our thanks to all the researchers who gave up their valuable time for us, and to Caitlin Hamilton for all her superb organisation.