The ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge have long been synonymous with academic excellence. And for over 800 years they have competed in the earliest of inter-varsity rivaries, which institution came first. Years ago in producing a book of lithographs of Oxford, I wrote about this ancient sport. By AD 1167 Oxford was already a center for scholars, and by 1205, an altercation occurred between students and townsmen resulting in the death of a townsman. The townsman then turned on the students, killing a number of them. The students and scholars abandoned the city and made an exodus to another town about 160 km (100 miles) to the east, where they sowed the seeds of the other great British institution, Cambridge. But by 1209, many of the scholars returned to Oxford, the incident having left a pair of burgeoning academic institutions in their wake. The event had also given rise to what would become an animosity and suspicion between "town and gown," now seen everywhere in the world.
In 1249 the first of the colleges of Oxford, University College, was founded, and subsequently through the centuries another 40 or so colleges would follow suit. Oxford has a greater tradition of producing Prime Ministers, and Cambridge of producing great scientists, the latter if for no other reason than for launching the career of the greatest scientist of them all, Sir Isaac Newton.
I was a member of the the Department of Theoretical Physics at Oxford, accordingly, my loyalty has been more to Oxford than to Cambridge. But I have always been in awe of the scientific legacy of Cambridge, see View of the Cam and the Mathematical Bridge.
On a visit to Oxford in 2011, I was standing in front of St. Mary's Church on High Street, when I spotted a group of teenagers milling around the University of Oxford Shop across the street, shooting photos of each other, and feeling the intellectual inspiration of the setting. I certainly had felt that inspiration when I was in my early 30s and concentrating more deeply on my work than I had ever done before, or would ever do again. Certainly, my years there were during the critical time one acknowledges as peak years in creativity for a mathematician or theoretical physicist. Whereas Aristotle once identified 52 as the peak of a man's life, among mathematical scientists the age is generally accepted as 23-32.
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serp2000 (44203) 2013-12-19 20:14
Good evening, Bulent,
I think the Oxford is big dream of these young Chinese tourists. I think they are not students, right?
Amazing street scene, excellent capture of the mood. Well seen!
Best wishes from Ural,
Didi (60588) 2013-12-20 0:20
Salam my friend
Intereresting spotlights on the group with a darker background
Very interesting subject about this old university
I wish you a merry Christmas
mirosu (16227) 2013-12-20 1:08
Excellent vibrant street snapshot. I love the overall composition with group of young people in very natural position. The shop board is perfectly placed in the frame.
Very well done.
Wish you a peaceful Advent time.
Royaldevon (38860) 2013-12-20 2:36
Good Morning Bulent,
A candid shot which works so well because the students were unaware of you. You can see the how the groups have jelled into their own interests: recording, shopping, discussing and it's so interesting to see how these groups form and reform.
Your shot is very nicely composed with good clarity.
Have a lovely day,
carlo62 (48295) 2013-12-20 3:46
molto bella questa scena, la gioventù offre sempre scene allegre e simpatiche, tu l'hai ripresa molto bene, riempiendo splendidamente la foto con uno scenario adeguato ai soggetti.
snunney (99088) 2013-12-20 4:12
A most interesting note to accompany this fine daily life composition. The shop frontage makes the ideal backdrop for the group of tourists, each of which is nicely placed in the frame and has an interesting stance. Plenty to see and maintain the attention. Light, colours and sharpness are all excellent.
jhm (152938) 2013-12-20 5:20
Thank you very much for your interesting note.
Two most famous universities in world, I know that children of rich people out of Belgium still as student go to England.
Also your picture is pleasant, without youth no future.
These picture is made with good view about these area.
Very well done, TFS.
Have a nice weekend,
mcmtanyel (22660) 2013-12-20 6:57
İyi Günler Bülent Bey,
I wonder if such things as grade inflation, preparedness (or should I say unpreparedness) of incoming freshmen, retention are being discussed at Oxford, as well.
Whether Chinese or Japanese, these are teenagers from countries that the founders of the university would not dream of having at their doorstep.
rbassin (22811) 2013-12-20 7:33
une bonne prise de vue, formidable contraste entre la vitrine noire, les lumières et les adolescents sur le trottoir.
Silvio1953 (143184) 2013-12-20 12:49
Ciao Bulent, lovely composition with nice people, excellent clarity, wonderful colors and splendid light, very well done, my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio
photoray (13981) 2013-12-20 18:42
Interesting candid scene of teenagers in front of Oxford Shop, combined with your background on Oxford and Cambridge.
I attended and graduated from the State University of Los Angeles in the late 60s, a tumultuous time due to the anti Vietnam war activities. Though we could never match our rebellious cousin the University of Calif. at Berkeley. But we did prevent Dow Chemical from advertising jobs by locking them inside their trailer. Dow was the number one manufacturer of Napalm.
Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season,
Sonata11 (33831) 2013-12-21 11:21
Hi dear Bulent,
very beautiful POV and wonderfully executed image of this shop with fantastic colors, sharpness, clarity, amazing Light. Love it. I wish you and your family Happy and Merry Christmas. All the best and thanks for visiting, Barbara
resat1972 (7576) 2013-12-22 10:41
merhaba Bülent Bey
genç insanlardan oluşan harika bir fotoğraf
pozitif enerji veren bir çalışma
mesutilgim (95260) 2013-12-22 11:58
Selam sevgili Bülent dost,
Çooook döviz bıraktığım bir dükkan ! Şimdi o dövizler kitaplığımın raflarından bana yeşil yeşil gülümsüyorlar !
Zengin bilgi notları ile mükemmel bir TE katkısı.
Selam ve sevgiler
emka (97633) 2013-12-22 14:02
hello Bulent, You appear here on TE so rarely. Nice scene from oxford with the group of Chinese teenagers. They do not look like University students, rather as tourists, but who knows? good composition with sogn of this university shop. I think I prefer cambridge to Oxford nut I was only one or two days in the places. Strange but wherever I go I see the graduation and the students go around the town in traditional dresses. It was like this in Coimbra, Oxford, cambridge and lately in Dublin.
I know about this peak of mathematical creativity. I am worried that Eryk is just 32.
Best wishes to you happy holidays with family and prosperous New Year. Hugs for C.J.
kato (11630) 2013-12-22 17:48
You're capturing well this scene by a good composition and excellent tone/clarity, so it's interesting and impressive to see the spectacle in which the group of asian student are doing window-shopping or taking photo in front of the Oxford Shop. The seem to tourists. Anyway, I know that both of universities of Oxford and Cambridge is famous in the world, and produced many polititians and scentists in past and now. And, I understand that mathematical scientist or theoretical physicist is 25-35 in peak for its flexible and sharp brain.
Nicou (142130) 2013-12-23 1:54
quelle vue et compo sueprbe iamge de cette université avec les étudiants sur le pavage ce rendu de bois noir en fond merveilleux.
Bravo et amitié
rigoletto (34279) 2013-12-23 10:39
hello dear professor. your note is brilliant and a top read as always. i had never heard about the roots of rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge, wow! but it is well settled down with one, finally producing prime ministers and the other scientists (i guess, the British should be hating Oxford uni for that particular reason). i agree with malgo about the looks of the youngsters, they probably are a bunch of high school students having an Oxford orientation during their holidays, hoping to be there one day. superb cadrage and natural framing with the name plate of the shop. i also thank you for yesterday's link, it was joy to read.
imageme (1790) 2013-12-23 14:56
HI Bulent, University of Oxford, dream of many students. Those Asian tourists take this opportunity to shoot as many as pictures they could for memory purpose. You have captured their joy and dreams. Great POV and composition. Thank for sharing and Happy Holidays
Mics (968) 2013-12-26 0:06
Hello Professor Bulent,
Seeing these youngsters striking a pose in one of the corners of this famous university known to be a haven of intellectuals, I might probably do the same, even at this age, beyond the generally accepted age by mathematical scientists as the peak of man's like. Thanks for a very informative note.:-)
Merry Christmas to you and enjoy the holidays!
aliabazari (16170) 2013-12-30 19:03
Hello dear friend
Beautiful views and interesting people. I love it. Nicely done.
delpeoples (58074) 2014-01-06 1:57
Happy New Year dear Bulent
May 2014 bring you joy, health and travels. A wonderful old shop and the photo is full of life and dynamism. Your note is fascinating, aged 23-32 eh? So you're still your peak!
Thanks for sharing, have a lovely day