He went on : “There just hasn’t been the intestinal fortitude to do what many universities in Britain have done - institute a performance review based on standard criteria not to do with age. Cambridge finds that awkward so they’re taking the path of least resistance. Their view is that the only energy is with young people. That’s very out of date. I can identify lots of people right now in their thirties who should leave. A lot of us are running five miles a day, and could go on working until 100."
“I decided that life was too short to fight it.”
Sir John was :
* Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University
* President of the International Mathematical Union, an international non-governmental organization devoted to international cooperation in the field of mathematics across the world, from 2003–06
* a Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford.
* knighted in the New Year Honours list for 2006 for 'Services to Science'
He said that he was not bitter but felt that the University was going to suffer if it maintained the policy : “I think in the higher reaches of the administration they realise the legal situation is dodgy. Whatever you think of the morality of the situation it doesn’t make any sense to have less good employment conditions than your competitors. If you’re in your late fifties or early sixties and at Oxford with the capacity to move, why wouldn’t you? And how can Oxford attract such people if they realise they can work longer somewhere else? We already know of cases where this is happening.”
This Sir John was
* from 1986 to 1991, Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain
* in 1987 televised by the BBC televised giving his 'Royal Institution Christmas Lectures' on crystals, continuing the tradition of lectures for children started by Faraday in 1826
* knighted in 1991 for 'Services to Chemistry and the Popularisation of Science'
* from 1993 to 2002, Master of Peterhouse, the oldest college at Cambridge and Honorary Distinguished Research Associate in the Department of Material Science
* given twenty honorary degrees from Australian, British, Canadian, Chinese, Dutch, Egyptian, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and U.S. universities
* was joined in celebration of his 75th birthday, by Angela Merkel at Cambridge
A colleague of Sir John said: “Many very good, over-67 people in Cambridge are no longer ‘allowed’ to give lectures and influence enthusiastic undergraduates, while at the same time being asked, and paid, to give well- received lectures all over the world.”