Geology Reference
In-Depth Information
Surprisingly, considering the religious connections of the
university, daily attendance at chapel was not compulsory, and
men and women undergraduates mixed freely except in the
more regulated activities such as sport. Most of the students
were training to be teachers, in fact, if scholarship students did
not go on to this profession they would have to pay back their
grant at the rate of £25 a year for the first ten years of their
working life. Geology was not a major option in the first year,
although the majority of chemistry or physics students took it
as an auxiliary course. These first year geology classes became
increasingly popular as Dr Holmes' reputation for being an
inspired lecturer spread throughout the university. He had a
lucid and exciting way of putting his subject across to the unini-
tiated that never failed to motivate his audience and, because he
kept so up to date with current developments, they had the thrill
of living on the frontiers of discovery. In particular he would
give them regular updates on the age of the Earth, announcing
with exaggerated gravity 'Today the age of the Earth is . . .'. He
even attracted art students to come and listen, just for the
pleasure of hearing him talk.
In addition, Holmes was considered a very 'fair' man by his
students. As part of their final degree exams all students, regard-
less of the subject they were studying, had an examination in
scripture knowledge that was set by the Bishop, but marked by
the Head of Department. One year the question was, 'What
significance do you attach to the minor prophets?'. When a
student simply answered 'NONE', Holmes gave him full
marks! Not because he was an atheist himself, but because he
considered that the student had answered the question he had
been set, and that the examiner was at fault for not setting the
question he wanted answered. But Holmes was not only a good
teacher, he was also kind and caring towards his students.
Genuinely interested in what they wanted to do, he helped them
wherever he could. As a result, some gave up their intended first
subject and went on to specialise in geology in their second year,
Search WWH ::

Custom Search