## Thursday, October 1, 2009

### Who Will Succeed Hawking?

Now that he is 67 years old, it is Cambridge University policy that Stephen Hawking relinquish his title of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics and so, he resigned that post yesterday but he did not retire from Cambridge University. This event raises the question "Who will succeed him?"

If you're thinking of applying, here are the R-massaged stats on previous appointments:

                        Name Born Died1              Isaac Barrow 1630 16772          Sir Isaac Newton 1643 17273           William Whiston 1667 17524       Nicholas Saunderson 1682 17395               John Colson 1680 17606             Edward Waring 1736 17987              Isaac Milner 1750 18208          Robert Woodhouse 1773 18279             Thomas Turton 1780 186410  Sir George Biddell Airy 1801 189211          Charles Babbage 1791 187112              Joshua King 1798 185713        Sir George Stokes 1819 190314        Sir Joseph Larmor 1857 194215               Paul Dirac 1902 198416      Sir James Lighthill 1924 199817          Stephen Hawking 1942 NAN> apage # at time of appointment [1] 34 26 35 29 59 24 48 47 42 25 37 41 30 46 30 45 37> summary(apage)   Min. 1st Qu.  Median    Mean 3rd Qu.    Max.   24.00   30.00   37.00   37.35   45.00   59.00>   paste("Youngest:", lpdata$Name[which.min(age)], ...)[1] "Youngest: Edward Waring (24), 6th appoinment"...[1] "Oldest: John Colson (59), 5th appoinment" Curiously, there are several times when the required retirement age was exceeded. > lpdata$Name[which(retage>67,arr.ind=TRUE)][1]  John Colson        Isaac Milner       Sir George Stokes  Sir Joseph Larmor

Before you dust off your resume, however, there are a couple of things worth contemplating:
• All appointments so far, have been an inside job.
• There's some speculation that it might help to be a woman this time.