[TUHS] Dennis Ritchie's Dissertation

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Sun Aug 2 03:48:42 AEST 2020

On Sat, Aug 1, 2020 at 12:44 PM Dan Cross <crossd at gmail.com> wrote:

On Sat, Aug 1, 2020 at 11:09 AM John P. Linderman <jpl.jpl at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The use of honorifics was subtly discouraged at the Labs.
I think this is true, or at least used to be true, everywhere between the
East and California, where it was typical for tertiary students to address
their teachers with the ordinary titles of Mr., Mrs., and Miss (now Ms.
too, most likely).  I once heard of an organization named "The Society for
Calling University Professors 'Mister'".

Occasionally I teach a session of a graduate course somewhere or another;
> less occasionally I get emails from students who attended the lecture. I
> always find it flattering and amusing when they variously refer to me as
> "Dr" or "Prof": I am neither,

I have a standard reply to that when it comes from people who know nothing
about me:  "Neither doctor nor master nor even bachelor am I, but plain
John of New Avalon.  :-)"  New Avalon is of course more usually known as
the Big Apple.  I use that and my middle name as my Twitter username (now
long idle), @woldemar_avalon.

> About half of the people in the immediate vicinity of my office have PhDs.

I have four siblings and two parents with doctorates, while I myself remain
untitled (as shown above).   When I was a kid and answered the phone, and
someone asked for either Professor Cowan or Doctor Cowan, I would carefully
ask "Do you mean Professor Thomas or Professor Marianne?"   My mother
wanted me to say "Do you want my mother or my father?", but I rejected this
as below the dignity of a telephone receptionist.

A particular impedance mismatch is when someone has a PhD in a completely
> unrelated field:

Many people have advanced degrees in English (or another language) or
library science but also a programming background: they tend to wind up in
the digital humanities because their original fields aren't hiring.

John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
I should say generally that that marriage was best auspiced, for the
achievement of happiness, which contemplated a relation between a man and a
woman in which the independence was equal, the dependence mutual, and the
obligations reciprocal.
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