Mathematical Mystics at Maynooth | In the Dark


I’m indebted to my colleague David Malone for sending me this small excerpt from an old issue of the Kalendarium of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, dating back to the 1960s, which deals with the appointments of new members of staff

Halfway down you will see a reference to Mathematical Mystics!

This is obviously a mistake. It should of course be Mathematical Psychics Physics. I also think the name of the Mathematical Mystics lecturer should be Tigran Tchrakian. I think these are both transcription errors from somebody’s very bad handwriting! The current Department of Theoretical Physics at Maynooth was formerly known by the title Mathematical Physics.

There are some other points of interest. in Experimental Physics you will find mention of a young Susan Lawlor who is now better known as Susan McKenna-Lawlor, a very eminent astrophysicist who specialized in space instrumentation, now in her eighties.

I’m also amused by the existence of a lecturer in Elocution

The historical background of St Patrick’s College is that it was primarily a Catholic theological institution (founded in 1795) although it taught secular courses and was a recognized college of the National University of Ireland from 1910. It was only in the mid-1960s that it was opened to lay students, which expanded the numbers considerably. In 1997 that the secular part separated and formed NUI Maynooth (now known by the marketing people as Maynooth University). The remaining theological institution is known as St Patrick’s Pontifical University (or St Patrick’s College or just Maynooth College).

A major role for St Patrick’s College was the training of priests and I suppose it was important that priests should be well spoken, hence the lectures on elocution…

Near the top in connection with Sociology you can see the title An tAth which is the Irish language way of writing the abbreviation “Fr” for “Father”, indicating a priest; “father” is athair and the an is a definite article. Note the lower case t in front of Ath which is an example of prothesis.

Finally, right at the top of the page you can see the name Donal Linehan, which will be familiar to Irish rugby fans but I don’t know if there’s a family connection between the former Ireland intentional who is now a TV commentator and the lecturer in Roman and Civil Law.

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