Saturday, 4 July 2009

Looking Back - Teenage Genius

On this day in 1985, child prodigy Ruth Lawrence achieved a starred first in Mathematics at Oxford University. The 13-year-old was the youngest British person ever to earn a first-class degree and the youngest known graduate of Oxford University. Ruth got an A in Maths A-level aged nine.
As well as being the only student to attain that grade that year she was also one of two students to be awarded a prize and special commendation for the degree she has completed in two years instead of the usual three.
The teenager who never went to school and was tutored by her father Harry Lawrence - said that the result was much as she had expected.
Mr Lawrence has been his daughter's companion and attended all of her lectures and tutorials at university. They arrived at the Examination School together on a tandem bicycle to see her results posted on a board.
Ruth gained her PhD in 1989 and went to work at Harvard in the US. Her father went with her. From 1993, in her mid-twenties Ruth was a professor, at the university of Michigan studying knot theory. In 1998 she married a mathematician at the Hebrew University at Jerusalem - Ariyeh Neimark - who is six years younger than her father. The couple have two children. Since 1999 she has been Associate Professor of Maths at the Einstein Institute of Mathematics, part of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she is known as Ruth Lawrence-Neimark.

Click on the link below to watch a video clip of Ruth talking to Breakfast Time co-presenter Sue Cooke. (First broadcast 4 July 1985).

An Amazing Polar Meeting

Norbert Rosing's striking images of a wild polar bear
coming upon tethered sled dogs in the wilds of
Canada's Hudson Bay.

Ration Books

Walking into a supermarket today, its shelves bulging with food, from every part of the world, it is difficult to believe that 69 years ago food in Britain was rationed. Here is the story of the ration book.

During World War II all sorts of essential and non-essential foods were rationed, as well as clothing, furniture and petrol.

To make the British weak, the Germans tried to cut off supplies of food and other goods. German submarines attacked many of the ships that brought food to Britain.

Before the war Britain imported 55 million tons of food, a month after the war had started this figure had dropped to 12 million.

Rationing was introduced to make sure that everyone had a fair share of the items that were hard to get hold of during the war. Rationing was introduced at the beginning of 1940.

On National Registration Day on 29 September 1939, every householder had to fill in a form giving details of the people who lived in their house.

Using the information gathered on National Registration Day, the government issued everyone with an identity card and ration book. The books contained coupons that had to be handed to or signed by the shopkeeper every time rationed goods were bought. This meant that people could only buy the amount they were allowed.

They were books which contained coupons that shopkeepers cut out or signed when people bought food and other items. People still had to pay for the goods with money.

To make sure that everybody got a fair share. The government was worried that as food and other items became scarcer prices would rise and poorer people might not be able to afford things. There was also a danger that some people might hoard items, leaving none for others. Some people considered food rationing to be very unfair. Eggs. butter and meat could be obtained fairly easily without coupons in rural areas.

By the summer of 1941 greengrocers in the towns were taking their lorries into the country to buy vegetables direct from growers.

Fourteen years of food rationing in Britain ended at midnight on 4 July 1954, when restrictions on the sale and purchase of meat and bacon were lifted. This happened nine years after the end of the war.

Thought For Today

Love is just a word until someone you meet gives it a proper meaning.
Author Unknown

Cat Nap

(Click on image to enlarge)

Church Signs

Who Am I?

Today you are being challenged to work out the name of a famous celbrity in our Who Am I? puzzle. As usual 10 clues to help identify our mystery person.

01 I was born on 29 September 1907.
02 I appeared on radio, films and television.
03 I was born in Tioga, Texas, US.
04 I was a musician/actor.
05 I sang on the Columbia label.
06 I wrote the song 'Here Comes Santa Claus'
07 I once worked for the St Louis-San Francisco Railway.
08 I performed on the radio as Oaklahoma's Yodeling Cowboy.
09 I created the 'Cowboy Code' in response to my young fans wanting to emulate me.
10 I was famously known as the 'Singing Cowboy'.

Good luck with your answers!