In September 2012, eight alumni from the Molecular Sciences (MolSci) course 1967 to 1970 met to mark the 45th anniversary of their Warwick matriculation. Out of the 35 course students, 19 responded to an invitation, and 17 expressed an interest in a reunion. Several would-be participants were prevented from attending due to work commitments or travel, since the MolSci 1967 group have by now spread themselves around the world to Canada, USA, Australia, and Germany. Ultimately only eight former students were able to attend, but the reunion group finally numbered fifteen including spouses and partners.
The group met over a weekend at the Scarman House conference centre. With the September sun shining, it was very reminiscent of arriving at the University for the first time all those years ago – complete with some apprehension about what we would find. Would we still get on with old friends, how would we get on with spouses/partners, and would we even recognise former friends?
In the event there was no need for anyone to worry. The first possible hurdle – recognising former friends – did not materialise. It was quite astounding that although hair was generally greyer, at least for the men, overall appearances and mannerisms had changed little over 45 years. Although we may not have recognised each other on a busy street, in the confines of the meeting there were no doubts. Getting on with each other was also no problem, and after a short time it was almost as if we had last seen each other the day before rather than 45 years ago.
After chatting over tea and biscuits during the afternoon and a drink in the bar, at 19:30 we went into the restaurant to eat. There was a good choice of dishes, and everyone found something to their liking. Finally at about 11:30 – for most people somewhat earlier than in our undergraduate days – the evening ended.
After breakfast on Sunday we all walked over to the Chemistry Building, where Professor Rob Deeth had kindly agreed to give us a short talk about the University and current research, and a tour of the laboratories. The talk was expertly tailored to the groups needs and wishes, and Professor Deeth said that he pitched the science just as he would for new undergraduates! His talk provoked many questions, including some from the non chemists. Therefore somewhat belatedly we set out on the tour around the department, where various machines were shown and explained. However the highlight of the tour for many was a walk around the undergraduate laboratories. Those who had developed a career in other fields were astonished by the sophistication of the chemistry practicals and the total absence of that ‘smell’ we all associated with the chemistry laboratories in days gone by! Despite this, the sight of fume cupboards and benches full of equipment brought back vivid memories of days spent there as undergraduates.
After coffee back in the lounge of Scarman House the meeting broke up – but not before several people had suggested meeting again in five years time. We'll see.
Konstanz, October 2012