Dear Dr Einstein,

With reference to your application for the post of Lecturer at this University, I have been asked to write to you to explain why we have been unable to offer you the appointment. You seem to be a little vague about the objectives of a university department. It is quite simple - the objectives are to obtain a five grade in the Research Assessment Exercise and an excellent grade in the Teaching Quality Assessment. Unfortunately the panel felt that appointing you would reduce the prospect of achieving either target.

The papers you submitted were most interesting, but sadly they are not the sort of thing that is likely to achieve external funding and therefore improve our norms. The Brownian motion, for example, may be an intriguing little intellectual problem, but its solution is not likely to impress a modern research council committee. As for the photo-electric effect, what possible industrial application could that have, when most of the available funding goes to industrial programmes such as LINK and ROPA? No, I regret to say that the likely outcome of an application by you to EPSRC is an alpha rating but no funding. Again your Special Theory of Relativity may be a pretty little exercise for the brain, but would it attract a CASE award? Even less promising is the fact that you have totally failed to recruit a single research student, which would play havoc with our ratings. Furthermore your persistence in publishing in obscure German journals would no help our ranking at all, since the quality of publications is now solely measured by the journals in which they appear.

As for teaching we note your abject failure to produce a set of pre-digested notes to accompany your lectures. Your rambling discourses may well provide intellectual stimulus to your students, but frankly they will not cut much ice with a TQA panel. You seem to have this strange idea that a university is some sort of ivory tower devoted to cerebration, rather than a modern, thrusting organisation dedicated to improving its norms.

In short, you would be completely out of place at this University and would present insurmountable problems to your Line Manager. I am sure that you will appreciate the difficulty she/he would have in putting anything positive in your staff appraisal forms, which would be a record of total lack of achievement.

On a more personal note, it might be helpful to you if I pointed out a couple of tactical errors you made during the interview. In trying to explain your, no doubt interesting, Theory of Relativity, you cited the example of a man on a train. I have to advise you that such gender-specific language is quite unacceptable in this University, and we would fear that the lapse might be repeated before impressionable students. What really put the kibosh on it, however, was that you persisted in smoking that smelly old pipe throughout the interview. The University will tolerate almost any sort of deviance, but up with pipes it will not put.

I know that you will take these remarks in the constructive way they are intended. Meanwhile I would advise you not to resign your post at the Patents Office.

With all good wishes

John Brignell



John Brignell, 1995




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