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81. Gabriel Barton (LGB 1952)

Posted By Alumni Office, lundi, 8 décembre 2014

Gabriel Barton(Gabriel Blau)

1. How long did you spend at Ecolint?

2. How did you come to attend Ecolint in the first place?
As a refugee.

3. Which teacher had the biggest impact on you and how?
Impressions even more lasting than those of my subject-teachers were left by the bracingly benign personalities of Monsieur Stump (in charge of the Villa), of Chef Schaller, and of Madame Travaletti.

4. What was your favourite spot on campus and why?
The courtyard in front of the main building (for free-and-easy socializing), and, for obvious reasons, the library.

5. What was your favourite place in the wider region, and why?
Not mobile enough to sample it.

6. Describe your life today, where you live and what you do.
I am a professor (now emeritus) of theoretical physics at the University of Sussex, living nearby, close to Lewes;  have enjoyed  some of the associated teaching; and enjoy continuing research undistracted by requests to fill in forms and to quantify unquantifiables.   

7. What should be Ecolint's top priority as it approaches its 100th anniversary?
Having watched student numbers in other institutions climb from a few hundred into the thousands, I wonder about the problems of preserving the ambience, outward-looking yet secure, that was so miraculous about Ecolint early post-war.

8. What "words of wisdom" would you pass on to today's Ecolint students?
I am short of wisdom, but  would commend (1) the un-Marxist view that one must understand a lot about the world to change any of it  for the better; and (2) the aspiration, in the words of one of Marguerite Yourcenar’s protagonists, de se garder « de faire de la vérité une idole, préférant lui laisser son nom plus humble d'exactitude ».

9. What has been the biggest impact of your Ecolint education on your life?
The experience that it is possible at least to try and see people and issues not incapacitatingly encumbered by the peculiarities of their background and of my own (native or acquired); and learning French, plus some of its habits of thought.



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