Ertegun-Clarendon Dinner

Over the years, the Ertegun House has become a bastion for the Humanities. Amongst the Scholars who have benefitted from the generous scholarship there is a formidable array of specializations and skills, all augmented by the daily conversations allowing a classicist or a linguist to become immersed in film theory. This interdisciplinarity, so conducive to new insights and research leads, does not however extend to the sciences. To remedy the lack of a molecular biologist at the kitchen table, the Ertegunites dressed up for a formal dinner with the Clarendon Scholars, held under the flickering lights of Trinity College’s dinner hall.

Now, Clarendon Scholars do in fact study a wide variety of subjects, including Humanities. Yet as we lined up, all of Ertegun on one side of the long table and Clarendon across from us, I was immediately met by two chemists and a biologist. The exchange was very pleasant, and they marveled at the House; having a physical space to work in and gather at is what truly sets the Ertegun Scholarship above the others. There was talk about the division of the Humanities and the Sciences, and how events like this help bridge the gap. Connecting with other Scholars around the House has only made it more obvious how so many fields of knowledge are intertwined with each other, even when it looks like genetics and archaeology speak entirely different languages at first. By the end of dinner, friendships were started and curiosity was temporarily satiated. As we all squeezed to fit into a picture, I chatted with a Research Fellow specializing in pediatric infectious diseases and vaccinations, i.e. someone with whom I did not imagine myself talking to. And yet the conversation easily flowed from research to perspectives on education and the story of Ertegun himself, as the Fellow and many other students wanted to know more about Ahmet Ertegun—and his contribution to music and the world. In sum, the opportunity to converse with other talented scholars, mostly from disciplines alien to the House, made for a very pleasant evening and another event we are grateful to the scholarship programme for.

Stephan Nitu