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Back page gossip from the 12 July issue of Research Fortnight

Strong and stable The historian David Cannadine has succeeded the economist Nicholas Stern as president of the British Academy. Judging by his inaugural performance last week, the next two years could be quite entertaining. Introducing Jo Johnson at a UK Research and Innovation event on 4 July, Cannadine said he was pleased that Johnson had been returned to his former post as universities and science minister. “Strength and stability has been bandied about rather cavalierly,” he told the audience. “But it is very apt with this appointment.” For his part, Johnson joked that he had been appointed to the same job three times in the past 23 months.

Face time Cannadine is professor of history at Princeton University, which may explain why he has yet to familiarise himself with the other three national academy heads. During a Q&A session at the same UKRI event, Cannadine invited a question from “the gentleman in the front”. It fell to a somewhat red-faced Mark Walport to point out, subtly, that the said individual was no less than Nobel laureate Venki Ramakrishnan, president of the Royal Society.

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