A spelling mistake in ancient Greek on the doors to the Cambridge University classics faculty has left officials red-faced.
The stylish new entrance to the £1.3 million extension at the department, on the university’s Sidgwick site, boasts glass doors emblazoned with a quote by Aristotle, chosen by academics from the faculty.
But the quote – which translates as “all men by nature desiring to know” – includes the letter S, when it should in fact have the Greek letter sigma.
Prof Mary Beard, a member of the department, also criticised the electronic opening mechanism of the doors.
In her blog, she wrote: “Even the gods have shown their disapproval in their own inimitable way.
“We decided to have some nice ancient writing across the offending doors (partly another health and safety requirement – you can’t have plain glass doors in case someone bumps into them – I kid you not).
“One of the quotes we chose was that famous lines of Aristotle about ‘all men by nature desiring to know’. But look what happened to the S of ‘Phusei’ (by nature) . . . an English S not a Greek S.”
Prof Beard said the doors were too heavy for some people to push open manually – causing “rage and bottle necks” for staff and students.
The classicist said: “To open them, you have to press an electronic ‘open door’ button – and they then sweep aside dramatically in front of you. Dramatically and slowly. So, at busy times (like, on the hour, when lectures are changing over), there is a mass of bodies trying to get into and out of the building, but needing to wait for the stately pace of the doors’ operation.
“In any case, as soon as you push them open and then someone pushes the button from the other side, the doors take on a life of their own and come back and attack you.
“And as if that wasn’t enough, they repeatedly stop working anyway.”
The two-storey extension sparked a row with the nearby faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies when plans were announced. Prof Richard Bowring, a professor in Japanese studies, described the design as “far from being an elegant solution”, and predicted a “blind corner” at the site would lead to a “nasty accident”.
But Prof Malcolm Schofield, chairman of the classics faculty board, described it as “ingenious and elegant”.
The university declined to comment.
via Cambridge News | New doors are all Greek to classics department.
… kind of reminds me of the plaque I read every time I have a health and safety meeting at our union office. In very large letters we read “IN MEMORIUM” … shudder (ad nauseum (cuz I’m ‘sic’ of course) …
More coverage (you’d think there’d be a bit more creativity in headlines):