Thursday, July 24, 2008

Land surveyor becomes one of world’s oldest PhD recipients

Colonel Michael Cobb, an RICS member since 1949, has become the oldest recipient of a PhD from Cambridge University at the age of 91.

Over 40 family members joined Col Cobb at the ceremony in July, some coming from as far as Texas and Canada.

Col Cobb received his doctorate for creating The Railways of Great Britain: A Historical Atlas, taking 18 years to complete and a total of 25 years before it was published.

Dr Richard Smith, Head of Cambridge's Geography Department and one of Michael's PhD examiners, said the atlas is a remarkable piece of scholarship.

"It is a definitive record. It is not just of interest to the enthusiast but a vital tool for anyone seriously interested in the economic geography and history of Great Britain. There is nothing like it."

Originally from Devon, Col Cobb saw action in Dunkirk, north Africa and Italy.

After the end of the war in 1945, Michael began surveying for the Army, commanding survey regiments in Egypt and other places.

He retired from the Army in 1965 and worked in mapping until his retirement in 1971.
Photograph courtesy of Guann-Yeu Chin
Posted on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on 24 July 2008

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