Re: [NYT] Microsoft to Reward Its Technical Elite

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From: Koen Holtman (
Date: Wed Jul 05 2000 - 09:47:27 PDT

On Mon, 3 Jul 2000, Joachim Feise wrote:

> Chris Olds wrote:
> > > Charles Thacker
> > > ... and was granted an
> > > honorary doctorate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
> > >
> > > Butler Lampson
> > > ... and an honorary doctorate from the
> > > Eidgenoessische Techniche Hochschule, in Zurich, Switzerland.
> The MS executives don't seem to know that these names refer to the same
> University. I guess if they knew they would have standardized
> on either the English or the German name (using the English name would
> also have eliminated the typo in the German version).
> Or Thacker and Lampson have the names on their resumes in this way, and
> Ballmer just got it from there.
> Ok, enough nitpicking for now ;-)

To nitpick your nitpick:

There are actually two entities called 'Swiss Federal Institute of
Technology', one in Lausanne (EPFL) and one in Zurich (ETHZ). They have
some organisational ties but as they are both universities I believe that
in honorary degree granting they are separate.

I have no idea which one Charles Thacker got the honorary doctorate from.

The Lausanne one (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) is most often
called by its English name 'Swiss Federal Institute of Technology,
Lausanne'. The reason for this is that not many people would pass up the
chance to use the word 'Eidgenoessische'.

'Eidgenoessische', by the way, is German for 'belonging to the
'Eidgenossenschaft'', meaning that the university was founded by the
'Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft' which is a German term for the Swiss
confederation. Literally 'Eidgenoessische' means 'of the people/entities
who have taken an oath together'.

> -Joe


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