Ask Uncle Colin: Why don’t you use ‘Dr’ on your books?

Ask Uncle Colin is a chance to ask your burning, possibly embarrassing, maths questions -- and to show off your skills at coming up with clever acronyms. Send your questions to colin@flyingcoloursmaths.co.uk and Uncle Colin will do what he can.

Dear Uncle Colin,

Is there a reason you don’t use "Dr" in your author name?

- Presumably Has Doctorate

Hi, PHD! Thanks for your question.

Yes, there are several reasons.

The one I usually give is that my bank calls me Dr Beveridge and it makes me uneasy.

It's also slightly dubious professionally to use it outside of an academic context (my doctorate isn't in the kind of maths I write books about, so I feel it's borderline). I reckon it also puts a bit of distance between me and the reader, which I don't want - I'd rather be a knowledgeable peer [[No! Not Baronet Beveridge of Bincombe! The other kind of peer.]] than an authority.

There's also the "people who use their academic qualifications as part of their author name are often peddling nonsense" excuse - not to mention "If Bertrand Russell and Richard Feynman didn't use their Dr, neither should I."

- Uncle Colin

Colin

Colin is a Weymouth maths tutor, author of several Maths For Dummies books and A-level maths guides. He started Flying Colours Maths in 2008. He lives with an espresso pot and nothing to prove.

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I teach in my home in Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth.

It's a 15-minute walk from Weymouth station, and it's on bus routes 3, 8 and X53. On-road parking is available nearby.

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