One small step for three men could be a giant leap for mankind | Brief letters

Socialist specialists | Winifred Nowottny | University lectures | Branson, Bezos and Musk | Middle name confusion

Zoe Williams’ preference for a socialist dentist (What 22 years of terrible gum disease has taught me about pain, shame and politics, 12 July) reminded me of the time I chose to have my keys cut in a shop in Victoria because a sign in the window read: “Why not have your keys cut by a socialist?” It was only when I collected my keys that I realised the sign said “cut by a specialist”.
David Godfrey
Willingdon, East Sussex

• Re the value of lectures (Letters, 12 July), at University College London in the 1950s, Winifred Nowottny lectured on King Lear for 10 weeks at 9am on Fridays to a full house. Enthralled, I filled page after page with her brilliant analyses. At the end she said: “I’m afraid I have merely scratched the surface.” Never to be forgotten.
Pat Robson
Margate, Kent

• When I became a student in 1964, we were informed that a lecture was designed to transfer the notes from a lecturer’s notepad to a student’s notepad without it passing through the brain of either.
Roy Grimwood
Market Drayton, Shropshire

• The ecological footprint of space tourism could be reduced significantly if Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk got together, launched themselves into space as a threesome, and remained in orbit indefinitely (To obscurity and beyond: did Richard Branson really make it into space?, 12 July).
Joe Oldaker
Nuneaton, Warwickshire

• It’s not just surnames that can make a difference (Letters, 12 July) but middle ones as well – aged 11, I was allocated a place at my local girls’ secondary school as “Roberta”, an opportunity I sadly wasn’t able to take up.
Robert A Raven
Blackheath, London

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