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Weird conversation with someone who claimed to be a Cambridge graduated doctor

I will admit that I felt this story was funnier when I just got of the train. But now looking back, it is kind of boring. Since at least 4 people (TP, BP, SG and AC) requested the write-up, I decided to finish writing it.

I was on the train travelling home – from York to Norwich. I had to get on another train between Peterborough and Ely. A male sitting in front of me asked me if I am going to Cambridge. I told him that I am getting off at Ely, but the train is going to Cambridge.

Anyways, the following conversation ensued:

Me: So do you study in Cambridge?
JL: Yes, I am studying medicine. I am working in Addenbrookes now.

After further probing, he claimed that he was doing first year initial training after graduating from medical school. I naturally assumed that he is a F1 or F2 being patronising. Naturally I asked him which college he was from - he refused to answer. Due to the fact that I had previously studied in Cambridge, and the fact that I have stupid amount of friends who are studying medicine. I wanted to probe this person further.

I wasn't convinced that he graduated from Cambridge. In order to convince me, he showed me some of his photos with his Cambridge friends, he also showed me the radio show he hosts on Cam FM. His Cam FM programme page shows his name to be JL.

Cambridgeness test

Negative identification

This person did not pass the following Cambridgeness tests.

Engineering pennying

I told him to that I am doing a PhD in computer science. He proceeded to tell me that he likes technology, and he has friends who study engineering. He said they always bring home interesting stuff. I asked him if he has ever been “engineering pennied”. He did not understand what “engineering pennying” is. This was the first warning sign.

The engineering students in Cambridge have accessed to vices, they occasionally bend pennies so they would fit through the neck of a red wine bottle. This significantly increases difficulty of the pennying game. If one claims to hang around Cambridge engineers, and does not know the concept of “engineering pennying”, then one has most likely never hang around with Cambridge engineers.

St John's College test

Since this person refused to say which college he came from, I decided to insult him by saying that he came from St John's College.

There is an infamous saying in Cambridge - “I would rather be in Oxford than St John's”. There is apparently even a song about that, Cambridge freshers apparently occasionally sing that song outside St John's College. I know a girl who's doing / has done a PhD in Oxford, who used to go to St John's, and she was apparently quite upset by that. Therefore anyone who went to Cambridge for their undergraduate degree, who did not go to St John's, would not normally accept the claim that they are from St John's.

This person did not get the references at all. Therefore he most likely had not been in Cambridge for his undergraduate degree.

However It should be noted that this test does not apply to the Fellows who joined Cambridge later in their life. As they did not hang around with the Cambridge undergrads when they were young, they might not know. A good case is the Pembroke College Geography Director of Studies, Professor Mike Hulme.

Confounding factor


This person claims to be CamFM, and he showed me the link to his radio show. The archived snapshot of the web page with links to has shows are here:

I had never been a student radio person - I never listen to student radio. I saw that Cam FM reported on the bumps (boat races on river Cam), I made the wrong assumption that Cam FM is a Cambridge-only thing.

After I got home, I found out that Cam FM has Anglia Ruskin students as well.

Photos from Cambridge colleges with Cambridge students

This person showed me photos of him with his Cambridge friends, and they were taken at places that look like Cambridge colleges. The reason they look like Cambridge colleges is because the photos showed a court with good lawn surrounded by old buildings. They were taken in a sunny day. The situation is consistent with Cambridge garden parties in the summer.

In some of the photos, some of his friends were wearing Cambridge undergraduate gowns. These photos were most likely to had been taken after a formal from one of those more modern Cambridge colleges, as gown-wearing is not compulsory for formals in those colleges.

Speech pattern analysis

This person seemed to understand that Cambridge lecturers and supervisors never gave out answers straight away. He told me that I need to do research to understand why he wouldn't tell me which college he was from. He also told me that he tries to hide his identity on the Internet and social media - he told me that I needed to do research to understand why people tend to do that, so I remember the reason why. I have to admit this is what Cambridge supervisors tend to do.

Search on GMC database

I did threaten him that I would do a GMC search to find out if he is a doctor, when I was on the train, he did not faze at all. Now looking back, that probably indicates that he does not understand what GMC is at all, or perhaps he does not understand that you can search for doctors on GMC.

After getting off at Ely, I immediate perform a search on GMC register. The database showed that there is a doctor named N JL, who graduated from University of Leicester in 1995. He also has the “trainer” status on GMC register. Initially I thought therefore thought the person I met was Dr N JL. However neither Addenbrookes or Cambridge website indicate that JL or N JL work for them.

Therefore it is clear that the person I met was not a doctor.

Facebook Search

Of course I eventually managed to find this person's Facebook account.

It is rather surprising to be able to find his Facebook account so easily - he hasn't left much trail elsewhere on the Internet. I wonder if this indicates a lack of understanding of modern Internet, or if he is privacy conscious as he claimed. I reckon it is probably the former, as he literally has his real name on Facebook.


I believe this person is basically a random schmuck from Anglia Ruskin University, who has had some interaction with Cambridge students. As to what he studies, it is not likely to be medicine, mainly because when I threatened to search him on GMC, he had no reaction.

I believe what he did was in violation of Medical Act 1983 Part VI Section 49. More details can be found at:

In hindsight, I should have GMC searched him, right after he gave me his name. Unfortunately my mobile network service provider Three has notoriously poor reception in the countryside - I don't believe I had a good Internet connection at that point to perform the search. I also think looking at my phone and talk to people at the same time is a bit rude.


public/weird_conversation_with_someone_who_claims_to_be_a_cambridge_graduated_doctor.txt · Last modified: 2018/12/13 05:40 by fangfufu