In 1924 Edmund Clifton Stoner (1899–1966), a 24-year-old research student at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, sought a university post in physics. Having previously studied at Cambridge as an undergraduate, Stoner was nearing the end of three years' postgraduate research under Professor Sir Ernest Rutherford's supervision. 1924 was not, however, an auspicious time to seek employment since vacancies in university physics departments were scarce. Rutherford showed a kindly interest in Stoner's career and summoned him to his residence – Newnham Cottage – one Friday afternoon in March. Acknowledging Stoner's diabetes as a major concern, he ‘pointed out that I [Stoner] really wanted a job where I could take things fairly easily… He, of course, is prepared to “back me up” & was really very charming, though not very useful in any definite way.’ Subsequent visits to the Appointments Board proved ‘quite fruitless’. Stoner declined to apply for a post at Armstrong College, Newcastle, and only in mid-July did he hear of two more attractive positions. The first, at Durham University, was advertised in the press. Rutherford, who was ‘Affable – pleased with my work(!)’, advised him to apply. Interviewed together with several other candidates, Stoner was unsuccessful but not greatly disappointed. The other post, at the University of Leeds, was brought to his attention by Rutherford.