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Distinguished Lecture Series

Hinsley Memorial Lectures

This annual lecture takes place in memory of Sir Francis Harry Hinsley (1918-1998), a former student and later Master of the College (1979-1989) and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge (1981-1983). Harry Hinsley worked as a cryptanalyst at Bletchley Park during the Second World War and was a leading figure in the history of international relations. St John's College hosts the Hinsley Memorial Lecture on an international relations topic every year, usually in November, and all members of the University are warmly invited to attend.

  • 2015 - General Sir Mike Jackson, General Reflections: a look at UK defence in an era of Middle East turmoil, an adventurist Russia and a burgeoning refugee crisis in Europe
  • 2014 - Professor Timothy Garton Ash, “Internetional Relations”: The Struggle for Power Over the Internet in a Post-American World
  • 2013 - Professor Stephen Walt, Follies and Fiascos: Why US Foreign Policy Keeps Failing
  • 2012 - Dr Fraser Cameron, Power and the Pursuit of Peace – An EU Dream or Illusion?
  • 2011 - Sir Bryan Cartledge, The death of diplomacy?
  • 2010 - The Rt Hon The Lord David Trimble, Lessons from Northern Ireland
  • 2009 - Professor Ian Clark, Can there be a single great power?
  • 2008 - Professor Paul Kennedy, Allied Intelligence and the “Front End” of War, 1939-1945
  • 2007 - Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, Intelligence failure and the logic of conflict
  • 2005 - Professor Peter Hennessy, The last customer: British intelligence and the British historian
  • 2003 - Sir Stephen Lander, International intelligence co-operation: a modern perspective
  • 2002 - Dr Daniel Yergin, The age of globality
  • 2001 - Lord Healey, The new world disorder
  • 2000 - Professor Adam Roberts, The so-called right of humanitarian intervention
  • 1999 - Lord Hurd, The claims of justice in the making of foreign policy

Linacre Lectures

The annual Linacre Lecture, delivered by a leading research scientist in the general field of medicine, was established by a benefaction from Thomas Linacre (c. 1460 - 1524). The lectures are open to all members of the University and are usually held in April or May. A list of lectures since 1991 can be found below.

  • 2016 - Professor Lord Krebs, How what we eat can help save the planet and our health
  • 2015 - Professor Sharon Peacock, Antimicrobial Resistance in the Genomic Era
  • 2014 - Professor Dr Franz-Ulrich Hartl, Molecular Chaperones - Guardians of the Proteome
  • 2013 - Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Improving the Health of the World
  • 2012 - Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, Genetic Fingerprinting and the Turbulent Genome
  • 2011 - Professor Chris Dobson, New Approaches to Understanding and Preventing Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • 2010 - Dr Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, How the Ribosome Decodes the Genetic Message
  • 2009 - Professor Jean-Marie Lehn, A Journey in the World of Molecules
  • 2008 - Professor Herman Waldmann, Policing the Immune System
  • 2007 - Professor Roger Pedersen, Understanding Stemness
  • 2006 - Professor Frances Ashcroft, Unravelling Diabetes: from Molecule to Malady
  • 2005 - Professor David Barker, The growth of children who develop coronary heart disease in later life
  • 2004 - Professor Stephen O’Rahilly, Obesity and the hard-wiring of human appetite
  • 2003 - Professor Edwin Southern, DNA, Darwin and Disease
  • 2002 - Sir David Lane, Discovering New Therapies for Cancer
  • 2001 - Professor Kay Davies, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Past, Present and Future
  • 2000 - Professor Salvador Moncada, Nitric Oxide: from atmospheric pollutant to universal biological mediator
  • 1999 - Professor Wyllie, Apotopsis: Cell Death in Living Tissues
  • 1998 - Professor Colin Blakemore, Development of the Cerebral Cortex: A Recipe for Medical Disaster
  • 1997 - Professor Sir John Gurdon, Redirection of Cell Fate, and Prospects for Cell Replacement: from Clones to Signals
  • 1996 - Professor Baruch Blumberg, Medical Research in the Next Millennium
  • 1995 - Dame Anne McLaren, Social Equity
  • 1994 - Professor George Radda, A Biochemist’s View of Human Disease through Magnetism
  • 1993 - Professor Sir Roy Calne, The Present State and Future Prospects of Organ Transplantation
  • 1992 - Sir Donald Acheson, A Pale House in Whitehall
  • 1991 - Dr Sydney Brenner, Simple Thoughts on Complex Genomes

Dirac Lectures

The annual Dirac Lecture was established jointly by St John's College and the University of Cambridge's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. Paul Dirac came to St John’s in 1923 to read for a PhD in Mathematical Physics, and was a Fellow of the College until his death in 1984. He made valuable contributions to the early development of quantum mechanics and quantum electrodynamics, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933 jointly with Erwin Schrödinger “for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory.” The lectures are usually held in May.

  • 2015 - Professor Sir Michael Atiyah, What is an Electron?
  • 2014 - Professor Peter Goddard, Paul Dirac and the Development of Quantum Theory
  • 2013 - Professor François Englert, The Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism and its scalar boson
  • 2012 - Professor John Ellis, Is the end of the Standard Model nigh?
  • 2011 - Professor Ludwig Faddeev, The Nature of True Mathematical Physics
  • 2010 - Professor Leo P. Kadanoff, Phase Transitions: Scaling, Universality and Renormalization
  • 2009 - Professor Alexander Polyakov, From Plato to Quarks and Back
  • 2008 - Professor Frank Wilczek, New Kinds of Quantum Statistics
  • 2007 - Professor Michael Berry, Hamilton's Diabolical Symmetry
  • 2006 - Professor Jeffrey Goldstone, Broken Symmetry
  • 2005 - Professor Ashoke Sen, Black Holes and the Spectrum of String Theory
  • 2004 - Professor David Olive, The Eternal Magnetic Monople
  • 2003 - Professor Freeman Dyson, Reasons why Planets may not the best places to look for Life
  • 2002 - Monica Dirac, My Father
  • 2002 - Edward Witten, The Search for Supersymmetry
  • 2002 - Michael Atiyah, The Mystery of Spin
  • 2002 - Professor Stephen Hawking, Gödel and the end of Physics
  • 2002 - Professor Peter Goddard, Beauty in the Equations: Aspects of Dirac's Life and Work
  • 2001 - Cancelled
  • 2000 - Professor Tom Kibble, Cosmology in the Laboratory
  • 1999 - Professor David Gross, From QED to QCD
  • 1998 - Professor Bruno Zumino, Supersymmetry and the Dirac Monopole
  • 1997 - Gerard t'Hooft, The dark side of Black Holes and Elementary Particle Physics
  • 1995 - Professor Abraham Pais, Paul Dirac: Aspects of his life and work
  • 1995 - Professor Kip Thorne, General Relativity: Looking to the Future
  • 1994 - Professor Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Soft Interfaces
  • 1993 - Professor Sidney Coleman, Quantum Mechanics with the gloves off
  • 1992 - Professor Rudolf Peierls, Broken Symmetries
  • 1991- Professor Edward Witten, Quantum Gravity in Various Dimensions
  • 1990 - Professor Murray Gell-Mann, Simplicity and Complexity
  • 1988 - Professor John Bell, First and Second Class Difficulties in Quantum Mechanics
  • 1988 - Professor Abdus Salam, Unification of Fundemental Forces
  • 1986 - Professor Steven Weinberg, Towards the Final Laws of Physics
  • 1986 - Professor Richard Feynman, The reason for antiparticles on Google video

Lectures at the University of Hull

The annual 'St John's College Lecture' at the University of Hull has been taking place since 1932. Here is a list of lecturers from then until the present day.

  • 2016 Professor Lisboa
  • 2015 Professor Ghahramani
  • 2014 Professor Rublack
  • 2013 Professor Barker
  • 2012 Professor Lomas
  • 2011 Professor Beadle
  • 2010 Professor Goswami
  • 2009 Dr Szreter
  • 2008 Professor Woods
  • 2007 Professor Tombs
  • 2006 Professor Hutchings
  • 2005 Professor Manton
  • 2004 Professor Howard
  • 2003 Professor McCave
  • 2002 Professor Kerrigan
  • 2001 Professor Heal
  • 2000 Professor Conway Morris
  • 1999 Professor Clarke*
  • 1998 Dr Snaith
  • 1997 Professor Dasgupta
  • 1996 Professor Boyde
  • 1995 Professor Friend
  • 1994 Dr Guest
  • 1993 Mr Langhorne
  • 1992 Professor Crighton
  • 1991 Dr Lewis
  • 1990 -
  • 1989 Dr G Neale
  • 1988 Dr Linehan
  • 1987 Dr E K Matthews
  • 1986 Professor Goody
  • 1985 Dr Leake
  • 1984 Mr Hall
  • 1983 Dr Charles
  • 1982 Dr James
  • 1981 Dr Campbell
  • 1980 Professor Crook
  • 1979 Dr Perham
  • 1978 Dr Boyde
  • 1977 Professor Hinde
  • 1976 Professor Mansergh
  • 1975 Mr Watson
  • 1974 Dr Smithies
  • 1973 Mr Bambrough
  • 1972 Professor Gale
  • 1971 Mr Lee
  • 1970 Professor Lyttleton
  • 1969 Mr Farmer
  • 1968 Professor Wilkes
  • 1967 Dr Northcote
  • 1966 Dr Jackson
  • 1965 Dr Bertram
  • 1964 Mr Hinsley
  • 1963 Professor Hoyle
  • 1962 Mr H S Davies
  • 1961 Professor Sir Joseph Hutchinson
  • 1960 Mr Miller
  • 1959 Professor Ratcliff
  • 1958 Mr Howland
  • 1957 Professor Harris
  • 1956 Dr Daniel
  • 1955 Dr Palmer
  • 1954 Professor Mitchell
  • 1953 Professor Bailey
  • 1952 Professor Briggs
  • 1951 Mr Guillebaud
  • 1950 Professor Sir F L Engledow
  • 1949 Professor A Hamilton-Thompson
  • 1948 Professor Bartlett
  • 1947 Sir E V Appleton
  • 1946 Mr Cunningham
  • 1945 Professor Anderson
  • 1944 Professor Previte-Orton
  • 1943 Professor Walker
  • 1942 Professor Boys Smith
  • 1941 Professor Winfield
  • 1940 Sir A C Seward
  • 1939 Mr Charlesworth
  • 1938 Mr Wordie
  • 1937 Mr Benians
  • 1936 Dr Cockcroft
  • 1935 Dr Coulton
  • 1934 Professor G Elliott-Smith
  • 1933 Mr Glover
  • 1932 Sir Humphrey Rolleston

    * Professor Clarke was not able to lecture because of a vacancy in the Vice Chancellorship of Hull.

The Newell Classics Event

The Newell Classics Event was established in 2015, following a generous bequest from a Johnian. The aim is to celebrate all that is exciting, creative and forward-thinking in the world of Classics, and bring it to the attention of a wide public.

2016 - Ali Smith in conversation with Charlotte Higgins, Why Read the Classics?