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Exceptional students receive Larmor Awards

The recipients received their awards from the Master of St John’s, Professor Chris Dobson, shortly before General Admission on 28 June. Charles Vitry (far left) who won last year, but was unable to attend the ceremony, also received his award.

Six brilliant students from St John’s have been honoured with Larmor Awards, a prize given annually to graduating junior members in recognition of “intellectual qualifications, moral conduct, or practical activities.”

Named after the 20th-century physicist and mathematician, Sir Joseph Larmor, who was both a student and Fellow of the College, the awards are a unique honour given to students of St John’s for all-round excellence, on the recommendation of a committee comprising both senior academics and their fellow students.

The presentation takes place in the Master’s Lodge on the morning of General Admission – the day when most students in their final term graduate. Many former recipients have gone on to enjoy high-profile success in a wide range of different fields. Previous winners include the gold-medal winning international lacrosse player Laura Plant; British Consul-General to Istanbul, Judith Slater;  Jonathan Miller of Beyond The Fringe fame; the former England Cricket Captain Mike Brearley; the historian Peter Hennessy and the organist and conductor Stephen Cleobury.

Professor Chris Dobson, the Master of St John’s College, said: “The Larmor awards are my favourite event of the year because it is really a unique opportunity to recognise the talents, brilliance and charm of the very best of all our talented, brilliant and charming students. It is also a great opportunity to embarrass the winners in front of their parents and friends.”

This year’s winners are as follows:

David Bossanyi, Natural Sciences (Backwell Secondary School, Bristol)

David leaves St John’s with an exceptional academic record, having gained first class results in all four years of his studies at Cambridge, along with two Wright Prizes (awarded for performing to a particularly high standard in examinations) and a College Prize. Throughout his course he undertook internships which helped him to carry out further scientific work, at Renewable Energy Systems Ltd., the Bath University Photonics Group, and Bristol University’s Atmospheric Chemistry Research Group. He managed to combine his academic interests with various sporting activities, representing St John’s at both football and ultimate Frisbee – and captaining a Cuppers-winning side in the latter. David is also an accomplished musician. He plays double bass with a small, College-based jazz group, as well as with a wide range of music societies around Cambridge.

Tanmay Dixit, Natural Sciences (Manchester Grammar School)

Tanmay has shown himself to be a first-class student in all senses throughout his time at St John’s. He has taken the opportunity to engage in research work, getting involved in a variety of projects studying Heliconius butterflies in Panama (under Professor Chris Jiggins) and birds at the Sainsbury Laboratory. A research article based on one of his third-year projects is to be published in an academic journal. Next year he is going to Africa to carry out various research projects involving birds while considering his options for PhD work. Tanmay has also been active in College life, getting involved in telethon fundraising, in recruitment activity during open days, and in student societies as Secretary of the Science Society, and Vice President of the Cambridge Nature Society. At the age of eight, Tanmay was the youngest ever contestant on the Channel 4 programme Countdown and during his time at Cambridge he has been keenly engaged in quiz competitions, captaining an Inter-College quiz team.

Jonah Hauer-King, Theology, (Eton College)                            

Jonah is an outstanding actor, during the last year he has worked with Kenneth Branagh (at the Garrick Theatre) and is in two films that will be released later this year (“Ashes in the Snow” and “The Last Photograph”)- in addition to starring in various student productions including “Grease”. “I suspect Jonah has an amazingly successful career ahead of him” said Professor Dobson, “not least because he has an amazingly successful career behind him”.  In addition, Jonah’s highly disciplined approach to his studies means that he is graduating with first-class honours and an outstanding mark on his dissertation, which is likely to be published. Throughout his time at the College Jonah has also been helpful and considerate towards his fellow students and has handled his success with maturity. Jonah has been exemplary in keeping all his University and College commitments going whilst taking part in his acting and filming activities.

Julia Hwang, Music, (Clifton College)

 “Julia is one of the most talented and able students ever to have read Music at St John's College” said Professor Chris Dobson, “and in 500 years that is really quite something”.   Julia is an outstanding student and a remarkable ambassador for St John’s College. She has already reached an international level in violin performance and has undeniable potential for further achievement. Julia has just recorded a CD – “Subito” – becoming the first solo artist to release an album under the St John’s College record label, and she has been adding concert after concert, many of which have taken place at St John’s itself, to her impressive curriculum vitae. Julia has also dedicated much of her time to charity work, putting on concerts for the benefit of the charity BRACE, which funds research into Alzheimer’s disease. She has also been a model student in her academic subjects, “a fact which is especially astonishing when she has been busy starring in concerts around the world” added Professor Dobson. “She has demonstrated intelligence, dedication and dazzling technical skill.”   

Katurah Morrish, Education with English and Drama (St Cecilia's CE School, Wandsworth, London)

A keen actress, Katurah combined her enthusiasm for drama with a passion for teaching during her time at St John’s. Her stage appearances included a recent role as Queen Isabella in the Marlowe Society production of Edward II which received excellent reviews. Away from the theatre, Katurah used the College’s summer bursary scheme to fulfil a long-term ambition to teach English overseas in both Japan and India. Working with the charity Peace Child, she spent part of her last long vacation teaching English in Banjaraplaya, a remote part of Bangalore far from the beaten tourist trail, where even getting to school can sometimes be difficult for local children. Katurah helped to develop these children’s confidence in writing, reading and speaking English. “I know that I and many others were really inspired by hearing about her experiences there,” Professor Dobson said. She leaves Cambridge with a first class degree and hopes to pursue further teaching opportunities as well as a career in acting.                       

Theo Sharrock, Natural Sciences (St Bede’s College, Manchester)

Theo’s outstanding academic record, evidenced by his consistent run of first class results in exams as well as an assortment of scholarships and College prizes, led his tutor to describe him as “one of the finest students throughout his time here”. He achieved similar recognition from the University, recently winning a prize from the Chemistry Department for his Part 3 dissertation. Theo contributed invaluably to many other aspects of College and University life. He has been a member of the Fisher Society (the University’s Catholic Chaplaincy), and has been actively involved in the Hosanna House and Pilgrimage Trust charity, which offers pilgrimage holidays to disabled and disadvantaged people from around the UK and further afield. Through this, Theo was part of a team who took a group of special needs children on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. He also played viola for the Cambridge University Musical Society Concert Orchestra, represented Cambridge at trampolining, and helped the College cricket team to their first cuppers semi-final in several years.