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St John's College News

  1. ‘Incisively intelligent’ Fellow of St John’s dies aged 76

    ‘His loyal friendship, often extending over decades, enriched countless lives’
    Historian Dr Peter Linehan, known for his legendary hospitality and loyal friendship, died today. He is survived by his wife Christine and their three children, Gabriel, Frances and Samuel.  Born on 11 July 1943, Peter Linehan arrived in Cambridge in 1961 to study History as an undergraduate at St John’s College. He continued to postgraduate study and completed his PhD on ‘Reform and reaction:…read more
  2. College Library wins award for technology excellence

    “Users in College are receiving the best provision of library services"
    St John’s College Library contains thousands of historic books and manuscripts – and it has now been recognised for using technology to provide the best standards of service. The Technology Excellence in Libraries Award (TEiLA) has been granted to the College Library by Book Industry Communication (BIC), the UK book industry’s dedicated independent supply chain organisation. Sponsored by The…read more
  3. One in five Georgian Londoners had syphilis by their mid-30s, new study suggests

    "The majority of young adults living in London 250 years ago contracted an STI at some point in their lives"
    More than one-fifth of Londoners in the 18th century contracted the sexually transmitted disease syphilis by their 35th birthday, historians have calculated. The same study shows that Georgian Londoners were over twice as likely to be treated for the disease as people living in the much smaller city of Chester at the same time (c.1775), and about 25 times more likely than those living in parts…read more
  4. St John’s scientist is awarded lifetime honour for her pioneering research

    “The new Members have contributed to the success of research in the life sciences in Europe and around the world”
    Two Fellows of St John's have been awarded membership of the prestigious European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in recognition of their remarkable scientific achievements.  Professor Uta Paszkowski was granted membership in recognition of her remarkable achievements in the life sciences, and Professor Eske Willerslev was honoured for his internationally renowned work in ancient genomics…read more
  5. Take a virtual tour of St John's College

    "Choosing a College is always hard, but it is even tougher during a pandemic when you can't visit in person"
    Thousands of prospective students usually flock to Cambridge during the summer to attend Open Days and academic taster sessions but the global pandemic has meant those events have been cancelled. But you can still get a taste of life at St John's by going on a virtual tour around College with Amy, one of our student ambassadors. read more
  6. Virtual concert featuring College members and alumni to be streamed on Facebook

    "I hope that watching the concert will bring you some pleasure at the end of a challenging term"
    Close harmony singing, atmospheric choral pieces and Big Band music will feature in an online concert on Friday 3 July. The May Concert usually takes place in Chapel at the end of Easter Term to bring the academic year to a close, but this year a virtual concert will be streamed instead to allow people to enjoy St John's music from their own homes. The St John’s Virtual College Concert will take…read more
  7. Discover life and study at St John's at our Virtual Open Days

    Get a real taste of what it’s like to be a first year student living and studying at our beautiful College
    Are you in Year 12 and thinking about applying to Cambridge? Join us for our Virtual Open Days this Thursday 2 July and Friday 3 July! Although the Cambridge Open Days have been cancelled so sadly you can’t visit us in person, you can still get a real taste of what it’s like to be a first year student living and studying at our beautiful College by joining us for our fun and informative virtual…read more
  8. ‘Outstanding’ Babylonian Noah book shortlisted for award

    The book opens up new perspectives on Babylonian and Assyrian literature
    A book by a Fellow of St John’s that revealed a 3,000-year-old example of ‘fake news’ was nominated for a scholarly publisher’s award. Ea’s Duplicity in the Gilgamesh Flood Story by Dr Martin Worthington was one of three titles shortlisted in the Outstanding Monograph – Humanities and Media Arts category in the Taylor & Francis 2019 Book and Digital Product Awards. Published by Routledge in…read more
  9. Professor and Reader promotions for senior St John’s academics

    All university promotions take effect from 1 October
    Six Fellows of St John’s have received academic promotions from the University of Cambridge. Two academics were promoted to Professorships, and four were promoted to Readerships.  Dr Michael De Volder, College Lecturer in Engineering at St John’s, has also been promoted to a Professorship. His research interests are nanoparticle manufacturing and assembly. Dr Kristian Franze, Director of…read more
  10. Finding my ‘inner red’

    “I would love for someone to read something I’ve written and feel like it was ok to be alive”
    To mark the publication of her second book, Red Gloves, poet and Library Projects Assistant Rebecca Watts tells us about why she started writing poetry, her love of landscape and how she accidentally followed Wordsworth from Cumbria to Cambridge. In normal life people don’t talk about poetry and they don’t think it is especially important – it is not in your life unless you make it be in your…read more
  11. ‘We will never forget you’ – Vice-Master tells Class of 2020

    "The road to a Cambridge degree is always challenging and you are the generation that got there in the midst of a global pandemic"
    Hundreds of students should be processing to the Senate House this week to graduate from the University of Cambridge. The global coronavirus pandemic has meant the usual general admission events have been cancelled, and students have been encouraged to graduate in absentia with the promise of a belated celebration at a later date. To mark what would have been the day the 2020 cohort of students…read more
  12. Student scientist spends lockdown finding best way to make effective homemade masks

    “Designing a face mask that optimises filtration and is easy to clean will be a great aid in ensuring as many people as possible are protected”
    Homemade masks should be made from high quality cotton with layers of other textiles underneath to slow the spread of Covid-19 – according to research by an undergraduate at St John’s.  Jago Strong-Wright, Natural Sciences student, has reviewed the efficacy of masks made from material people can find around the house, from vacuum cleaner bags to old lycra leggings and cotton bedsheets. His work…read more
  13. Florentine 'spy' uncovered as designer of historic German palace by St John's researcher

    “In a time before the rapid dissemination and easy accessibility of news, strategically placed individuals would have been highly valuable to rulers as a means of finding out what was happening abroad"
    A palace in Germany designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site was designed by a Florentine architect thought to have been a secret informant for the Medici, a powerful Catholic Italian family – according to new research. The Weimar Residenzschloss was originally built at the end of the 10th century and until the 18th century it was the official residence of the Dukes who ruled Saxe-Weimar – a…read more
  14. Scientists use garden plants to make hydrogen – the world’s ‘most promising’ renewable fuel

    “This sunlight-driven process has the potential to be a low-cost and sustainable way to make hydrogen”
    Researchers have shown that hydrogen can be made using garden plants and river water leading to hopes the green energy source could be manufactured without using fossil fuels. Professor Erwin Reisner, Fellow of St John’s College, University of Cambridge, led a team of researchers who used plants collected from the College gardens and water from the River Cam to produce renewable hydrogen. The…read more
  15. Free menstrual cups offered to St John's students

    “"This project shows College's commitment to improving students’ quality of life and promoting environmentally friendly ways of living.”
    A project to provide free sustainable sanitary products to St John's students has been launched after it received financial backing from the College.  The new scheme aims to provide a sustainable alternative to single-use sanitary products that see 200,000 tonnes of waste go to landfill or end up in waterways every year in the UK alone. It also tries to tackle the issue of period poverty, which…read more
  16. Scientist says lessons learnt during coronavirus pandemic ‘must be applied to climate crisis’

    "Fundamental change is needed and we should not lose sight of that during the coronavirus pandemic and its aftermath"
    The academic in charge of co-ordinating St John’s College’s ambitious new plans to tackle climate change has said the world must not ignore the ‘potentially catastrophic’ threat on the horizon. The College, which is one of the largest Colleges of the University of Cambridge, has released a statement on the climate crisis acknowledging the emergency facing humanity and setting out a plan to…read more
  17. St John’s wins prestigious Gold environmental award

    “It’s very encouraging to see students, staff, and Fellows of St John’s recognising and responding to the climate crisis in diverse and dynamic ways”
    St John’s has scooped a Gold award in the Cambridge Green Challenge for the College’s debut entry. The University of Cambridge named St John’s College as one of the Gold winners of the annual Green Impact Awards. The awards encourage everyone working or studying at the University to take action to reduce their environmental impact and for Colleges, Departments and Faculties to implement a range…read more
  18. Tributes paid to ‘beating heart’ of St John’s

    “Steve was loved and admired by his team and others around him. The College owe him a great deal of gratitude for all his time, dedication and loyalty”
    Moving tributes have been paid to a long-standing member of College staff who has died from cancer at the age of 63. Steve Beeby led the Maintenance department for 15 years as Superintendent of Buildings after he joined the College more than 35 years ago. He met Yazz, his wife of 24 years, at St John’s when she was working as a bedmaker. Last year he retired early and he died peacefully at his…read more
  19. New book is published by award-winning St John’s poet

    “If your poem isn’t even attempting to be as worthy of people’s time as a Taylor Swift song, I question your motives"
    A St John’s librarian and award-winning wordsmith is continuing the College’s long poetry tradition with the publication of his second book. The Culture of My Stuff by Dr Adam Crothers, who is the Special Collections Assistant, is published by Carcanet today (28 May 2020) and is a collection of sonnets, prose and political nonsense rhymes. Brexit, Trump, Northern Ireland, Komodo dragons, the…read more
  20. Guitarist Robert launches lockdown YouTube channel

    "It's a cliche but music is a universal language and ain't no lockdown gonna stop it!”
    Musician Robert Jones, one of our College Custodians, has launched a YouTube music channel to beat the lockdown blues. Robert, who has worked at St John’s for three years, is currently a daytime Porter during the pandemic – but by night he swaps his College keys for playing a different kind of key on his guitar. Robert Jones is keeping live music fans entertained during the lockdown. An…read more
  21. Jenni runs virtual marathon to raise money for animal charity

    “Running is good for keeping healthy and I find it a real boost to help me feel a sense of achievement"
    St John's College staff member Jenni Prior is tackling a lockdown feat – or should that be feet? Jenni, who is Executive Assistant to the Director of Education & Senior Tutor Dr Annis May Timpson, is running a virtual marathon fundraiser in aid of the Blue Cross animal charity, to help pets in need.  “Our cat Jasper came from the Blue Cross in Cambridge in 2014 so their work means a lot to…read more
  22. PhD student wins prestigious research grant for US archive trip

    “I’m deeply grateful to St John’s, I owe it a lot”
    A St John’s PhD student who is researching the work of a prolific but little-studied Scottish architect is celebrating after a double dose of good news. Ralph Wade, PhD Candidate in the History of Art, has won a Research Support Grant from the world-renowned Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, a UK educational charity based in London that is part of Yale University, in its competitive…read more
  23. Student shares her battle with depression and anxiety to highlight importance of Mental Health Awareness Week

    “It’s ok not to be ok. But with the St John’s family you are not really alone, even in isolation.”
    “It’s ok not to be ok. But with the St John’s family you are not really alone, even in isolation.” That’s the message from JCR Mental Health Officer Becca Gutteridge during this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week, when the St John’s College community is spread far and wide away from Cambridge during the coronavirus pandemic. “We are still here for you,” said Becca, a second year English…read more
  24. A spine-chilling tale at St John’s

    “As a historian I love the idea of nonlinear time – that somehow, just occasionally, history might fold back on itself, allowing us a glimpse into past centuries”
    The legend of a St John’s student who surrendered his soul to the devil in exchange for the knowledge to pass his exams was the inspiration behind an eerie ghost story.  Art historian Dr Christina J Faraday’s spooky short story The Advent Visitor has been published in Ghosts and Scholars Magazine. Christina, who was an undergraduate and a postgraduate student at St John’s, said: “I don't think…read more
  25. International online concert brings centuries-old Chinese music back to life

    “This music could so easily have been lost forever. James Inman just happened to pick up a copy of this tiny flimsy pamphlet in Guangzhou, and gave it to his College Library”
    Performers across the globe are uniting in an online concert to revive the melodies captured in a 250-year-old volume of Chinese music discovered in St John's College Old Library. The special event features a 95-year-old grandmother from Guangzhou (aka Canton), where the now unique woodblock-printed book of 13 musical scores was created in 1770 – 34 years before finding its way to Cambridge in…read more