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St John's College News

  1. Heather Hancock appointed as Master of St John’s College

    "I’m looking forward to sustaining St John’s global renown for scholarship and excellence, and to championing its pioneering work on access"
    A distinguished new Master has been elected to lead St John’s College, University of Cambridge. Heather Hancock LVO DL has over two decades' experience in senior leadership in the private and public sectors. She currently chairs the Food Standards Agency, a non-ministerial Government department that regulates the food and feed industry. Prior to this, Heather spent 11 years at Deloitte where she…read more
  2. ‘New’ Library celebrates 25 years

    “The new building was way ahead of its time"
    A memorial to Robert Hinde, late Fellow and former Master of St John’s, has been installed in the Working Library to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the iconic building. Professor Hinde spearheaded the ‘New Library Project’ in the early 1990s, which oversaw the creation of a completely new Library facility in Chapel Court, as well as the refurbishment of the historic Lower Library in Third…read more
  3. Female fish can breed a new species if they aren’t choosy about who is Mr Right

    "Our research shows that hybridisation can fuel the evolution of new species"
    Fish will mate with a species outside their own if the male’s colouring is attractive enough or if the female can’t see him properly, according to new research. Such ‘mistakes’ in mate choice can lead to the evolution of new species, an international team of scientists found. The group studied 2000 fish and analysed the DNA of more than 400 cichlid fish from two freshwater lakes in East Africa.…read more
  4. Festive Michaelmas music

    Concerts for the festive season
    From carol services sung by the Choir and St John’s Voices to jazz concerts with the St John's Big Band and a cappella singing with Aquila and The Gents of St John’s, there are plenty of festive musical events taking place in the College to bring Michaelmas Term to a close. The popular St John’s Advent Carol Services include lessons, hymns and carols to reflect the anticipation of Christmas. The…read more
  5. ‘Dazzling genius’ Sir Jonathan Miller dies aged 85

    Tributes have been paid to Sir Jonathan Miller from all over the world
    Sir Jonathan Miller, the Johnian writer, theatre and opera director, has died. Miller co-wrote and acted in the seminal stage revue Beyond the Fringe in 1960 with Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett. The groundbreaking satirical show was met with critical acclaim when it premiered at the Edinburgh Festival and quickly transferred to the West End and Broadway. Miller studied Medicine at St…read more
  6. Sir Stephen Cleobury (1948-2019)

    "Stephen was one of the giants of the choral music world during the past half century"
    Sir Stephen Cleobury, St John's Organ Scholar (1967-71) and Director of Music at King's College for 37 years, has died aged 70. Stephen passed away peacefully in York, where he had lived since his retirement in September, in the evening of 22 November after a long illness. During his long tenure with King’s College, Stephen enhanced the reputation of the Choir, and had a long association with…read more
  7. The Revd Canon Mark Oakley appointed new Canon Theologian for Wakefield Cathedral

    "I am delighted that Mark has accepted this significant role in the life of the cathedral"
    The Revd Canon Mark Oakley has accepted an invitation from the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, to become Canon Theologian at Wakefield Cathedral. In this honorary role, which he will hold alongside his role as Dean of St John’s, Canon Oakley will support the Bishop and the Cathedral Chapter in their theological reflections and encourage integrity in their discernment and decision-…read more
  8. ‘Trickster god’ used fake news in Babylonian Noah story

    “Ea tricks humanity by spreading fake news"
    An early example of fake news has been found in the 3000-year-old Babylonian story of Noah and the Ark, which is widely believed to have inspired the Biblical tale. Nine lines etched on ancient clay tablets that tell the Gilgamesh Flood story can now be understood in very different ways – according to a Cambridge academic. Dr Martin Worthington’s new research analysing the word play in the…read more
  9. innocent smoothie entrepreneurs talk to students after innovation pilot success

    "I saw the workshop as an opportunity to expand my knowledge of entrepreneurship"
    The brains behind innocent smoothies came back to St John's to share the secrets of their success with the next generation of Johnian entrepreneurs. Jon Wright and Richard Reed, two of the three Johnian founders of innocent, talked to students about how they developed the company into a global brand that eventually sold for more than £500m.  The founders were invited to the College by…read more
  10. Aquila has landed

    "Aquila is now a central part of music-making in College; long may it continue!”
    It may have taken 500 years for St John’s to get a women’s singing group, but the members of Aquila are determined to make up for lost time, Louise Hanzlik learns. Music has a long and illustrious history at St John’s. The Choir of St John’s is beloved by fans around the world and has clocked up more than 90 recordings since it was founded in the 1670s. The Gentlemen of St John’s have been…read more
  11. St John’s author nominated for Irish Book of the Year award

    "This year’s shortlist is a testament to the breadth and depth of Irish writing talent"
    From murder to beekeeping, discover how the Irish ate, drank, loved and lied in a book co-authored by a John's academic.  A history of Ireland in 100 words has been nominated for ‘best Irish-published book of the year’ in the An Post Irish Book Awards 2019 – Ireland’s major literary event. The book tells the history of Ireland by looking at the development and changing meaning of 100 medieval…read more
  12. Choir releases album to celebrate the tradition of Evensong

    “Magnificat features a great variety of music; something for all tastes"
    St John’s College Choir is releasing its first album dedicated to the Evening Canticles on Friday 25 October. Magnificat is a celebration of the tradition of Evensong, sung daily in College during term time, and contains six contrasting settings of the Evening Canticles. The settings were chosen by Andrew Nethsingha, Director of Music at St John’s, and each one has personal significance to him…read more
  13. ‘Artificial leaf’ successfully produces clean gas

    "You may not have heard of syngas itself but every day, you consume products that were created using it"
    A widely-used gas that is currently produced from fossil fuels can instead be made by an ‘artificial leaf’ that uses only sunlight, carbon dioxide and water, and which could eventually be used to develop a sustainable liquid fuel alternative to petrol. The carbon-neutral device sets a new benchmark in the field of solar fuels, after researchers at the University of Cambridge demonstrated that it…read more
  14. Hinsley Memorial Lecture 2019

    The Hinsley Memorial Lecture will be given by Sir Richard Dearlove
    The 19th Hinsley Memorial Lecture, taking place on 13 November at St John’s College, is to be given by Sir Richard Dearlove KCMG OBE. The lecture is entitled The Secret Intelligence Service and its history. Sir Richard Dearlove joined MI6 in 1966 and served in Nairobi, Prague, Paris, Geneva and Washington as well as in a number of key London-based posts. He was appointed Director of Personnel…read more
  15. Medieval bible returns to its former home after 700 years

    Staff at the Gisborough Priory Project arranged for the Gisburne Bible to be borrowed from St John’s
    A medieval treasure from St John’s Library is the centrepiece of a special exhibition being held to mark the 900th anniversary of a Yorkshire priory. The Gisburne Bible – a richly decorated, handwritten copy of the Vulgate Bible – was bequeathed to Gisborough Priory by a prominent Yorkshire clergyman in 1333 after a catastrophic fire destroyed most of the Priory’s library. The manuscript…read more
  16. Live retelling of Virgil’s epic poem comes to Cambridge

    "However 'literary' Virgil, Ovid and others have become, the magic of their voices is the most thrilling dynamic to come out of their world."
    A rare live performance of one of ancient literature’s masterpieces will be hosted at St John’s in November. Adapted from Virgil’s first-century BC epic poem the Aeneid, The Song of Arms and a Man tells the story of legendary hero Aeneas’s struggle to fulfil his destiny as the founder of Rome. It charts his escape from the burning ruins of Troy and his doomed affair with the Carthagian queen…read more
  17. Freshers awarded £81,000 in pre-admissions prizes

    A group of 15 new undergraduates at St John’s College have been awarded up to £8000 each on the day they arrived in Cambridge to begin their studies. Prize-winners were selected on the basis of their academic track record, potential and broader financial need.  The exceptional new students were invited with their families to a special ceremony at St John’s to mark their achievements. A total of…read more
  18. Vice-Master appointed at St John’s College

    Professor Tim Whitmarsh has been named as Vice-Master of St John’s College. The interim position will build on the principled and engaged leadership of Professor Sir Christopher Dobson, the late Master who died in September. Professor Whitmarsh is Director of Studies in Classics Part IA & IB at St John’s s, A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge, and Co-…read more
  19. St John’s graduate to appear in new BBC war drama

    Jonah Hauer-King plays Harry Chase, one of the leading characters in World on Fire
    Jonah Hauer-King, actor and St John’s alumnus, is to appear on our TV screens at the end of September in BBC One’s new epic war drama World on Fire. Rising star Jonah, who graduated from St John’s in 2017 with a first-class honours degree in Theology, plays Harry Chase, one of the lead characters in the drama. Credit: BBC/© Mammoth Screen 2018 World on Fire, starring Sean Bean, Helen Hunt,…read more
  20. Diary of polar scientist on ill-fated Shackleton voyage donated to St John’s

    “We left the ship this evening: it still floats, but has been so badly damaged by the pressure of the last 24 hours that it will never float again once the ice opens."
    When explorer Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance became trapped on ice in Antarctica and eventually sank in 1915, Sir James Mann Wordie was one of the crew that escaped in lifeboats to an uninhabited island. Wordie, who was a student, Fellow and eventually Master at St John’s College, was recruited in 1914 as the geologist and chief of scientific staff for Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic…read more
  21. Ancient story of revenge shortlisted for film award

    The film tells the story of a compelling folk tale found etched on a clay tablet in South-East Turkey
    The world’s first ever film in Babylonian – a language that died out 2,000 years ago ­­– has been nominated for a top research prize. Students led by Dr Martin Worthington, a Fellow at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, made the innovative film based on a Babylonian folk tale about a violent and comic story of revenge from 700 BC.   The Poor Man of Nippur has now been shortlisted in…read more
  22. Trainee primary school teacher turned Professor wins $3.9million Yidan education prize

    "Usha’s research is truly globally significant both to children’s development and to education"
    The world’s largest education prize awarded to someone who is ‘creating a better world through education’ has been won by Professor Usha Goswami. Professor Usha Goswami, a Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, a Director of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education and a Fellow of St John’s College, is an international leader in literacy research and she has today been named as…read more
  23. ‘Game-changing’ research could solve evolution mysteries

    "This new analysis will start an exciting new chapter in the study of molecular evolution"
    An evolution revolution has begun after scientists extracted genetic information from a 1.7 million-year-old rhino tooth – the largest and oldest genetic data to ever be recorded. Researchers identified an almost complete set of proteins, a proteome, in the dental enamel of the rhino and the genetic information discovered is one million years older than the oldest DNA sequenced from a 700,000-…read more
  24. Online book of condolence launched to mark death of ‘intellectual giant’ Professor Sir Christopher Dobson

    An online book of condolence has now been opened by St John’s College
    Tributes to Sir Christopher Dobson, Master of St John’s, have flooded in from around the world after we shared the news of his death. An online book of condolence has now been opened by St John’s College to allow those who wish to pay virtual tribute to Sir Christopher who was a brilliant scientist, an inspirational mentor, a much-loved Master and a friend to so many. Messages can be left…read more
  25. Tributes paid to Master of St John’s College who has died age 69

    "Chris was loved by so many and will be hugely missed by us all"
    Professor Sir Christopher Dobson, Master of St John’s College, died on Sunday, September 8 2019. He is survived by his wife, Dr Mary Dobson, their sons, Richard and William, and his beloved dog, Jimbo. He was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and died at the Royal Marsden Hospital, Surrey. Sir Christopher, known to most people simply as Chris, was a member of the St John’s community for…read more