St John's College News

  1. Entrepreneurs’ club to launch ‘Dragons' Den’ for St John’s innovators

    “We want to build a powerful entrepreneurial ecosystem, emanating from St John’s”
    Whether you’re a wannabe Deborah Meaden or a budding Steven Bartlett, a new support hub for entrepreneurs at St John’s aims to be a springboard to success. Students and researchers with burgeoning business ideas will be able to attend the clinics run by the Johnian Entrepreneurs’ Club (JEC) to gain advice, mentoring and support from successful start-up founders. Postgraduate student Olivia…read more
  2. From ferries and market stalls to bacon butties and College feasts

    “Meeting for food is such a powerful thing”
    The new College Café, Bar and Buttery have been open for five weeks after an 18-month overhaul, and the facilities have proved an instant hit, with record-breaking numbers of students making the most of the popular Saturday brunch and thousands of lattes being served. In the last of our three-part series profiling the staff who run the social spaces, we meet Buttery Manager Ray Stevenson and Ean…read more
  3. Coffee, cake and a jug of ‘Party on the Backs’ – meet the team ensuring St John’s food and drink is second to none

    “That’s a privilege, a really great opportunity to do something positive to a longstanding institution, to create lovely spaces where people want to spend time and to provide sustenance and refreshment for them”
    Our new social spaces have opened – bringing a new buzz to College (and some spectacular coffee and pastries). We meet the members of staff managing the new facilities. Camille Paris – Launch Project Manager, Social Spaces Projectread more
  4. Professor Usha Goswami gives the Linacre Lecture 2023

    Fellow's lecture entitled ‘Dyslexia, Rhythm, Language and the Developing Brain’
    The 2023 Linacre Lecture was given by Professor Usha Goswami, Fellow of St John's College, on Thursday, 9 February 2023. The lecture is entitled Dyslexia, Rhythm, Language and the Developing Brain and was given by Professor Goswami, who is Director at the Centre for Neuroscience in Education and Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, in the Old Divinity…read more
  5. Not just hot air: bringing sustainable heating to a 500-year-old College

    “We’re carrying out research on the design and operation of low carbon and energy efficient heating systems for College”
    Energy is one of the key issues of our age. How we eat, how we keep ourselves and our buildings warm, how we counter the destructive effects of carbon emissions on our climate as we transition to cleaner energy. St John’s, like the wider University, is grappling with these unprecedented questions, in our world-leading research but also in our day-to-day processes as a place of study and a…read more
  6. Obesity changes the structure and function of the placenta – increasing risk of poor health outcomes

    “For the first time we have looked at the effects of both obesity and gestational diabetes on the placenta in black and mixed-ancestry women”
    Obesity in pregnancy alters the placenta – the vital organ that nourishes the fetus – more than gestational diabetes and leads to greater health risks for expectant mums and their offspring, according to a new study. The research, published in The Journal of Physiology, enhances understanding about the mechanisms underlying poor pregnancy outcomes and the subsequent greater risk of poor neonatal…read more
  7. Movie industry gender bias means AI scientists are almost all male – disadvantaging women in real life, St John’s researcher finds

    “Male engineers create products that are most suitable for male users, employing more women is essential for addressing the encoding of bias and pejorative stereotypes into AI technologies”
    High profile films such as Iron Man have amplified cultural stereotypes and entrenched gender inequality within the artificial intelligence industry by portraying AI researchers almost exclusively as men, according to a study co-authored by St John’s academic Dr Kerry McInerney. The report warns that cultural preconceptions shaped by popular movies could dramatically influence every stage of the…read more
  8. Staying true to our values in challenging times

    Journalist, feminist and campaigner Natasha Walter features on second episode of Souvient
    “Don't try and pre-judge your future: try to connect with your passions and your values that's going to be what carries you through, that's going to be what brings you happiness. Enjoy - find what you love.” St John’s is launching the second episode of new podcast series Souvient, featuring a conversation with the journalist, feminist and campaigner Natasha Walter. In each episode of the…read more
  9. Coffee, cake and characters: meeting the team running the new College Café

    “The best thing about St John’s is the people”
    The Café at the heart of St John’s as part of the new social hub is the first on the site in the 500-year history of the College. Three staff – all from different countries and with their own individual expertise – run the new eating and work space, serving everything from flat whites to home-baked focaccia sandwiches and French pastries. Here, we get to know the team. Emese Varga - Head…read more
  10. Student sets high bar with Bridge of Sighs blind design

    “I thought of images that would work from different angles”
    A student-designed fabric mingling abstract glimpses of the Bridge of Sighs and other architectural features of St John’s has been used to create striking new blinds in the renovated College Bar. The original pattern was created by second year History student Isabella Bottle, who transferred her hand-drawn sketches of the bridge, the Chapel roof and elements of the College’s Tudor courts to a…read more
  11. Four decades of women at St John’s celebrated in new portrait exhibition

    “Johnian women have been seizing opportunities to make their mark on learning, on the College and on the world”
    Eight path-beating Johnian women, whose diverse careers have spanned the heights of government, the hidden worlds of human cells and the wild expanses of the Southern Ocean, are celebrated in a new exhibition of photographic portraits marking 40 years of women at the College. Each alumna portrayed in the series, unveiled in the College’s new Café, has transformed the world around her, whether by…read more
  12. Portrait exhibition unveiled in new Café at the heart of St John’s to celebrate the life and work of women

    “Difference brings real power, a different perspective, a different voice and a different means to influence and shape things around you”
    Eight path-beating Johnian women, whose diverse careers have spanned the heights of government, the hidden worlds of human cells and the wild expanses of the Southern Ocean, are celebrated in a new exhibition of photographic portraits marking 40 years of women at the College. Each alumna portrayed in the series, unveiled in the College’s new Café, has transformed the world around her, whether by…read more
  13. Lattes, laptops and listed buildings: College’s new social spaces combine ancient and modern

    "We identified a pressing need for more and better communal space, responding to the ways we now prefer to work, eat, and socialise.”
    How do you move with the times at a Cambridge College, responding to the changing needs of a modern-day community while respecting the fabric and history of a 500-year-old institution? That was the challenge facing St John’s as the College embarked on a landmark project to update the dining spaces to ensure they were fit for the 21st century and beyond. Steered by Heather Hancock, Master of St…read more
  14. Opening of new social spaces transforms 500-year-old tradition of community dining at St John’s

    "A new Buttery, Café and Bar have opened at St John’s to meet the demands of 21st century studying and eating"
    A spectacular new Buttery, Café and Bar have opened today at St John’s College to meet the demands of 21st century studying and eating. The contemporary social spaces set within historic buildings, featuring stylish interiors blending the traditional and contemporary, represent one of the most significant projects so far as the College fulfils its estate masterplan, a 20-year development…read more
  15. Gravy protests, coffee houses and corrupt cooks – digesting the history of student eating at St John’s

    “A raucous two-hour Hall meeting in which students complained about the quality of gravy, beer and pastry and sat on the Steward in protest”
    Mention food and Oxbridge Colleges, and a vision of luxury springs to mind: a parade of apple-stuffed boars’ heads and sides of roast beef, perhaps, punctuated by the occasional elaborately trussed swan. Feasting, it’s true, has historically been woven into the fabric of College life: a means of bringing together scholars for the discourse and sociability that encapsulate the collegiate ideal.…read more
  16. Memorial service to be held for Professor Andrew Wyllie

    Fellow to be remembered in St John’s College Chapel on 04 February 2023
    A memorial service for Professor Andrew Wyllie FRS, FRSE, F.Med.Sci., Fellow of St John’s College and Emeritus University Professor of Pathology, will be held in the College Chapel on Saturday 4 February 2023 at noon. Professor Andrew Wyllie. Credit: Gairdner FoundationProfessor Wyllie FRS, who died on 26 May 2022, aged 78, was part of a team of researchers at the University of Aberdeen who…read more
  17. Eagles, daisies and a mythical beast: new social space graphic designs take inspiration from College’s history

    “The specially commissioned branding, unveiled for the first time, translates classic iconography drawn from the College’s 500-year history into fresh and contemporary form”
    The flick of a raptor’s wing, delicate flower petals and the swivelling horns of a mysterious mythical creature will give a unique new visual identity to a transformed social centre opening at St John’s at the end of January. The specially commissioned graphic designs, unveiled for the first time, translates classic iconography drawn from the College’s 500-year history into fresh and…read more
  18. Scientists invent solar device to convert waste into clean energy

    “We urgently require new innovations for a sustainable future and this work is a real advance in creating a circular economy”
    Plastic rubbish such as single-use drinks bottles could be turned into chemicals to make skincare products after scientists built a sunlight-powered reactor to recycle environmental waste.   In a world-first, scientists can now also convert harmful greenhouse gases into renewable energy using the hand-held solar-powered prototype. The results of the ground-breaking work by researchers from St…read more
  19. Economist who warned world to count cost of declining biodiversity is one of three Johnians awarded New Year Honours

    “The College's emphasis on inclusion, identity and diversity of thought are all qualities which have stuck with me and inevitably played a part in my award.”
    The economist Sir Partha Dasgupta, whose landmark 2021 report into the economics of biodiversity warned that the world faces ‘extreme risk’ because wealth measures fail to take nature into account, is among three Johnians to be recognised in King Charles’ first New Year Honours. Sir Partha, the Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics at Cambridge and a Fellow of St John’s, is made a Knight…read more
  20. Dyslexia expert to give prestigious annual lecture at St John’s College

    "Breakthrough findings on the way the brain encodes speech rhythm patterns"
    World-leading education expert Professor Usha Goswami, whose pioneering research has revealed that children with dyslexia hear speech rhythms differently, will give the 2023 St John’s Linacre Lecture. The St John’s College Fellow, who is Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience and Director of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education at Cambridge, has revolutionised the global…read more
  21. St John’s College Review of the Year 2022

    Looking back at 2022
    As we say goodbye to 2022, we look back on 12 months in the life of St John’s. From the discovery of two-million-year-old DNA to the story of a trapped cygnet that made national news, it's been a busy and colourful year. December A grammatical problem that has defeated Sanskrit scholars since the 5th century BC is finally solved by Rishi Rajpopat, an Indian PhD student at St John’s: Ancient…read more
  22. Thank you for the music

    "The way Andrew listens and hears music shapes the way he listens and hears people"
    As St John’s College bids farewell this week to Director of Music Andrew Nethsingha, who is taking up the role of Organist and Master of Choristers at Westminster Abbey, he is remembered with enormous fondness. At Andrew’s final Evensong when he led the Choir of St John’s for the very last time, The Rev’d Dr Mark Oakley, Dean of Chapel and Fellow of St John’s, paid tribute... Friends, Well,…read more
  23. Ancient grammatical puzzle solved after 2,500 years

    “A major milestone in the history of human interaction with machines”
    A grammatical problem that has defeated Sanskrit scholars since the 5th century BC has finally been solved by an Indian PhD student at St John’s College. Rishi Rajpopa made the breakthrough by decoding a rule taught by 'the father of linguistics', Pāṇini. The discovery makes it possible to 'derive' any Sanskrit word – to construct millions of grammatically correct words including ‘mantra’ and ‘…read more
  24. ‘Swish’ pop-up clothes swap event comes to St John’s College

    “Swish events reconcile this natural desire for self-expression and creativity with sustainable practices that bring communities to life”
    St John’s is to hold its first ‘Swish’ clothes swap party to encourage sustainable fashion habits among the College community while supporting local charities. ‘Swishing’ is a widely popular style of event that enables you to donate your own good quality, unwanted clothes to swap with others – meaning everyone taking part can recycle and refresh their wardrobe, while taking steps to protect the…read more
  25. Discovery of world’s oldest DNA breaks record by one million years

    “For the first time we can look directly at the DNA of a past ecosystem that far back in time”
    Two-million-year-old DNA has been identified for the first time - opening a ‘game-changing’ new chapter in the history of evolution.  Microscopic fragments of environmental DNA were found in Ice Age sediment in northern Greenland. Using cutting-edge technology, researchers discovered the fragments are one million years older than the previous record for DNA sampled from a Siberian mammoth bone…read more