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St John's College News

  1. Cambridge University Foundation Year to ‘transform lives’ with new route to undergraduate study for disadvantaged students

    “Students will be drawn from a range of backgrounds, the common link being that their circumstances have prevented them from realising their academic potential"
    A Foundation Year offering talented students from backgrounds of educational and social disadvantage a new route to undergraduate study was launched by the University of Cambridge today (13 January 2021) – and St John’s College has signed-up to take part in the pioneering scheme. One-year course offers talented students who don’t meet usual entrance requirements a new pathway to a Cambridge …read more
  2. ‘Mary Wollstonecraft wasn’t a killjoy’ – says author of new book on the trailblazing writer

    “She was both passionate and highly critical when she so chose, but she was also able to revise her views"
    A new book by a St John’s historian paints a richly rounded picture of the writer and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft, aiming to restore her to her rightful place as a major thinker of the 18th century. In Mary Wollstonecraft: Philosophy, Passion, and Politics, Sylvana Tomaselli throws light on the less salient side of Wollstonecraft, known as the pioneer of English feminism – famous for her…read more
  3. Green by name and Green by nature: memories of a Head Gardener

    "More than half of my lifetime has been spent at St John’s and I feel like this is my garden"
    Head Gardener Adam Green has retired from St John’s after 35 years at the College. He spoke to Louise Hanzlik about his colourful career, from catching foxes and presenting lilies to the Queen, to building snowmen in the Scholars' Garden. Adam Green's first day back after the Christmas break was also his last day as Head Gardener at St John's. In his final few weeks in the job, we chatted about…read more
  4. Queen’s New Year Honour for St John’s academic

    Professor Usha Goswami made a CBE for services to educational research
    World-leading education expert Professor Usha Goswami has been made a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours. The St John’s College Fellow is one of four researchers from the University of Cambridge recognised in the 2021 honours for their outstanding contributions to society. Professor Goswami, Director for the Centre for Neuroscience in Education, and Professor of Cognitive Developmental…read more
  5. Pioneering academic wins European grant for new research into protein failures underlying disease

    “This funding not only empowers bright minds from across Europe but also helps train the youngest generation of researchers”
    A St John’s biophysicist at the forefront of research into the causes of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s has won a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), while a pioneering chemist has been awarded funding towards commercially developing a process that sustainably turns waste into hydrogen. Professor Tuomas Knowles receives a share of a €655 million funding…read more
  6. National leadership award for postgraduate environmentalist

    "This award recognises the serious work in the College regarding sustainability initiatives and tackling the climate emergency"
    St John’s College ‘sustainability star’ Jessica Tearney-Pearce has won a national student award for her green leadership skills. Jessica has been named winner of the Student Leadership Green Impact 2020 National Special Award by Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK), an educational charity created by the National Union of Students (NUS) in response to the climate emergency and…read more
  7. Extracurricular work sees students honoured for supporting and improving education

    "The support and solidarity that students with experience of intermission can offer one another is invaluable"
    Two students at St John’s have been recognised by the University of Cambridge for their outstanding contribution to improving the education of their peers. Emily Winson-Bushby, a second-year undergraduate reading Natural Sciences, was selected as a winner in the category of Peer Support of the Outstanding Student Contribution to Education Award (OSCEA) run by the University’s Cambridge Centre…read more
  8. From Pulp to Fictions: Fellow’s new book uncovers England’s cultural history of paper

    "The moment Medieval people found ways of making paper, they found new ways of using it"
    A St John’s academic is rewriting the story of how paper transformed Medieval England. Dr Orietta Da Rold, an expert in Medieval literature and manuscripts, has examined the coming of paper to England during the Middle Ages, and its influence on the culture and society of the period, in her new book, Paper in Medieval England: From Pulp to Fictions. In the book, she explores the early uses of…read more
  9. Developing in new directions

    "The Telethon gives alumni the opportunity to talk to and interact with current students and vice-versa, it’s a really great way of connecting the community"
    Running the annual Telethon campaign from a kitchen table is not how Amy Reeve, Head of Annual Giving, usually raises money for student support at St John’s. But this year the 35-year-old and her colleagues in the Development Office have shifted key events and fundraising activity online to keep our alumni community in the loop with life at the College during 2020. As part of our series of…read more
  10. Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture 2020

    Infinite Phase Space and the Two-Headed Arrow of Time
    The fourteenth Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture, entitled Infinite Phase Space and the Two-Headed Arrow of Time, will be given by Professor Alan Guth (MIT). Andrew Chamblin was a brilliant theoretical physist, who passed away suddenly and tragically in 2006. He studied twistor theory and global methods in general relativity with Professor Sir Roger Penrose at Christ Church, Oxford in 1991-92,…read more
  11. Pioneering biologist wins Prize for mother and baby research that aims to improve life-long health and wellbeing

    “The Prize money will bolster my lab’s capacity to undertake research that explores the causes of pregnancy complications”
    A ‘cutting-edge’ biologist from St John’s College has been awarded a top academic Prize for her ground-breaking research into the causes of complications in pregnancy that lead to poor health for mothers and their children. Dr Amanda Sferruzzi-Perri has won the Hans Sigrist Prize, which recognises an academic researcher or scientist who has done exceptional work in an annually selected research…read more
  12. Presidency in a pandemic

    “I always say the academic pressure at Cambridge is worth it because you also get all the good bits, but we knew this term was going to be difficult”
    In January when Candela Louzao Carabel became Co-President of the JCR (Junior Combination Room), the student-elected committee that represents undergraduates at St John’s College, she was looking forward to a fresh challenge and a fun year, the chance to ‘make a difference’. Then the pandemic struck, students went home, and all her plans went out the window. In our latest pandemic story from St…read more
  13. Academic from St John’s honoured to be elected Fellow of British Pharmacological Society

    “Through their leadership, and contribution to Society life, they inspire and support members at earlier stages of their career or study”
    A biomedical research scientist from St John’s has been elected a Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society for his inspiring work. Dr Graham Ladds is one of 32 members of the British Pharmacological Society (BPS) to be awarded a 2020 Fellowship for demonstrating distinction and peer recognition in pharmacology. Twelve Honorary Fellows were also elected by the BPS, which is the leading UK…read more
  14. Undergraduates’ mentoring social enterprise takes off

    “We’ve moulded our organisation to fit into a post-pandemic landscape"
    A St John’s undergraduate has co-founded a non-profit organisation to help disadvantaged students successfully navigate the Cambridge and Oxford admissions process in light of the pandemic. Kavi Mehan, a third-year geography student, has helped to set up The Oxbridge Launchpad (TOL) partly prompted by the Covid-19 crisis, which has disrupted the education of state school students across the UK…read more
  15. New online exhibition puts vital work of pandemic service engineers in sharp focus

    “I am totally in awe of these human beings who were saving lives in the best way they knew how - through their engineering skills and talents”
    The work of University of Cambridge engineers honoured for their exceptional dedication to fighting Covid-19 is being highlighted in a new virtual photography exhibition. A group from the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) led by Professor Duncan McFarlane, a Fellow at John’s, was one of 19 awardees to receive The Royal Academy of Engineering President’s Special Award for Pandemic Service in…read more
  16. Putting in the work

    “We do a lot of lifting – we get muscles on our muscles!”
    Robert Petch is a Gyp, a College handyman and part of the backbone of the workforce at St John’s, who help to keep life functioning behind the scenes. Here he tells us of his experiences during the first lockdown, as part of our pandemic series of stories from St John’s. I’ve been at St John’s 15 years now, working as a Gyp. We basically move furniture and other bits and pieces around the…read more
  17. 'Exceptional’ climate change academic from St John’s awarded rare honour

    Election to Fellowship is ‘icing on the cake’
    A marine geologist from St John’s has been made a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), a rare honour from a leading international organisation that promotes discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity. Professor I Nick McCave is an expert in deep sea sedimentation and the geological record of climate change in the deep ocean, and is one of 62 new AGU Fellows…read more
  18. New access programme empowers black STEM state school students to achieve academic goals

    “Outstanding black students need to know Cambridge welcomes students of all backgrounds and gives them the academic environment to thrive"
    Black state school students hoping to pursue careers in STEM subjects will be supported by a partnership launched today by St John’s College and Generating Genius. The new STEM @Cambridge access programme will guide able black students from non-selective secondary schools in London through applications and interviews at the University of Cambridge and other Russell Group universities, to give…read more
  19. ‘My tears are tears of joy because I cannot believe how lucky I am to have survived Covid-19’

    ‘I only remember being asked if I consented to having a tracheotomy and then I slipped into very vivid dreams, some included being looked after back home at John’s’
    For 45 years St John’s has been Professor Peter Johnstone’s home and he was a familiar sight in College - until March when he was hospitalised with Covid-19.  For several weeks Peter was kept alive by a ventilator and the prognosis was bleak. He tells Jo Tynan about his brush with death during the coronavirus pandemic.  Peter Johnstone starts our interview by telling me not to be embarrassed if…read more
  20. Tales from the Library

    "I like books, I like the smell, the touch, the feel of them"
    When the nation first went into lockdown, Janet Chow, Academic Services Librarian, was determined the Library team at St John’s College would give students the best support available, even if it was virtual. By the time students arrived in Michaelmas term, the Library had fully adapted to meet the challenges of Covid-19 to keep its services accessible – and safe. Next in our series of pandemic…read more
  21. Postgraduate’s debut book examines dream metaphors in English and Chinese writings

    “East-West literature comparisons have been made before but this is the first time I know of that these themes have been explored in this way”
    A dream has come true for a PhD student at St John’s who has transformed her Master’s thesis into a published book. Flavia Xi Fang’s debut book, La luna nell’acqua: metafore oniriche tra la letteratura cinese ed europea, has been published in Italy, where she studied for her Master’s, and in English means Moon in the Water: dream metaphors in Chinese and European literature. The third-year…read more
  22. Lessons from austerity - how to address national debt and inequality

    “We need to ensure that it's not the most vulnerable people who can afford it the least that suffer"
    A new interdisciplinary book that brings the inequalities created by austerity into sharp focus recommends ways to build a fairer society in the aftermath of the pandemic. Debt and Austerity: Implications of the Financial Crisis was published on Friday (13 November). Dr Jodi Gardner, Director of Studies for Law at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, is one of the editors and writers of…read more
  23. The best of all worlds

    "I really do love this job because I get to have the kids all day, and then I get to come into College and have adult conversations and be inspired by the people and surroundings"
    Sebastian Brimblecombe, Evening Porter and husband of Dr Jodi Gardner, a Fellow at St John’s, is on parental leave following the birth of their fourth daughter last lockdown. The first male employee in more than 500 years of College history to do so, he is blazing a trail for dads, even more so during the pandemic. In our latest story from the Covid-19 crisis, he talks College life, kids, and how…read more
  24. Planning permission granted for Community Hub Development

    "The Community Hub will enhance Second Court as the social centre of the College and encourage the opportunity for interdisciplinary interaction"
    A plan to transform the social space around the 17th century Second Court at St John's College has been given the go-ahead by Cambridge City Council. The Community Hub Development in Second Court has been granted planning permission and Listed Building Consent. It will mean the existing Buttery dining room, which was built in the 1970s, will be demolished and replaced with new dining facilities…read more
  25. Discovery of shape of the SARS-CoV-2 genome after infection could inform new Covid-19 treatments

    “Our team of scientists helped solve a fundamental puzzle about how SARS-CoV2 works"
    Scientists at the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with Justus-Liebig University, Germany, have uncovered how the genome of SARS-CoV-2 - the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 - uses genome origami to infect and replicate successfully inside host cells. This could inform the development of effective drugs that target specific parts of the virus genome, in the fight against Covid-19. This…read more