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St John's College News

  1. Second album in Magnificat series released by College Choir

    "I think it is perhaps the best recording the Choir and I have made during my first 14 years at St John’s"
    The second volume of the 'inventive and brilliant' album Magnificat by the Choir of St John's College has been released today (16 April). Magnificat 2 is a celebration of Evensong that features Herbert Howells’ Collegium Regale and Julian Anderson's St John's Service, and also includes settings by Berkeley, Jackson, Pärt, Sumsion, Swayne, Walton and Watson. The album follows the release of…read more
  2. Senior Tutor appointed at St John’s

    "Richard has an impressive track record in achieving excellent educational outcomes, attracting talented undergraduates and postgraduates regardless of their background or means"
    A new Senior Tutor has been recruited to steer and develop the academic environment of St John’s College. Richard Partington, currently Senior Tutor and Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, will join St John’s in August, and formally takes up his new role as Senior Tutor from 1 September 2021. The Senior Tutor is the College’s senior academic officer, providing academic leadership across a…read more
  3. Russian memoir translated by St John’s writer and poet nominated for International Booker Prize

    “In its seamless fusion of history, memory, essay, meditation, literary criticism it creates its own indelible form”
    An acclaimed memoir translated from Russian into English by Sasha Dugdale, St John’s College writer-in-residence, has made the International Booker Longlist. In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, the Russian poet and journalist, weaves together essay, fiction, memoir, travelogue and historical documents such as old photographs, diaries and letters to tell the story of how a seemingly ordinary…read more
  4. Master of St John’s pays tribute to Prince Philip

    "We remember a man who was far-sighted and constant in his commitment to young people and who championed science, engineering and technology"
    His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace announced today (9 April 2021). Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband and consort, died at home at Windsor Castle. Prince Philip was Chancellor of the University of Cambridge for 35 years, from December 1976 to June 2011. He would visit Cambridge several times a year, and always found time to talk to…read more
  5. Artificial Intelligence could ‘crack the language of cancer and Alzheimer's’

    "Bringing machine-learning technology into research into neurodegenerative diseases and cancer is an absolute game-changer"
    Powerful algorithms used by Netflix, Amazon and Facebook can ‘predict’ the biological language of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, scientists have found. Big data produced during decades of research was fed into a computer language model to see if artificial intelligence can make more advanced discoveries than humans. Academics based at St John’s College, University of…read more
  6. Newell Classical Event 2021

    How Virgil Framed Dido
    The Newell Classical Event 2021, celebrating the classical world, will take place online on Thursday 13 May. The lecture will be given by Edith Hall and is entitled How Virgil Framed Dido. This illustrated talk argues that the greatest feminist icon and quest heroine of antiquity was framed by Virgil, who knew quite well that she never even met Aeneas, and asks how contemporary actors cope with…read more
  7. St John’s rower Theo gets second chance at making Boat Race history

    “You always want to aim as high as possible but, going into this year, I never imagined that I would end up being selected for the Blue Boat”
    Theo Weinberger will be rowing for the Light Blues in the historic Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race on Easter Sunday after missing out in 2020 due to the pandemic. He told Karen Clare about making his comeback, training in lockdown and why this year’s Boat Race will be extra special. St John’s College rower Theo Weinberger had his hopes dashed of competing in the world famous Oxford and…read more
  8. Computer donations help pandemic-hit families access remote learning

    "We started working with the Red Hen Project, Cambridge Aid and Cambridge Housing Society at the start of the pandemic, getting IT equipment to the families they support"
    Old computer hardware from St John’s College has been recycled to support families and children in need during the pandemic. The hardware was donated in January last year to Emmaus Cambridge, a charity supporting people to work their way out of homelessness. Following an upgrade to College staff machines, almost 100 desktop computers were among the donated items, as well as printers, monitors,…read more
  9. FameLab beckons for St John’s PhD student

    Science communication competition designed to give scientists and engineers skills, confidence and opportunities to share their enthusiasm for research
    A surgeon-turned PhD student from St John’s has reached the regional finals of a science communications competition taking place as part of the new Cambridge Festival. Matthew Seah will have just three minutes to talk about his research in an engaging and entertaining way for the live online FameLab Cambridge final on Friday 2 April. The winner will go on to compete in FameLab UK, with the aim…read more
  10. ‘Uncomfortable and unpleasantly true’ story of slavery and abolition told in new exhibition bringing key collections together

    "Clarkson and Wilberforce were campaigning against structural inequality, cognitive dissonance and ethical blind spots"
    Personal campaign materials of slavery abolitionist and St John’s alumnus Thomas Clarkson form the basis of a thought-provoking new virtual exhibition hosted by the College Library. Slavery and Abolition: Collections Uncovered is taking place thanks to a first-time collaboration between the Library and Wisbech and Fenland Museum, which has a rich collection of artefacts owned by Clarkson, a…read more
  11. Student calls for workers’ religious freedoms to be fully respected to help prevent divisions in society

    "Fully guaranteed freedom of religion is needed to knot together societies again and fight polarisation"
    The religious freedom of workers should be enshrined in EU and UK law to enhance human rights and social cohesion, according to a new book co-authored by a St John’s student. David Garciandía Igal, who is doing an MPhil in Politics and International Studies, argues that religious conflicts in the workplace have intensified in recent decades in some nations due to religious pluralism – …read more
  12. 10-minute interview with postgraduate student Maaha Elahi

    "I think white people need to understand the impact of white privilege and how microaggressions can make people feel"
    Maaha Elahi, 23, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Officer of the Samuel Butler Room, the postgraduate society for students at St John's.  What is it like being in Cambridge during a pandemic? I’m doing an MPhil in Criminology which is only a one year course so it has all been under Covid-19 restrictions so far. I did my undergraduate degree in Law at St John’s too so I feel very lucky…read more
  13. Inside the NHS with St John’s medics

    "The model of medicine really hadn’t changed for hundreds of years, until Covid hit"
    The University’s clinical medical students are on the front line of the pandemic, working in placements across an NHS in the grip of Covid. Karen Clare caught up with three students from St John’s to ask them about the challenges they face. Ashwin Venkatesh is a sixth year medical student from Leeds who in February finished his final exams and began a work placement on a respiratory ward at West…read more
  14. Fellow’s memoir reveals life journey from Jewish immigrant childhood to St John’s College

    "This book is an attempt to understand myself: Who am I? Where do I come from? What did I achieve?"
    From being born into a poor Jewish immigrant community in post-war Edinburgh to becoming a Cambridge scholar of international repute, Professor Stefan C Reif OBE has led a remarkable life. Emeritus Professor of Medieval Hebrew Studies and Fellow of St John's College, Professor Reif was founding director of the world-renowned Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge University Library, holds honorary…read more
  15. Whispers of the past breathe life into First Court project

    “The detail in this lovely model takes our breath away. We see things for how they were, five centuries past"
    A newly created 3D model of the First Court as it was in the early 16th century has found its way home to St John’s College, after navigating the challenges of the pandemic. Karen Clare found out more. Alexander Kusztyk, who is in the second year of his PhD in History of Art at St John’s, was the driving force behind the project to recreate the stunning architecture of Bishop Fisher’s First…read more
  16. A year of achievement for the women of St John’s

    The College has seen women recognised for pioneering research and work across science and the arts
    On International Women’s Day 2021 we celebrate some of the achievements made by our women students, Fellows and staff during the past 12 months. It has been a challenging year, but the College has seen women recognised for pioneering research in science, the arts, and in extra-curricular activities. History was also made with the admittance of Heather Hancock as our first female Master. The St…read more
  17. ‘I’ve known for a long time how fragile life is – the rest of the world is just catching up’

    “Having a disability does not mean that the doors of the world’s top universities are closed to you – I have thrived at St John’s”
    When seven-year-old Jonathan Gilmour started bumping into things and falling over, his family initially thought he was going through a clumsy phase. But tests discovered that Jonathan has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Jo Tynan spoke to the award-winning postgraduate student about his life and where he thinks the Covid-19 virus began. “I remember being held down as the doctors did tests with…read more
  18. From digging up news to putting down new roots

    "The setting at St John’s is something else – the river, the buildings, the Courts, the history and the space"
    As David Austrin takes on his new job as College Head Gardener, he tells Karen Clare how his passion for plants saw him divert to the career path that has brought him to St John’s. David Austrin calls himself ‘a classic career changer’. “I was a journalist for 10 years. I was a radio producer at the BBC in a previous life, but I got green fingers in the mid-noughties and started studying…read more
  19. Seeking lockdown solace in art

    "This adventure taught me that some things may seem impossible, but it may still be worth trying to do them anyway"
    Feeling Zoom-weary? Dr Vivienne Westbrook, Lady Margaret Beaufort Visiting Fellow at St John’s, may have the answer. She has produced a video telling the inspirational story of how she has learned to paint during the Covid-19 crisis. Now she hopes her film will help others find creative solutions to their own lockdown blues. Dr Westbrook, who is a cultural historian, was teaching in Kazakhstan…read more
  20. ‘Exceptional’ postgraduates from US named as new Gates Cambridge Scholars

    "I aim to continue investigating how universities can become bastions that reduce - and not reproduce - socioeconomic inequities and promote social good"
    Two ‘extraordinarily impressive’ postgraduates from the United States will be welcomed into the St John’s community later this year as part of the Gates Cambridge Scholars programme, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The Gates Cambridge Trust has selected 24 academically outstanding and socially committed US citizens as part of its class of 2021 at the University of Cambridge. The Gates…read more
  21. Stargazer and Fellow of St John’s dies aged 85

    “Roger Griffin transformed the way that stellar radial velocities were measured and his work is fundamental to the way black holes and extrasolar planets are evidenced to this day"
    The award-winning astronomer Professor Roger Griffin, who spent his career studying starlight, has died.  Professor Roger Francis Griffin, BA, PhD, ScD, Fellow of St John’s College 1962-1965 and again from 1972, and Emeritus Professor of Observational Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, died on 12 February 2021, aged 85. The scientist is credited with developing the method that is now…read more
  22. Fellow connects with her roots with election to German National Academy of Sciences

    Neuroscientist Professor Usha Goswami CBE has been elected as a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. The Leopoldina was founded as a scholarly society in 1652 in Schweinfurt, Germany, and is the oldest continuously existing academy of natural sciences and medicine in the world. In 2008, it was appointed as the German National Academy of Sciences and currently has a…read more
  23. The Roman ‘influencer’ whose voice still speaks to us in troubled times

    “Cicero lived in the most extraordinary times, comparable with our own"
    The key political ideas of the famous Roman orator Cicero are as topical now as they were 2,000 years ago, says a leading expert on ancient philosophy. Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43BC) was a scholar, lawyer and politician whose prolific writings form one of the greatest bodies of literary and philosophical work in classical antiquity. His letters and speeches tell us about the final chaotic…read more
  24. Function identified of ‘mystery protein’ that kills healthy brain cells of people with Parkinson’s

    “To cure Parkinson’s we need to understand the function of a protein present in everyone’s brains - this research is a vital step towards that goal"
    Scientists have made a ‘vital step’ towards understanding the origins of Parkinson’s Disease – the fastest growing neurological condition in the world. A study published in Nature Communications today (Wednesday 10 February) presents compelling new evidence about what a key protein called alpha-synuclein actually does in neurons in the brain. Dr Giuliana Fusco, Research Fellow at St John’s…read more
  25. Creative writers on route to success encouraged to apply for Harper-Wood Award

    Funding up to £15,200 available for 2021 creative writing and travel award
    Talented wordsmiths are invited to apply for the St John’s College Harper-Wood Creative Writing and Travel Award for English Poetry and Literature 2021. The award was introduced by the Cambridge College in 1949 and previous holders include Thom Gunn, Michael Hofmann, Giles Foden, Amit Chaudhuri, Gaby Wood, Caitríona O’Reilly, Sarah Howe, Isabella Hammad, Erin Soros and Vahni Capildeo. The…read more