Skip to main content

St John's College news archive

  1. The ‘forgotten pandemic’ that killed more than 50 million people

    "Spanish flu killed more people in 25 weeks than HIV/AIDS killed in 25 years."
    Celebrations marking the end of the First World War 100 years ago were cut short by the onslaught of a devastating disease – the 1918-19 influenza pandemic. Its early origins and initial geographical starting point remain a mystery but in the summer of 1918, there was a second wave of a far more virulent form of the influenza virus than anyone could have anticipated. Soon dubbed ‘Spanish Flu’…read more
  2. ‘Owner-driven’ reconstruction is key to rebuilding communities affected by disasters in Global South

    "We have found over and over again that local residents should not only be involved but should take ‘ownership’ of the process of planning and constructing their homes"
    Homelessness caused by tsunamis, flooding and civil war offers opportunities to build safer housing and improve long-term development if local communities take ownership of the process – according to a Cambridge researcher. Jaime Royo-Olid, a PhD candidate at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, has edited a new book titled Building, owning and belonging that brings together 40 years of…read more
  3. Babylonian story of revenge made into world’s first original-language film

    “As a story of three-fold revenge, The Poor Man of Nippur is one people today can easily relate to"
    A violent and comic story of revenge from 700 BC has been dramatised for the first time – in an ancient language that has not been spoken for 2,000 years. Students led by Dr Martin Worthington, a Fellow at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, have made the world’s first film in Babylonian based on a 2,700-year-old poem. The Poor Man of Nippur is a 160-line Babylonian story about a pauper…read more
  4. A feast for the ears: festive music at St John's

    Carol services, informal recitals, and festive concerts in the countdown to Christmas
    Christmas carol services sung by the Choir of St John’s and St John’s Voices, a performance of Handel’s Messiah, a charity carol concert, and performances by vocal groups Aquila and The Gentlemen of St John’s are just some of the festive musical events taking place at St John’s during the countdown to Christmas. The music starts with the annual Advent Carol Services. The first service takes…read more
  5. Student wins £250 after his design is chosen for new altar frontal

    Michael Reiners' design of a Dove of Peace was chosen as the winner of the student competition
    St John’s Chapel has a new altar frontal to mark religious celebrations after a competition was launched to design a new motif. Michael Reiners, a third year History of Art student at St John’s, received a £250 prize from Sir Christopher Dobson, Master of St John’s College, after his design of a Dove of Peace was chosen as the winner of the student competition. From left to right: Sir…read more
  6. Master of St John’s College knighted by the Duke of Cambridge

    “It was a great honour and privilege to be knighted by the Duke of Cambridge whose visits to St John’s we remember with such great pleasure"
    A formal ceremony was held at Buckingham Palace for people who have been awarded honours such as MBEs and knighthoods to receive their medals – and the head of St John’s became a Sir. Sir Christopher Dobson was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2018 to commemorate his illustrious scientific career. The Birthday Honours recognise the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people…read more
  7. DNA analysis of world’s oldest natural mummy unlocks secrets of Ice Age tribes in the Americas

    Scientists have been able to track the movements of the first humans as they spread across the Americas
    A legal battle over a 10,600 year old ancient skeleton – called the ‘Spirit Cave Mummy’ – has ended after advanced DNA sequencing found it was related to a Native American tribe. The revelation has been published in Science today as part of a wide ranging international study that genetically analysed the DNA of a series of famous and controversial ancient remains across North and South America…read more
  8. The Great War and St John's

    "The First World War was a hugely traumatic period of College history. The war years were wasted years for St John’s"
    “The War has affected University and College life so profoundly, has taken away so large a proportion of our numbers, has turned the minds of those who are in residence in directions so different from what are customary, and has seemed to diminish so much the relative importance of academic occupations and attainments, that, even though there are a thousand men in residence in the University and…read more
  9. China’s most celebrated martial arts fiction writer Louis Cha has died aged 94

    "Generations are said to have owed their interest in reading itself to his fiction"
    The world’s biggest kung fu fantasy writer, Louis Cha OBE, has died in Hong Kong following a long illness. Known widely by his pen name Jin Yong, Cha’s books defined the genre known as wuxia for generations and led to him being known as the JRR Tolkien of Chinese literature. He wrote 15 novels throughout his illustrious career which were subsequently made into films, games, comics and television…read more
  10. Tapping the potential for science: Mutum Yaikhomba talks about his research

    "I am working in a place where Watson and Crick made their discoveries about DNA. The opportunities are enormous. Cambridge is a living legacy”
    Mutum Yaikhomba’s story is a tribute to the value of blue skies research. As an undergraduate he benefited from being given the freedom to experiment and explore at IISER Pune, where he was in one of its early cohort of students and where he was able to combine different disciplines to further his research interests. He is now reaping the rewards as he deepens his research into proteins in the…read more
  11. Winter is coming...to St John's

    "When you play a game of thrones you win or you die"
    Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams will visit Cambridge next month to take part in a free ‘In Conversation’ event at St John’s College. Cast as Arya Stark in the smash-hit fantasy television programme at the age of twelve, Williams has grown up on screen in Game of Thrones, an adaptation of a series of novels by George R. R. Martin. Williams’ character developed in successive seasons from…read more
  12. Hinsley Memorial Lecture 2018 to be given by Dr Nathalie Tocci

    The Hinsley Memorial Lecture will be given by Dr Nathalie Tocci
    The 18th Hinsley Memorial Lecture, taking place on 6 November at St John’s College, is to be given by Dr Nathalie Tocci. The lecture is entitled Academia and Practice in European foreign policy: What can we learn from each other? Dr Nathalie Tocci is Director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali, Honorary Professor at the University of Tűbingen, and Special Adviser to EU HRVP Federica…read more
  13. Black Cantabs: History Makers exhibition opens at Cambridge University Library

    “The indelible mark black alumni have left on Cambridge, and the world" is the focus of the stunning photography exhibition
    A portrait of St John’s graduate Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan is now on display alongside fourteen other trailblazing black Cambridge graduates in the University Library. “The indelible mark black alumni have left on Cambridge, and the world" is the focus of the stunning photography exhibition of portraits of 15 notable black Cantabs in the halls of the library. The exhibition runs until December…read more
  14. Cambridge scientists reveal ground-breaking plan to target the cause of Alzheimer’s disease

    "This is the first time that a systematic method to go after the cause of Alzheimer’s disease has been proposed"
    A breakthrough has been made in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – researchers have found a new way to target the toxic particles that destroy healthy brain cells. Academics at the University of Cambridge and at Lund University in Sweden have devised the first strategy to ‘go after’ the cause of the devastating disease, leading to hope that new drugs could be developed to treat dementia.…read more
  15. New research facility for neurodegenerative disorders opens in Cambridge

    “The research carried out in this new facility has the potential to affect millions of lives around the world for the better”
    A new facility dedicated to the use of chemical techniques to combat neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases has opened in Cambridge.  The new Chemistry of Health building houses the Centre for Misfolding Diseases, a world-leading research facility focused on the misfolding of proteins in human cells - a phenomenon that causes a number of disorders including…read more
  16. Dean becomes first priest to judge prestigious poetry award

    The £5000 prize, funded by the Poet Laureate, recognises ‘excellence in poetry’
    Canon Mark Oakley has been selected by the Poet Laureate to be one of the three judges of the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry 2018.   He is thought to be the first priest to judge the prize in its near ten-year history.     Canon Oakley is the former Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral and joined St John’s earlier this month as the new College Dean. He is also the author of The…read more
  17. True crime series written by Johnian scoops seven awards at the Emmys

    “The Assassination of Gianni Versace is about homophobia, internalized and externalized"
    A drama about the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace was one of the big winners of last night’s Emmy awards - and it was created by a graduate of St John’s. True Crime mini-series The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story picked up three awards at the 70th Emmy Awards, including one for the show’s writer and Executive Producer, Tom Rob Smith. The Assassination of Gianni…read more
  18. Historic Old Library open to all this weekend

    'The History of the Book' will showcase some of the library’s oldest items
    Visitors to St John’s will get a rare opportunity this weekend to see inside the College’s 17th century library and view some of its most valuable items. The Old Library, which houses more than 30,000 books, will host a free exhibition as part of Open Cambridge this Friday and Saturday. The History of the Book will showcase some of the library’s oldest items. A medieval psalter manuscript dating…read more
  19. St John's hosts international event marking 150th anniversary of Rossini's death

    The concert and conference are part of a number of celebrations of Rossini's work this year
    A concert and an international conference marking 150 years since the death of the world-famous composer Rossini will be held at the Old Divinity School, St John's College. Gioachino Rossini Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868) achieved international fame in his lifetime with operas such as The Barber of Seville and William Tell. Since the 1950s there has been a ‘Rossini Renaissance’, during which…read more
  20. Scientists pioneer a new way to turn sunlight into fuel

    "This could be a great platform for developing solar technologies"
    The quest to find new ways to harness solar power has taken a step forward after researchers successfully split water into hydrogen and oxygen by altering the photosynthetic machinery in plants. Photosynthesis is the process plants use to convert sunlight into energy. Oxygen is produced as by-product of photosynthesis when the water absorbed by plants is ‘split’. It is one of the most important…read more
  21. St John’s graduate to feature in exhibition celebrating black alumni

    "This exhibition shows the indelible mark that black alumni of the University of Cambridge have left here"
    A portrait of Justina Kehinde Ogunseitan, an alumna of St John’s, will be one of 14 photographs on display in the University Library’s upcoming exhibition 'Black Cantabs: History Makers'. The exhibition will draw together archive images of groundbreaking black Cambridge students and academics from the previous century alongside new portraits of prominent graduates taken by the photographer…read more
  22. Professor Eske Willerslev awarded Semper Ardens grant of £2.3m for research into ancient rice genes

    "This project could potentially help fight hunger and increase food security all over the world"
    The Carlsberg Foundation has awarded DKK 19m (£2.3m) to Professor Eske Willerslev, a Fellow at St John's College, for the Semper Ardens project ‘Uncovering the genetics of rice resilience to environmental stressors: An ancient genomics approach.’   The project, which will be carried out in cooperation with the Carlsberg Research Laboratory, will map the genome of extinct rice strains with the…read more
  23. Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture

    Observing Black Holes in Quantum Mechanics
    The twelfth Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture, entitled Observing Black Holes in Quantum Mechanics, will be given by Professor Gerard 't Hooft, Nobel Laureate, at 5pm on Tuesday 23 October at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Wilberforce Road, Cambridge. Admission is free, but booking is required via the website: https://tinyurl.com/andrewchamblinlecture2018  read more
  24. Johnian brews UK’s first Trappist beer

    “We sustained the hardship of tasting a number of different beers, to find a style we liked!”
    The first Trappist ale from the UK has been brewed by monks in a Leicestershire abbey – and the abbot is a Johnian. Tynt Meadow ale – named after the meadow where Mount Saint Bernard Abbey was founded in 1835 – is the first English Trappist ale in the world. The Abbey, located near Coalville, Leicestershire, is England’s only monastery of Cistercian (Trappist) monks, and it is now officially…read more
  25. Size matters: if you are a bubble of volcanic gas

    "At first, we couldn’t understand how the gases could emerge much colder than the molten lava sloshing in the lake."
    The chemical composition of gases emitted from volcanoes – which are used to monitor changes in volcanic activity – can change depending on the size of gas bubbles rising to the surface, and relate to the way in which they erupt. The results, published in the journal Nature Geoscience and co-authored by Professor Andy Woods, Fellow at St John's, could be used to improve the forecasting of threats…read more