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St John's College News

  1. Debut recording by St John’s Voices featuring two world premieres released today

    "This recording marks a really special moment for St John's Voices: it marks how far we've come in the few short years of our existence"
    The first-ever album professionally recorded by mixed-voice choir St John’s Voices has been released today. It features choral music by Welsh composer William Mathias, including familiar and lesser-known material, as well as two major world premiere recordings. Mathias is notable for writing some of the most imaginative choral music of the 20th century. St John’s Voices is directed by award-…read more
  2. Winners of Staff Photography Competition announced

    "It was great to see such a wide range of beautiful photos taken by staff"
    Two talented photographers won cash prizes in our annual Staff Photography Competition.  The theme for the competition was ‘light and shade’ and all of the entries are currently on display in the exhibition area in the Library. Louise Hanzlik, from the Communications department, won the £100 first prize for her striking image of a fire juggler on the famous San Antonio Sunset Strip in Ibiza.…read more
  3. Trio of Johnians receive New Year Honours

    Professor Timothy Minton, Susannah Storey and Arthur Tait have been recognised for their contributions to society
    Three Johnians have been recognised for their contributions to society in the New Year Honours 2020. Professor Timothy Minton was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to relations between the UK and Japan. He has been Professor in the English department of the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo since 2012. Professor Minton is a bestselling author of…read more
  4. St John’s student wins prestigious dissertation competition prize

    "Excellent work by a gifted writer"
    ‘Gifted writer’ Sam Willis has scooped a £250 prize for his undergraduate dissertation about the political history of the 1990s. Sam, who graduated from St John’s last summer with a First in History, won the History of Parliament Trust Dissertation Competition 2019. He is now a postgraduate student at St John’s and is currently studying for an MPhil in Modern British History. The judges were…read more
  5. First ever vegan ‘sustainability dinner’ takes place at St John’s

    "We are always looking at new sustainable initiatives"
    Chefs from a Michelin-starred restaurant cooked a four course vegan menu for guests at St John's at our inaugural 'Sustainability Dinner'.  The event was the first of its kind to take place at any Cambridge College and included talks from industry leaders on changing food habits, reducing food waste, and creating exciting vegan meals.  Chefs Andreas Antona and Luke Tipping from Simpsons…read more
  6. 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
  7. ‘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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. ‘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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. ‘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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. ‘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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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