St John's College News

  1. Lifetime honour for Fellow recognised by Royal Irish Academy

    Pioneer in study of medieval Irish history, literature and language awarded Ireland’s highest academic honour
    A pioneering academic at St John’s College has been formally admitted as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), Ireland’s leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities. Professor Máire Ní Mhaonaigh was elected to the Academy with 27 other new members chosen for their exceptional contributions to the sciences, humanities and social sciences, and to public service. She…read more
  2. A life extraordinary: meet Chris Gray, new Director of Music at St John’s

    Cambridge is a very cerebral place where people spend a lot of time in their frontal cortex, as it were, but music can speak to your heart
    Christopher Gray has joined St John’s as the new Director of Music, having led Truro Cathedral Choir and bringing it international acclaim. An exceptional musician, Chris tells us about climbing trees with the choristers, being on Britain's Got Talent and the secret to what makes The Choir of St John’s so magical. You started at St John’s at the beginning of Easter Term, how did you break the…read more
  3. Delving into the archives: energy in days gone by

    Accounts reveal a centuries-old struggle to fend off the Fenland cold and bring light and warmth to the lives of the St John’s community
    The mental image of the shivering student in a freezing garret, peering at his books by candlelight, is perhaps as old as scholarship itself. But how true a reflection is it of life at St John’s in the days before central heating and electricity? As the College takes steps towards more sustainable energy consumption, and addresses the wider theme of energy in an online series of articles, a dip…read more
  4. Fellow elected to German National Academy of Sciences

    Pioneering plant scientist ‘humbled’ by her achievement
    Professor Uta Paszkowski, a Fellow of St John’s College, has been elected a member of the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences. Professor Paszkowski is leader of the Cereal Symbiosis group at the Crop Science Centre – a coalition between the University of Cambridge, Department of Plant Sciences and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany Trust (NIAB) – and College Director…read more
  5. Driving on sunshine: clean, usable liquid fuels made from solar power

    An important step in the transition away from a fossil fuel-based economy
    Researchers have developed a solar-powered technology that converts carbon dioxide and water into liquid fuels that can be added directly to a car’s engine as drop-in fuel.   The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, harnessed the power of photosynthesis to convert CO2, water and sunlight into multicarbon fuels – ethanol and propanol – in a single step. These fuels have a high energy…read more
  6. Musicians from St John’s shine during ‘magnificent’ showcase of British talent at King’s Coronation

    “It was an extraordinary and joyful experience to be chosen to direct the music for the Coronation”
    An impressive array of former choristers, composers and clergy from St John’s College took part in the spectacular Coronation Service of HM King Charles III and Queen Camilla in Westminster Abbey. People taking major roles include Andrew Nethsingha – Director of Music at St John’s from 2007 until December 2022 – who directed the music throughout Saturday’s service, watched by millions of people…read more
  7. Mental health advocate and medic wins top University award

    “The winners have demonstrated that innovation and perseverance can go a long way in making a positive impact on society”
    Student mental health campaigner Imogen Arden-Jones has received a Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Award for her activism including encouraging more young people to be vaccinated against Covid-19.  Imogen, a fifth-year medic at St John’s College, was among 15 Cambridge students recognised this year in celebration of exceptional contributions to society. Imogen said: “For me, social action takes…read more
  8. ‘Exceptional’ St John’s scientist elected as Fellow of the Royal Society

    “These individuals have pushed forward the boundaries of their respective fields and had a beneficial influence on the world beyond”
    Evolutionary biologist Professor Chris Jiggins has been named as one of the new Fellows of the Royal Society for his ‘substantial contribution to the advancement of science’. Professor Jiggins is Director of Studies at St John’s for Natural Sciences (Biological) and a Fellow of the College. He joins 58 other new Fellows on the list of new members of the oldest science academy in continuous…read more
  9. ‘Spellbinding’ Coronation Service held at St John’s College to mark historic day

    “The Choir were inspired to give of their very best by the magisterial playing of the Academy of Ancient Music”
    Hundreds of people attended a specially-devised sequence of music and readings in the iconic Chapel of St John’s College on Sunday to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III. The globally-renowned Choir of St John’s was joined by leading period-instrument orchestra the Academy of Ancient Music for the Coronation Anthems by Handel – notably the famous Zadok The Priest. The service was built…read more
  10. King Charles I’s personal Order of Service from his Coronation in 1626 to go on display

    “It never stops being exciting to know we have something in the Special Collections that was held in the hand of a monarch as he was crowned King”
    An elaborate Royal spectacle including centuries-old traditions will be on show to the world when King Charles III’s Coronation takes place in London. For 900 years the coronation has been held in Westminster Abbey – William the Conqueror was the first monarch to be crowned there, King Charles will be the 40th. King Charles I’s ceremony took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 February 1626 and…read more
  11. St John’s academics and postgraduates reach finals of student-led awards

    Annual presentations give students chance to highlight exceptional contributions
    Five members of the St John’s community have been shortlisted for awards after being nominated by Cambridge University students for outstanding teaching and pastoral support. The annual Student-Led Teaching Awards (SLTAs) celebrate academic and non-academic staff across the University and its Colleges, providing an opportunity for students to highlight exceptional contributions to their…read more
  12. Students win prizes for outstanding sportsmanship

    Awards presented for exceptional College sporting achievements and good character
    St John’s students Bilal Qureshi and Jenny Dunstan have been honoured for their outstanding contribution to College sport at this year’s Annual General Athletics Club Colours Dinner. The Colours Dinner, as it is known, recognises exceptional achievements and good character in the sports men and women of St John’s. The Bob Fuller Trophy was awarded to College hockey club president Bilal for…read more
  13. Tributes paid to world-renowned linguist and ‘nurturer of young talent’

    Author of ‘The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics’ is described as an inspiring teacher and great scholar
    An Emeritus Professor of St John’s College – ‘one of the most distinguished British linguists of his generation’ – has been remembered following his death at the age of 89. Professor Peter Hugoe Matthews FBA died at his home in Cambridge on 7 April after a long period of illness. An alumnus of St John’s, where he studied Classics and later Italian and Linguistics, he had been a Fellow of the…read more
  14. Andrew Chamblin Memorial Concert 2023

    Annual tribute to late scientist
    The 17th annual Andrew Chamblin Memorial Concert will be given by Thierry Escaich at 8pm in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford on Thursday 22 June 2023 and will also be livestreamed online. Mr Escaich will play an hour-long programme of organ works by Bach, Franck, Vierne, Brahms and Widor. Dr Howard Andrew Chamblin came to St John's College in 1992 on a National Science Foundation Graduate…read more
  15. St John’s College May Ball 2023 promises to be a night to remember

    Get ready for “the seventh best party in the world”
    Plans are hotting up for the spectacular annual St John’s College May Ball – with the chance to win tickets in a charity raffle. Famously once named the seventh best party in the world by Time Magazine, this year’s all-night extravaganza promises to be bigger and better than ever before, with new spaces opening up plus a post-fireworks surprise. Spanning the length and breadth of the historic…read more
  16. Playing to her strengths – the engineer taking her skills to places of crisis

    “When you’re working in the field, you’re exposed every day to the challenges faced by the people living there”
    Working in some of the planet’s most war-torn and politically volatile nations is a world away from the safe, cobbled streets of Cambridge – but St John’s postgraduate Emma Houiellebecq takes it all in her stride. Emma is currently working in Gaza and Venezuela as part of a PhD research collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), with whom she previously worked as an…read more
  17. Newell Classical Event 2023

    In conversation with Natalie Haynes, writer, broadcaster, comedian, classicist
    The Newell Classical Event 2023, celebrating the classical world, stars Natalie Haynes, who will discuss her career as a novelist, radio presenter, comedian and classicist in conversation with Professor Tim Whitmarsh. The event will take place at 7.15pm on Thursday 11 May at St John's College. All are very welcome, and no knowledge of ancient literature or history will be required.  Photo credit…read more
  18. Professor Sunshine: the blue-sky thinker using solar energy to create green fuels

    “We always look in our science for new applications, unexplored niches where we can deploy our systems”
    Meet Professor Erwin Reisner, whose innovative Cambridge research team harnesses sunlight to turn rubbish and CO2 into sustainable fuels. He explains why he chose this challenge, and reveals the balance between working for the greater good and day-to-day problem solving in the lab. At the start of 2023, a year promising no let-up in the threats facing the planet, Professor Erwin Reisner and his…read more
  19. Accolade for academic with ‘vital and compelling’ research to share with BBC audiences

    “The New Generation Thinkers programme brings interesting, important ideas to a wider audience, shaping public thought and discussion”
    A researcher with ‘big ideas’ from St John’s College has been revealed as a ‘New Generation Thinker’ by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the BBC. Dr Kerry McInerney is among 10 of the UK’s most promising arts and humanities early career academics to land the 2023 accolade as part of a scheme that will see her share her pioneering research on gender, race and artificial…read more
  20. Cambridge pulls no punches in ‘massive’ Varsity win

    “Each and every following fight was absolutely electric with individual stories and personal heroics in the ring from bell to bell. I have never been prouder of a team”
    The ‘electric’ Varsity amateur boxing tournament has seen St John’s medic William Tan help lead the Cambridge club to historic victory against Oxford. Cambridge University Amateur Boxing Club captain Will and his squad had a ‘massive win’ in the 114th Varsity held in their Dark Blue rival’s home turf of Oxford on Friday 10 March. Will with the Truelove Bowl trophy. Photo credit: Nordin Ćatić.The…read more
  21. Society’s 100th anniversary adds up to a celebratory weekend

    “The weekend of talks showed the amazing breadth of work being done by Johnian mathematicians, from current students to Honorary Fellows”
    Centenary celebrations have been held to mark the 100th year of the Adams Society, the mathematical society of St John’s College, Cambridge. The celebrations took place in the form of a weekend of inspiring talks held in the Old Divinity School on 18 and 19 February, as well as an annual dinner in Hall. Saturday’s packed public lecture was attended by around 40 sixth formers and their parents/…read more
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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