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St John's College News

  1. St John’s launches series of self-isolation blogs

    "This is a weird and frightening time to live in. That being said, I hope that these posts serve to provide a sense of comfort in the absurdity"
    Self-isolation is usually only something our students have to do when they have a deadline. But as social distancing is the key to saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of our undergraduate and postgraduate community left Cambridge to travel back to their family homes. Some have stayed at St John’s and we are committed to looking after them. Do have a look at the coronavirus…read more
  2. One of Darwin’s evolution theories finally proved by Cambridge researcher

    "We found the evolutionary relationship between mammalian species and subspecies differs depending on their habitat"
    Scientists have proved one of Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution for the first time – nearly 140 years after his death. Laura van Holstein, a PhD student in Biological Anthropology at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, and lead author of the research published today (March 18) in Proceedings of the Royal Society, discovered mammal subspecies play a more important role in evolution…read more
  3. ‘Visionary’ professor presented with world's largest education prize

    “Thanks to this award, my team and I will be able to undertake new research which I hope will enable us to apply our research to open a new window on the causes of developmental language disorders, and one that will hopefully lead towards remediation"
    An academic at St John’s College was awarded with the $3.9 million Yidan Prize at a major conference for leading education researchers. Professor Usha Goswami, a Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, a Director of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education, and a Fellow of St John’s College, is a global leader in literacy research. She was presented with the prize at The Yidan Prize…read more
  4. Celebrate the end of term with music from Fleabag and Beethoven

    Jazz bands, vocal groups, orchestras and choirs perform to bring Lent to a close
    Music composed for Fleabag and big jazz band numbers will entertain audiences at St John's during an eclectic series of concerts to mark the final week of the Lent term.  The female a cappella vocal group Aquila will be performing in a special concert on 9 March to mark International Women’s Day. The group, which is directed by Joanna Forbes L’Estrange, will sing a mixture of folk, pop, jazz and…read more
  5. Victorious Lady Margaret Boat Club finish Head of the River in Lent Bumps

    "A huge amount of effort goes into training and preparing for the Bumps and the results are a credit to the crews who have worked incredibly hard"
    The men’s first boat of St John’s College won the ultimate prize during the Lent Bumps and finished top of the first division known as ‘Head of the River’. Lady Margaret Boat Club (LMBC), the St John’s College boat club, entered five crews into the Lent Bumps – one of the most important fixtures of the Cambridge rowing calendar. The men’s first boat, known as M1, were Head of the River in 2017…read more
  6. College computers donated to homeless charity Emmaus

    "We have donated three batches of hardware in the last six months, and we will be donating again in the future. It is great to know we are supporting such a good cause.”
    More than 200 used desktop computers have been donated to Emmaus by St John’s to be recycled and reused by people who use their services. The charity provides a home and ‘meaningful work’ for homeless people. St John’s has also donated printers, monitors, cables, laptops, network switches, and keyboards that were no longer needed. The equipment will be repurposed and sold on at low prices – the…read more
  7. Leading experts talk at student food security conference

    "The students should be really proud of all they achieved, bringing together such a wide range of expertise and crafting their own interventions so carefully throughout the conference"
    How a growing global population can be fed sustainably was explored in a student-led conference designed to bring together innovative thinkers.  The free 2020 Lady Margaret Beaufort Intellectual Connections Conference, organised by undergraduate and postgraduate students and titled A Lot On Our Plate: Food Security in the 21st Century took place in the College on 14 February. The event brought…read more
  8. Inside the head of a neuroscientist

    "It is a privilege to be part of St John’s, I never tire of hearing about people’s research, meeting students and staff, and going to fascinating talks and incredible concerts"
    Meet Dr Steve Edgley, neuroscientist and President of St John's. You have been a Fellow of St John’s for more than 30 years. What brought you to the College? I studied for a PhD in Bristol and worked as a postdoc in Sweden before coming to Cambridge as a lecturer in Biological Sciences. In my first year I supervised next door at Magdalene College, but was recruited by St John’s in 1989 to teach…read more
  9. The race is on for the former soldier raising money for veterans

    “I’m from an ex-mining community where the attitude towards education is that people think you are pratting about and need to get a proper job”
    Postgraduate student Gav Topley talks to Jo Tynan about juggling his London Marathon training regime with his PhD. Gav Topley is entertaining company – he has stories about everything, from his first job as a trainee falconer to being imprisoned in Bangkok for a week. What should have been a quick chat about his marathon training turned into a much livelier conversation about why Gav thinks we…read more
  10. Meet the new JCR Co-Presidents

    "It’s great to know that we have the power to make change happen – and to really make a difference"
    Restructuring the room ballot system, keeping prices low, and deciding on a name for the summer event: these are just some of the aims for the new JCR Co-Presidents, as Louise Hanzlik learns. Choosing the name of this year’s JCR-hosted summer event could cause a rift between the new Co-Presidents. “I think it should just be called the June Event”; “It should be the June Garden Party”; “It’s not…read more
  11. ‘Brilliant and original’ Dr Gilbert Lewis dies age 81

    Gilbert Lewis was a Fellow of St John’s for 47 years
    Anthropologist Dr Gilbert Lewis has died after a short spell in hospital. Dr Lewis, who was a Fellow of St John’s for 47 years, died on 13 January surrounded by his family. Born in 1938, Dr Lewis was a Fellow in Social Anthropology at the College from 1972 to 2020. He studied for a BA in Physiological Sciences at Balliol College Oxford from 1956 to 1960, the University College Hospital London…read more
  12. Discovery at ‘flower burial’ site could unravel mystery of Neanderthal death rites

    "We thought we’d be able to find the locations where they had found Neanderthals in the 1950s, to see if we could date the surrounding sediments - we didn’t expect to find any Neanderthal bones"
    The first articulated Neanderthal skeleton to come out of the ground for over 20 years has been unearthed at one of the most important sites of mid-20th century archaeology: Shanidar Cave, in the foothills of Iraqi Kurdistan.    Researchers say the new find offers an unparalleled opportunity to investigate the “mortuary practices” of this lost species using the latest technologies. Shanidar…read more
  13. New adaptation of ‘Polish national poem’ to be performed live at St John’s

    "Pan Tadeusz is up there with the Iliad and Paradise Lost and Shakespeare’s plays"
    An innovative, bilingual performance of one of the great poems of European Romanticism will be hosted at St John’s in February. Thaddeus: Love and Dalliance in Time of War is an adaptation of the 10,000-line epic poem Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz, which is often referred to as the ‘Polish national poem’. Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic conflicts that reshaped Europe in the early…read more
  14. From race track to Master’s Lodge: how a retired greyhound brought comfort to Sir Christopher Dobson

    "Everyone always wants to say hi to Jimbo and my dad was incredibly proud of him"
    In his final months, Professor Sir Christopher Dobson was rarely seen without his shadow - Jimbo, the retired racing greyhound. He even accompanied him to the May Ball, graduation, and countless Evensong services. Now the late Master's family features in a new film describing the joy and comfort Jimbo brought to Sir Christopher after he was diagnosed with cancer. Sir Christopher, known as…read more
  15. Livestream of memorial service to honour life of Professor Sir Christopher Dobson

    The memorial service will be livestreamed on Saturday
    More than 1000 people will gather at St John’s over the next two days to give thanks for the life and work of Professor Sir Christopher Dobson. Two memorial services will take place to allow as many people as possible to pay their respects to the Master of St John’s who died of cancer on September 8 2019. The first service will take place tomorrow (January 24) and the second will take place…read more
  16. Professor named as new historical institute advisor

    "This means that I will be able to continue to support an Institute that enables the best research and exchanges in the UK on German history and Anglo-German Relations"
    St John’s Fellow Ulinka Rublack has been appointed as a new member of the German Historical Institute London (GHIL) Academic Advisory Board. A Professor of Early Modern European History, Ulinka researches the social, cultural and religious history of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. Her areas of expertise include Reformation history, gender history, material culture, the Holy Roman Empire…read more
  17. From opera singer to College Chaplain

    "I am super-available, super-non-judgemental, and super-un-shockable."
    A new Chaplain has been appointed to offer welfare support to students, staff and Fellows at St John’s College. The Rev’d Andrew Hammond was an undergraduate at Clare College, University of Cambridge, and worked in classical music for nearly 20 years, mostly as an opera singer, and later in arts administration. He was ordained in 2007, and has worked in two London parishes and at St Paul’s…read more
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. ‘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
  25. 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