St John's College News

  1. Memorial service to be held for Dr Peter Linehan

    “His hospitality was legendary and his loyal friendship, often extending over decades, enriched countless lives”
    A memorial service will be held in St John’s College Chapel this spring for the renowned historian, Dr Peter Linehan. Dr Peter Anthony Linehan, MA, PhD, FBA was a Fellow for 54 years and former Dean of St John’s who first came to the College as an undergraduate to study History in 1961. He died peacefully in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, in July 2020 at the age of 76 after several months…read more
  2. Newell Classical Event 2022

    The Black Sappho
    The Newell Classical Event 2022, celebrating the classical world, will take place at 7.15 pm on Thursday 10 March, when Prof Emily Greenwood will give a talk entitled The Black Sappho. The Event will take place simultaneously in the Main Lecture Theatre in the Old Divinity School at St John's College, and online (accessed via Zoom). All are very welcome, and no knowledge of ancient literature or…read more
  3. Professor Sheena Radford to give Linacre Lecture 2022

    Honorary Fellow will talk on her research into cracking the code of folding proteins in a bid to combat devastating diseases
    The annual Linacre Lecture will be given by research scientist Professor Sheena Radford, OBE, FRS, FMedSci at St John's College on Tuesday 15 February. Professor Radford is Astbury Professor of Biophysics and Royal Society Research Professor at the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology at the University of Leeds, and an Honorary Fellow and alumna of St John's. The annual Linacre…read more
  4. Chapel Tower pinhole camera records Sun’s arc over Cambridge sky

    “The result is an incredible record of the Sun’s progress”
    In summer 2021, Dr Matt Bothwell, Public Astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, attached a pinhole solar camera to the St John’s College Chapel Tower and left it there for six months. The resulting photo, which was captured on a camera that looks like a tin can, shows the Sun’s movement across the skyline of Cambridge from the summer solstice to the winter…read more
  5. 'Genius' statistician and Honorary Fellow dies aged 97

    “Sir David will be remembered for his hugely significant contribution towards statistical research and his unfailing support of future generations of mathematicians”
    Tributes have been paid to Sir David Roxbee Cox MA FRS FBA (Hon) FRSE, a pioneering British statistician, Honorary Fellow and alumnus of St John’s College, who has died at the age of 97. Sir David was an internationally renowned statistician who made outstanding contributions to research in the fields of statistics and applied probability, including the development of the Cox Model, which is…read more
  6. Successful season sees Ultimate Frisbee team fly into first division

    “Getting promoted feels amazing and is a dream come true”
    The St John’s Ultimate Frisbee team has secured promotion after several years playing in division two of the College League. The mixed team lost every league game in the 2020-2021 academic year but last season saw them win four games out of six, flinging them into the top division. The team at St John’s has been running since 2008 and last won the league in 2016 before a decline saw them slide…read more
  7. Invasive species ‘hitchhiking’ on tourist and research ships threaten Antarctica’s unique ecosystems

    “Invasive, non-native species are one of the biggest threats to Antarctica’s biodiversity - its native species have been isolated for the last 15-30 million years”
    Marine life hitching a ride on ocean-crossing ships poses a threat to Antarctica’s pristine ecosystems, with the potential for invasive species to arrive from almost anywhere across the globe, say the authors of a new study. New research by the University of Cambridge and the British Antarctic Survey has traced the global movements of all ships entering Antarctic waters. It reveals that…read more
  8. St John’s alumni recognised in New Year Honours 2022

    Trio awarded for their extraordinary service and achievements
    An Emeritus Professor of Greek and Latin, a green energy champion and the Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral join the ranks of the College members of St John's to have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours.  Professor of Greek and Latin at the University of Cambridge from 1995 until he retired in 2011, Emeritus Professor James Diggle receives the CBE (Commander of the Order of…read more
  9. St John's College Review of the Year 2021

    A look back at the past 12 months
    Life and learning has continued at St John’s despite the challenges of the pandemic and, as 2021 draws to a close, we look back at some memorable moments – from stunning scientific discoveries to amazing achievements in sport, the arts and humanities. There has been much to celebrate as well as commemorate. Delve into our review of the year below. December ‘The show must go on’ was the…read more
  10. St John’s Chapel and community pulls together as Advent Carol Service put in jeopardy

    “Andrew had taught the choristers and The Gents so incredibly well that it was inconceivable anything would fall apart”
    ‘The show must go on’ was the attitude of all involved in this year’s St John’s College Chapel Advent Carol Service, after Director of Music Andrew Nethsingha tested positive for Covid-19 and six out of 16 young choristers were hit by illness. St John’s Organ Scholars past and present, The Choir of St John’s, and the Chapel and College community pulled out all the stops to produce two…read more
  11. History-maker: why one man decided it was time to spearhead the move to open St John’s College choir to girls and women

    “I am very excited about creating an opportunity for boys and girls to sing together every day”
    The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world – known and loved from its broadcasts, international concert tours and more than 100 recordings. Andrew Nethsingha, Director of Music, spoke to Jo Tynan about why breaking a 350-year-old tradition and inviting girls and women into the choir as full members was the right – and only – equitable thing to…read more
  12. Pioneering PhD student ends 2021 on a high after year of achievement

    “This might be a game changer in pathogen diagnostics”
    A postgraduate scientist from St John’s whose research has the potential to be a ‘game changer’ in diagnosing respiratory diseases, including Covid-19, has starred in a national TV programme in his home country of Serbia about his life and work. This year has been a successful one for Filip Bošković, who is in the third year of his PhD in a field known as nanoscale biology, a blend of physics…read more
  13. Starmaker: the astrophysicist telling stories through music

    “Astrid uses real science from my degree as it was important to me that it was as believable as possible”
    A science fiction musical co-written by astrophysicist Georgia Rawlins during the pandemic was abruptly cancelled when Covid-19 restrictions tightened shortly before it was due to be performed. This term Astrid finally made its stage debut at the ADC Theatre with a new cast and received rave reviews. Undergraduate Georgia talks science, telling stories through music, and ruining the nativity at…read more
  14. Always looking up

    “My favourite spot in College is looking through the big door frame of the Eagle gate. It is like a picture and I often walk more slowly or stop for just a moment”
    You might not know her name, but Norma Paterno-Lotto is a very familiar face in the Buttery – she is the cashier who asks if we really want to buy a bar of chocolate or would we prefer a nice tangerine instead?! Jo Tynan finds out more about the Argentinian catering assistant who has been known to shed a few tears when the students graduate. I met my husband in primary school at home in…read more
  15. Talented performers, sportspeople and ‘brilliant historian’ among winners in 2021 Larmor Awards

    Recommendations based on ‘intellectual qualifications, moral conduct and practical activities’
    Seven ‘outstanding’ St John’s students have been honoured in the prestigious Larmor Awards in recognition of their excellent academic results and contributions to College life. The prize, which began in the 1940s, is named after Sir Joseph Larmor, the 20th century physicist and mathematician who was both a student and Fellow at St John’s. He made breakthroughs in the understanding of electricity…read more
  16. From refugee to student: ‘How I came to St John’s is a miracle’

    “We would have been in danger if we had stayed in Iran”
    First-year undergraduate Amir Kadkhodaei has faced more challenges than most to achieve his dream of coming to Cambridge. He told Karen Clare about his journey to St John’s after fleeing the regime in Iran. Amir at St John's College. Credit: Nordin Ćatić. Three years ago Amir was an ordinary 16-year-old student in Tehran but when his family converted to Christianity, they were forced to leave…read more
  17. St John’s partners with new Mathematics School to increase diversity in subject

    “Mathematical skills are essential to 21st century life, and the Cambridge Mathematics School will be an exemplar of best practice in the subject”
    A new state-funded specialist sixth form in Cambridge will open in September 2023 with a focus on pioneering learning and increasing diversity in the field of maths. The Cambridge Mathematics School – developed in partnership with the University of Cambridge – will be based in Mill Road, Cambridge, and will welcome 16 to 19-year-old A-Level students from across the East of England. The aim is to…read more
  18. China’s problem war heroes

    “For most of their lives, the majority of KMT veterans who stayed in China, together with their family members suffered political stigmatisation, social discrimination, and severe economic difficulty.”
    As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrates its 100th anniversary, new research gives voice to a long-suffering group of Second World War veterans and the volunteers determined to honour them. Red army veterans play a powerful role in Chinese state propaganda, all the more so in 2021, the CCP’s centenary year. By contrast, events to honour nationalist soldiers, who were the mainstay of China…read more
  19. Living descendant of Sitting Bull confirmed by analysis of DNA from the legendary leader’s hair

    “Genetic matches can be checked irrespective of whether an ancestor is on the father or mother’s side of the family”
    A man’s claim to be the great-grandson of legendary Native American leader Sitting Bull has been confirmed using DNA extracted from Sitting Bull’s scalp lock. This is the first time ancient DNA has been used to confirm a familial relationship between living and historical individuals. The confirmation was made possible using a new method to analyse family lineages using ancient DNA fragments,…read more
  20. Hinsley Memorial Lecture 2021

    The Hinsley Memorial Lecture will be given by Professor Patricia Clavin
    The 21st Hinsley Memorial Lecture will take place in person on Thursday 11 November and will be given by Professor Patricia Clavin FBA, Professor of International History at the University of Oxford. The lecture is entitled A History of Future Shocks: Turbulence in 20th-Century History and it will investigate the challenges of the inter-connected world by exploring the search for ‘sustainable…read more
  21. Poland honours St John’s Fellow and world expert on Chopin

    “The music of Chopin has a unique capacity to speak to listeners directly and individually, while uniting them in shared experience”
    A St John’s academic and world-renowned expert on the Polish composer and pianist Fryderyk Chopin has been awarded a medal of honour at a special ceremony in Warsaw. Professor John Rink received the Bene Merito, an honorary decoration of the Republic of Poland awarded by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for contributions to activities strengthening Poland’s position in the international…read more
  22. Humans did not cause woolly mammoths to go extinct – climate change did

    “Scientists have argued for 100 years about why mammoths went extinct – humans were blamed for hunting them to death”
    For five million years, woolly mammoths roamed the earth until they vanished for good nearly 4,000 years ago – and scientists have finally proved why. The hairy cousins of today’s elephants lived alongside early humans and were a regular staple of their diet – their skeletons were used to build shelters, harpoons were carved from their giant tusks, artwork featuring them is daubed on cave walls…read more
  23. Legal eagles walk together to help advice charities

    “Our amazing first years who showed up had only known each other for a week at the time, they really symbolise St John’s to me”
    Law students and Fellows from St John’s were part of a University team who put their best feet forward to support a justice charity helping people in need. It was the first time that the University of Cambridge Faculty of Law has participated in the Cambridge Legal Walk, part of a series of sponsored 10k events around the country that raise funds for The Access to Justice Foundation, which…read more
  24. Girls and women to sing as members of The Choir of St John’s

    “Extending membership to talented female singers creates an exceptional new musical opportunity for women and girls”
    St John’s College will continue its reputation for musical excellence by featuring male and female voices – both adults and children – in its world-renowned choir for the first time. Founded in the 1670s, The Choir of St John’s has a rich, warm and distinctive sound. Known internationally for its broadcasts, concert tours and more than 100 recordings, the choir is made up of around 20 choristers…read more
  25. ‘Mudcub’ sculptures continue College tradition of celebrating diversity

    “They express our desire to be an ally to students of any background - a supportive community of people from many cultures”
    A contemporary art installation that brings together the themes of diversity, inclusion, ecology and humanity has moved to St John’s College for the academic year. The ‘mudcubs … with the heart of a child’ exhibit features life-size bronze figures of children – along with two penguins  –  created by Nicola Ravenscroft, the award-winning British sculptor who was recently commissioned to create a…read more