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St John's College News

  1. Foetuses ‘speak’ to their mother’s placenta new research finds

    "This study is the first to identify the significance of a metabolic signalling pathway in the fetus compared to in the placenta"
    Developing foetuses communicate directly with the placenta when they need more nutrients, a new study has discovered. The placenta is often thought of as part of the mother but it is actually a separate organ that develops with the foetus and acts as a boundary between the two. Its growth begins at conception and it attaches to the wall of the mother’s uterus and regulates the foetus’s…read more
  2. Cambridge professor wins €30,000 prize for witch trial book

    "At the peak of his career, Kepler's old mother was imprisoned for witchcraft and would have been burnt alive if he had not courageously defended her"
    The story of an elderly German widow who was accused by her neighbours of being a witch has won a top history prize. Professor Ulinka Rublack, Early Modern European History specialist and a Fellow of St John’s College, wrote The Astronomer and the Witch: Johannes Kepler's Defence of his Mother about Katharina Kepler who was caught up in the witch hunts which swept across Europe in the 16th and…read more
  3. Second year student follows in the footsteps of legendary comedians

    'Look Alive!' places its five performers as humans in an earth exhibit in an inter galactic museum
    Angela Channell, a second year English student at St John’s, is setting off on a global tour with the internationally acclaimed Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club (the Footlights). She is one of five cast members in the comedy sketch show Look Alive! and will travel with the show around the UK, including a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the US with performances in San…read more
  4. Children’s treasure hunt book written by alumnus launches this summer

    'The Riddle of the White Sphinx' by Mark Wells will be published in July
    A treasure hunt book aimed at children and written by former St John’s Fellow and Domestic Bursar Mark Wells will be published in July. Riddle of the White Sphinx is the first in the Hidden Tales series of children’s treasure hunt books. The illustrated adventure story takes children and their families around Cambridge museums where they have to crack codes and solve clues, with the aim of…read more
  5. Climate change campaigner, mathematician and news editor amongst winners of prestigious 2019 Larmor Awards

    "They truly reflect the tremendous talent of students at St John’s and we will watch with great interest what this exceptional group will achieve in their careers."
    Six exceptional St John’s students have been honoured with Larmor Awards – an annual prize begun in the 1940s to recognise “intellectual qualifications, moral conduct, or practical activities". Named after Sir Joseph Larmor, the 20th-century physicist and mathematician who was both a student and Fellow at St John’s, the awards are presented in the Master’s Lodge on the morning of graduation.…read more
  6. ‘Ambitious’ PhD thesis awarded €3000 prize

    "His dissertation re-interprets Frederick the Great of Prussia as military commander and military thinker"
    Analysis of the reputation of King Frederick the Great of Prussia by a graduate student at St John’s has scooped a prestigious prize. The International Commission of Military History (ICMH) has awarded Dr Adam Storring the 2019 André Corvisier Prize for his PhD thesis on Frederick the Great. Dr Storring, who completed his BA, MPhil and PhD at St John’s, finished his thesis in 2018 which was…read more
  7. Senior academics at St John’s receive University of Cambridge promotions

    Several senior academics at St John’s have been promoted to personal Professorships or Readerships at the University of Cambridge. These promotions will take effect from October 2019. The Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Academic Promotions Committee put forward recommendations for the promotions, which were considered by the General Board. The Board recommended the establishment of 43 Professorships,…read more
  8. Andrew Chamblin Memorial Concert 2019

    The hour-long programme will feature works by Bach, Wesley and Ritter
    The thirteenth annual Andrew Chamblin Memorial Concert will be given by David Titterington HonFRCO HonRAM at 8pm in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford on Thursday 19th September 2019. Mr Titterington will play an hour-long programme of organ works by Bach, Muffat, Scheidemann, Wesley and Ritter. Admission is free and everyone is welcome - there are no tickets required and no reserved seating.…read more
  9. The Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2019

    Seven Johnians recognised for outstanding achievements in Queen's Birthday Honours List 2019
    Seven Johnians have been featured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2019, including an Opera Director, a Scientific Advisor, and a Director of Music. The Queen’s Birthday Honours List recognises the outstanding achievements of people across the United Kingdom. The following Johnians received awards this year: Professor Sir Ian Lamont Boyd (1979), Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for…read more
  10. Pivotal role played by St John’s in D-Day landings

    The Normandy invasion was one of the largest military assaults in history
    D-Day – a major turning point in the Second World War - was organised by army officers in the Senior Combination Room at St John’s College. On 6 June 1944, 156,000 British, US and Canadian troops landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of the Normandy region of France. Codenamed Operation Neptune and now known as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion…read more
  11. DNA from 31,000-year-old milk teeth leads to discovery of new group of ancient Siberians

    “These people were a significant part of human history, they diversified almost at the same time as the ancestors of modern day Asians and Europeans"
    Two children’s milk teeth buried deep in a remote archaeological site in north eastern Siberia have revealed a previously unknown group of people lived there during the last Ice Age. The finding was part of a wider study which also discovered 10,000 year-old human remains in another site in Siberia are genetically related to Native Americans – the first time such close genetic links have been…read more
  12. The Bumps are not just about speed – they are about the chase

    "It can be a very different race depending on who’s around you and where you are. You have a single clear focus – the boat ahead of you”
    Easter Term means exams, the May Ball and the Bumps. Hazel Lawrence talks to members of the Lady Margaret Boat Club to find out why no-one wants to get ‘spoons’. Along the banks of the River Cam there are 20 boathouses between Victoria Bridge and the Cambridge Museum of Technology. Most of them belong to Cambridge Colleges, 16 in fact, evidence of an historic sports scene which still thrives…read more
  13. Driverless cars working together can speed up traffic by 35 percent

    "Autonomous cars could fix a lot of different problems associated with driving in cities, but there needs to be a way for them to work together"
    A fleet of driverless cars working together to keep traffic moving smoothly can improve overall traffic flow by at least 35 percent, researchers have shown. The researchers from the University of Cambridge including Michael He, a second year Mathematics undergraduate from St John's, programmed a small fleet of miniature robotic cars to drive on a multi-lane track and observed how the traffic…read more
  14. ‘Marvels of modern life’ created by Johnians get national recognition with Royal Mail stamps

    "The UK is a global engineering powerhouse with many world firsts developed here"
    The Raspberry Pi computer and a synthetic bone-graft are among the feats of engineering from the past 50 years being celebrated by the Royal Mail in a new set of stamps. The 10 stamps feature ‘marvels of modern life’ created by British engineers and highlight inventions in medicine, travel, and infrastructure. Dr Dame Sue Ion, British engineer and judge for the Royal Academy of Engineering…read more
  15. Tony nominations for ‘fiercely gripping’ play by St John’s graduate

    The production opened on Broadway to rave reviews after a successful run in London's West End
    A play set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and written by an alumnus of St John’s has been nominated for nine of America’s most important theatre awards. Jez Butterworth’s critically acclaimed Broadway play The Ferryman has picked up nominations for Best Play for Butterworth, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Paddy Considine and Best Direction for Sam Mendes. The family…read more
  16. St John’s marks 150 year anniversary of famous College Chapel

    A programme of special services will take place on Sunday, May 12
    Celebrations have begun to mark the 150th birthday of the famous Victorian Chapel of St John’s College - an iconic feature of the Cambridge skyline. Designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, the great Gothic Revival architect, the building replaced a relatively modest Tudor chapel which was itself a rebuilding of that of the 13th century Hospital of St John which predated the College’s foundation in…read more
  17. From fractional quantum Hall effect to field-theoretic dualities: Dirac Lecture 2019

    Dirac Lecture 2019
    The annual Dirac Lecture 2019, entitled From fractional quantum Hall effect to field-theoretic dualities, will be given by Professor Dam Thanh Son, University of Chicago. The lecture will take place on Tuesday 14 May at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge. The Dirac Lecture, established jointly by St John's College and the University of Cambridge's Department of Applied…read more
  18. Research centre run by Master of St John’s wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry award

    "We are proud of the contribution the chemical sciences make to our global community"
    Academics at The Centre for Misfolding Diseases have been honoured with a Royal Society of Chemistry prize to celebrate their ‘inspirational’ scientific collaboration. The Royal Society of Chemistry’s annual prizes and awards recognise achievements by individuals, teams and organisations in advancing the chemical sciences and supporting chemical scientists. Professor Tuomas Knowles, Sir…read more
  19. College nurse campaigning to change UK university allergy rules

    "Those who have an anaphylactic reaction are at risk of death if adrenaline is not readily available"
    A campaign to make it easier for students with severe allergies to have access to lifesaving Epipens is being supported by the on-site nurse at St John’s College. Emma Dellar is fundraising for The Anaphylaxis Campaign which is lobbying for legal changes which would allow Higher Education medical staff to store Epipens and other adrenaline auto injector devices (AAIs) onsite. Staff at UK Higher…read more
  20. Discovery of RNA transfer through royal jelly could aid development of honey bee vaccines

    "Bees share ‘transmissible RNA’ among members of the colony, likely as a way of sharing immunity"
    A team of researchers including Dr Eric Miska, Fellow at St John’s, have discovered that honey bees are able to share immunity with other bees and to their offspring in a hive by transmitting RNA ‘vaccines’ through royal jelly and worker jelly. The jelly is the bee equivalent of mother’s milk: a secretion used to provide nutrition to worker and queen bee larvae. The findings suggest new ways to…read more
  21. Rugby and hockey captains win awards celebrating outstanding sportspeople

    The Colours Dinner recognises the exceptional achievements and good character of sporting students
    St John’s students Charlie Smith and Zengani Nyirenda were honoured with prizes for their significant contributions to College sport at this year’s Annual General Athletics Club Colours Dinner (known as the Colours Dinner). Smith, who captains the men’s rugby team, was presented with the Bob Fuller trophy and Nyirenda, captain of the women’s hockey team, was awarded the Jim Williams trophy by Dr…read more
  22. World-famous choir release 100th recording to mark 150th anniversary of St John’s Chapel

    To celebrate the launch of the new album, Classic FM will live stream the Choir’s Evensong in Chapel to its Facebook page
    Choral classics from the past two centuries will feature on the new album from the Choir of St John’s to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the College Chapel. The construction of a new Chapel at St John’s in 1869 was intended to reflect the College’s royal status as a foundation of Lady Margaret Beaufort, philanthropist and mother of King Henry VII. The grand Victorian building was designed…read more
  23. How far would you get in University Challenge? Take our quiz to find out

    Do you have what it takes to face the famously tough questions? Do you know your geography from your geometry?
    From left: John-Clark Levin, Rosie McKeown, James Devine-Stoneman and Matt Hazel in the 2018 University Challenge final It’s that time of year again – the nation is gearing up to watch the hotly contested University Challenge final. This time last year University Challenge fever was running high in College as the St John’s team were gearing up for their first ever appearance in a final.…read more
  24. Spy drama Red Joan premieres in cinemas

    Red Joan is based on the true story of Melita Norwood who was unmasked as the KGB’s longest-serving British spy
    The silver screen adaptation of a novel written by a graduate of St John’s and partly filmed at St John’s is released in cinemas on Friday. Red Joan puts a fictional spin on the true story of Melita Norwood, a woman unmasked as the KGB’s longest-serving British spy when she was 87-years-old. Parisa Taghizadeh © Trademark (Red Joan) Ltd 2018read more
  25. Secret recordings reveal the sexual struggles of Fifties Britain

    "And as we try to come to terms with 21st century sexual pressures, it might help to reflect on what this generation went through in the 1950s"
    How women tried to overcome sexual difficulties at a pivotal moment in Britain's sex history has been studied by Dr Caroline Rusterholz, Historian and College Research Associate at St John’s. She examined incredibly rare audio recordings of Britain’s earliest sexual counselling sessions for the first time. In these recordings women confided painful secrets about their physical discomfort, fears…read more