St John's College News

  1. Queen Elizabeth I would tell Boris to tax the rich rather than cut universal credit

    “The evidence of history is that societies and economies fare much better with a strong welfare state and when you cut welfare to make savings, you damage society and the economy”
    A ‘compelling’ new book about how Covid-19 rocked the world argues that Elizabeth I would have supported the poor in the aftermath of the pandemic. The Tudor Monarch introduced the world’s first universal welfare state in 1601 – groundbreaking at the time – in response to repeated plague outbreaks and famines. The ‘Poor Laws’ required all of England’s 10,000 parishes to take responsibility for…read more
  2. Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture 2021

    From the possibility to the certainty of a supermassive black hole
    The fifteenth Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture, entitled From the Possibility to the Certainty of a Supermassive Black Hole, will be given by Professor Andrea Ghez, 2020 Nobel Laureate in Physics, from the United States. Professor Ghez, from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), will talk about new developments in the study of supermassive black holes. Through the capture and…read more
  3. Academic to work with AstraZeneca on developing new and safer drugs

    “The more academics can help our industrial colleagues, the more impact we can have in producing improved medicines”
    A pharmacologist at St John’s has been awarded a prestigious Royal Society Industry Fellowship to work with AstraZeneca on developing life-changing medicines. The fellowship will enable Dr Graham Ladds to be seconded for four years to AstraZeneca, which was among the first in the world to produce a Covid-19 vaccine with scientists at the University of Oxford. Dr Ladds, who is a Fellow of St…read more
  4. St John’s author writes historical saga of Middle Eastern conflict

    “I thought I would write a novel because people can be drawn into the lives of the characters”
    A story based around the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which has preoccupied a St John’s Fellow since boyhood, has been published as a novel. A world-renowned expert in microwave energy, author and co-author of more than 200 academic publications, The Young Alexandrians is Dr A.C. (Ricky) Metaxas’s first work of fiction. He became aware of the Middle Eastern conflict while growing up in…read more
  5. PhD student to run London Marathon in memory of late Master

    “Pancreatic cancer is tough to diagnose, tough to treat, tough to research, and tough to survive. I want to do my bit to make sure that everyone affected by it gets the help they need”
    On Sunday morning, Ryan Geiser will pull on his trainers and head to Blackheath to take part in the London Marathon to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK. It may be the postgraduate student’s first ever marathon but it is now the 40th time the iconic race has taken place in the capital. The marathon will follow the usual 26.2 mile route from Blackheath to Pall Mall. Ryan joined the Centre for…read more
  6. Oldest College boat club in Cambridge welcomes former members back for special naming ceremony

    “The club is renowned for its strong and supportive community and its passion for excellence, sportsmanship and welfare”
    Rowers gathered at the Lady Margaret Boat Club to celebrate the launch of two new boats. A men’s eight was named after Professor Sir Christopher Dobson, scientist and late Master of St John’s College, and a women’s four was named after Dame Louise Makin, businesswoman and Honorary Fellow of the College. Around 50 former members of Lady Margaret Boat Club (LMBC) attended the ceremony, led by…read more
  7. Bride and groom who met at St John’s celebrate graduation together

    “We met at a freshers’ party in our first year. We are so pleased we both came to St John’s”
    Newlyweds Joshua Snyder and Hania Adamczyk met at St John’s College as undergraduates – and today walked down the ‘aisle’ together as graduands, a year after finishing their postgraduate studies. The pair were among a congregation of around 50 students to graduate or return to celebrate achieving their degrees in person from the University of Cambridge, some a year late due to the pandemic.…read more
  8. Choral work based on top mathematician’s battle with Covid-19 to be performed at Royal Festival Hall

    “It is a huge honour to take experiences from my brush with death and turn them into verse that captures the very human desire to have hope even in the darkest of days”
    A collection of diary entries written by nurses when a St John's Fellow was in a coma after being struck down by Covid have been transformed into a concert by an award-winning composer. Professor Peter Johnstone was kept alive by a ventilator after he caught Covid at the start of the pandemic. The 72-year-old is a tenor with The Bach Choir, one of the world’s leading choruses, and on 4 March…read more
  9. Research Fellow receives Royal Society funding to harness the power of quantum technology

    “The URF scheme honours high calibre early career scientists throughout the UK and Ireland”
    A physicist from St John’s College has been awarded a University Research Fellowship by The Royal Society to push the frontiers of quantum science. Dr Dorian Gangloff is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, working in the group of Professor Mete Atatüre, physicist and Fellow of St John’s. In October, Dr Gangloff will take up his Royal Society…read more
  10. Ancient Greek ‘pop culture’ discovery rewrites history of poetry and song

    “The diction is very simple, so this was clearly a democratising form of literature”
    New research into a little-known text written in ancient Greek shows that ‘stressed poetry’, the ancestor of all modern poetry and song, was already in use in the 2nd Century CE, 300 years earlier than previously thought. In its shortest version, the anonymous four-line poem reads “they say what they like; let them say it; I don’t care”. Other versions extend with “Go on, love me; it does you…read more
  11. Students awarded prizes for outstanding performances

    University and Faculty prizes 2020-2021
    Fourteen undergraduates from St John's College who achieved excellent results in the 2020-2021 academic year have been awarded University and Departmental prizes. Third year History student Radka Pallová was awarded several prizes. She received the Winifred Georgina Holgate-Pollard Memorial Prize for achieving outstanding results in the Historical Tripos Part II; the Gladstone Memorial Prize for…read more
  12. Student tours set to return to St John’s College during September Open Days

    “We have worked hard during the past 18 months to move all our Admissions events and open days online, but there really is nothing like an in-person experience”
    It has been nearly two years since St John’s students have been able to show prospective applicants around the College’s stunning grounds - but now in-person tours are coming back. The College’s last open days tours took place in September 2019 due to the pandemic. Across the Collegiate University, this year's September Open Days are for students in Years 12 and 13 and equivalent and mature…read more
  13. New intake of undergraduates triumph over pandemic adversity to join St John’s

    "My experience pushed me towards wanting to apply to university, and Cambridge in particular"
    Meet some of our new undergraduates who, after another ‘rollercoaster’ year, achieved their required grades to begin their degrees at the University of Cambridge. We spoke to three successful applicants to St John’s College about their path to University and what they are looking forward to most at Cambridge. Zoe Porter Zoe is celebrating gaining a place to study History at St John’s after…read more
  14. ‘Best lecturer’ honour from students for St John’s Law Fellow

    “I am immensely grateful for Dr Gardner’s personal and academic support throughout my time studying Law”
    A group of Cambridge Law students has awarded a ‘best lecturer’ accolade to St John’s Fellow Dr Jodi Gardner. The Cambridge Law ‘Facul-Tea’ dished out ‘The Trial by Jury Award for the Best Lecturer’ to Dr Gardner at its virtual awards night on 25 July. Dr Gardner, Director of Studies for Law (Part IA) and College Associate Lecturer in Law, was delighted to be recognised by her students,…read more
  15. St John’s launches fund to support new generation of historians

    “In Peter's memory, St John’s College is launching a fund to support a new generation of talented young academics with their research into the medieval Mediterranean world”
    A fundraising campaign in memory of a ‘legendary historian’ has been launched to financially support students at Cambridge as they uncover the secrets of the past. A historian of medieval Spain, Dr Peter Linehan, Fellow of St John’s College, died peacefully at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge in July 2020 after several months of ill health. He was 76. He arrived in Cambridge in 1961 to study…read more
  16. Behind the scenes with a Cambridge University Admissions Tutor

    “I've seized opportunities as they came along”
    Former windsurfing centre manager Dr Victoria Harvey, Tutor for Undergraduate Admissions, talks about her eventful road to St John’s that included leaving university due to ill-health and returning as a single parent. Did you go straight into academia after university? No, I got chronic fatigue syndrome after I caught glandular fever during my GCSEs and flogged myself during my A-levels. I went…read more
  17. Ella’s summer lab work leads to world-class research

    “I don’t think it happens very often but my experience shows that if you want it to, then it can – it’s just about putting yourself out there and asking for the opportunity”
    Natural Sciences undergraduate Ella de Csilléry was a first year at St John’s when she became involved in research with the potential to transform the treatment of cancer and other diseases – and even reveal the origins of life on Earth. She tells Karen Clare what it was like. Ella was studying Physics, Chemistry, Biology of cells and Maths in 2019 when she decided to try to get some summer…read more
  18. Learn about student life during virtual Cambridge Open Days and new College tour

    “Explore College through our brand new 360 virtual tour, meet students and Directors of Studies on our live panels, and chat to the Admissions team”
    Year 12 students considering applying to Cambridge can get a taste of life and study at St John’s thanks to two virtual open days – and a new College tour. St John’s is taking part in this year’s online Cambridge Open Days and is holding a variety of live online panels and chats with current students, tutors and the Admissions team. The events are aimed at prospective applicants from Year 12, or…read more
  19. New initiative offers students £2,000 funding for green project

    “This is an exciting opportunity for students to get involved in making the College a more sustainable place”
    A competition has been launched to fund a project that will help reduce the carbon footprint of St John’s and improve sustainability. The College’s Climate Crisis Committee has announced that the new £2,000 Sustainability and Crisis Award will cover the costs of the project and is open to all current students of St John's. The award has been funded thanks to the generosity of a donor. Earlier…read more
  20. Blondie a highlight for rowers from St John’s

    “We came together as a team more than ever” 
    It has been a remarkable year for Cambridge University Rowing Club (CUBC) – and St John’s athletes have had front row seats right on the water. Undergraduates Gemma King and Jo Matthews spoke to Karen Clare about their love of rowing, training in a pandemic, and competing with an identical twin. Not only did the Light Blues win both the 2021 Men’s and Women’s Oxford and Cambridge Gemini Boat…read more
  21. Busy bringing order to chaos – Policing to Portering

    "I’ve always been a calm person and being in the police teaches you the importance of spreading the ethos that you are in control and every situation can be dealt with"
    From delivering babies to helping to recover bodies from a plane crash, when Steve Poppitt was in the police force no two days were the same. The Head Porter at St John’s talks to Jo Tynan about his second career leading a busy team at one of the largest Cambridge Colleges. I studied sociology at York University and when I left in 1984, there were no jobs for graduates. I applied to join the…read more
  22. Johnian helping vaccines roll-out, opera singers and Royal curator receive Queen’s Birthday Honours

    “Throughout the pandemic we have seen countless examples of everyday heroes”
    Four alumni from St John’s have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their extraordinary work in the arts and in shaping the UK’s Covid-19 vaccines strategy. The list of 1,129 people demonstrates the efforts made by individuals in all four nations of the United Kingdom during the pandemic. They include St John’s alumnus Oliver Excell, Project Manager on the Vaccine Task Force, who…read more
  23. Antiquity Prize awarded for study into Neanderthal cave skeleton

    ‘Most significant new Neanderthal remains for a generation’
    St John's Fellow Professor Graeme Barker is leading a team of archaeological scientists who have won the 2021 Antiquity Prize for their outstanding research into the remains of a Neanderthal unearthed in Iraqi Kurdistan. Professor Barker has been jointly awarded the annual prize for the paper New Neanderthal remains associated with the ‘flower burial’ at Shanidar Cave with colleagues Dr Emma…read more
  24. Ten years of ancient genome analysis has taught scientists ‘what it means to be human’

    “The last 10 years have shown us what it means to be human. We won’t ever see that depth of human experience on this planet again – people entered new areas with absolutely no idea of what was in front of them”
    A ball of 4,000-year-old hair frozen in time tangled around a whalebone comb led to the first ever reconstruction of an ancient human genome just over a decade ago. The hair, which was preserved in arctic permafrost in Greenland, was collected in the 1980s and stored at a museum in Denmark. It wasn’t until 2010 that evolutionary biologist Professor Eske Willerslev was able to use pioneering…read more
  25. Undergraduate wins Sports Personality of the Year after making a splash

    "Rebecca's positivity and bubbly personality is infectious and everyone smiles a little wider and laughs a little more whenever she is around"
    An ‘inspirational’ second-year at St John’s has been named University of Cambridge Sports Club Personality of the Year after helping to keep the women’s water polo team afloat through the pandemic. Undergraduate Rebecca ‘Becca’ Howitt has been described as ‘one of a kind’ by her team mates after she stepped up to the role of women’s water polo Captain and Social Secretary from being the youngest…read more