St John's College News

  1. Royal Society awards Fellowships to three pioneering St John’s scientists working for the benefit of humanity

    “The global pandemic has demonstrated the continuing importance of scientific thinking and collaboration across borders”
    The Royal Society has today elected seven outstanding Cambridge researchers to its 2021 Fellowship of eminent scientists – including three academics from St John’s. Professor Usha Goswami CBE FRS, Professor Richard Samworth FRS and Professor Benjamin Simons FRS are among 60 newly-elected Fellows and Foreign Members to join the world’s longest-running scientific academy. The three St John’s…read more
  2. St John's holds first subject-specific virtual Admissions Clinics

    “We hope prospective students will enjoy the chance to chat to our Directors of Studies”
    St John’s College is launching a new series of online Admissions Clinics for Year 12 students and other prospective undergraduates thinking about applying to Cambridge to study in 2022. The Admissions Clinics are subject-specific for the first time and will be running weekly from 13 May until 29 June. They will be followed by the Virtual July Open Days on 8 and 9 July when students coming to the…read more
  3. Engineer, scientists and #MeToo researcher among Gates Cambridge scholars aiming to change the world

    “Like their predecessors, this year’s cohort are extraordinarily impressive”
    Four ‘outstanding’ international postgraduates have been offered places at St John’s College in October, as part of the Gates Cambridge scholarship programme. St John’s alumni Emma Houiellebecq and Claudia Cornelissen, along with Clara Munger, are among 73 new scholars-elect who are due to make up the Gates Cambridge Class of 2021. A fourth postgraduate, Elizabeth Wiita, was named in February by…read more
  4. The Redboys smash fundraising target for Sam

    Members of the St John's rugby team bear-crawled backwards around the College rugby pitch 777 times
    The Redboys have raised nearly £7,000 for the Bone Cancer Research Trust in memory of St John’s grad and former rugby club captain Sam Fitzsimmons, who died last year aged 23. Over 21 days in March, members of the St John's rugby team bear-crawled backwards around the College rugby pitch 777 times – or the equivalent if they were away from Cambridge and taking part remotely – for Fitzy's Fund. …read more
  5. ‘Delight’ as two College Directors of Studies win teaching Prize

    “Winning a Pilkington Prize during such a challenging time is particularly meaningful”
    Two Fellows from St John’s have been awarded the coveted Pilkington Prize in recognition of their teaching excellence. Dr Hannah Joyce and Dr Edward Tipper are among 13 winners of this year’s prize, which is awarded annually by the University of Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning. They will each receive £1,000. Dr Joyce, who is Director of Studies in Engineering Part IB, College…read more
  6. Two St John’s Fellows among awardees of European funding for frontier research

    “We look forward to seeing what major insights and breakthroughs will spring from this investment and trust”
    A physicist and a statistician from St John’s College are among 209 leading researchers to win a share of €507 million in funding from the European Research Council ‘to follow their scientific instinct and dreams’. Professor Sir Richard Friend and Professor Richard Samworth, both Fellows of St John’s, have been awarded Advanced Grants of €2 million and €2.1 million respectively, beating tough…read more
  7. Maths Open Days sum up what it is like to study Mathematics at St John’s

    “We’ll be able to give a flavour of what makes St John’s such a special place”
    St John’s will be holding live online Maths Open Days for the first time to give prospective Mathematics students a taste of the course and College community. The interactive sessions will take place on the morning of the Faculty of Mathematics Open Days on 1 and 8 May for those considering applying for the Undergraduate Mathematical Tripos at Cambridge. Each St John’s open day starts at 11am…read more
  8. Fellow’s ‘landmark history’ of the lives of working mothers shortlisted for top writing Prize

    “It displays a deeply-felt respect for the subject’s significance”
    St John’s Fellow Dr Helen McCarthy has been shortlisted for the UK’s largest history writing prize for her critically acclaimed book about mothers in the workplace. Dr McCarthy, College Lecturer in Modern History and Reader in Modern and Contemporary British History, is one of just six authors shortlisted for the 2021 Wolfson History Prize for her book Double Lives: A History of Working…read more
  9. Stone Age black bears didn’t just defecate in the woods – they did it in a cave too

    "Analysis of DNA found in soil could have the potential to expand the narrative about everything from the evolution of species to developments in climate change"
    Scientists have sequenced ancient DNA from soil for the first time and the advance will transform what is known about everything from evolution to climate change. The findings have been described as the ‘moon landings’ of genomics because researchers will no longer have to rely on finding and testing fossils to determine genetic ancestry, links and discoveries – and it is thanks to Stone Age…read more
  10. Second album in Magnificat series released by College Choir

    "I think it is perhaps the best recording the Choir and I have made during my first 14 years at St John’s"
    The second volume of the 'inventive and brilliant' album Magnificat by the Choir of St John's College has been released today (16 April). Magnificat 2 is a celebration of Evensong that features Herbert Howells’ Collegium Regale and Julian Anderson's St John's Service, and also includes settings by Berkeley, Jackson, Pärt, Sumsion, Swayne, Walton and Watson. The album follows the release of…read more
  11. Six members of St John’s community honoured in student-led awards

    "It's clear students really want to recognise the hard work that staff put in at Cambridge and the difference they make"
    The College nurse, four academics and a PhD candidate at St John’s have been shortlisted for awards by Cambridge students for their exceptional contributions to education and pastoral care during the pandemic. More than 600 students submitted nominations for the annual Cambridge Students’ Union (SU) Student-Led Teaching Awards, which reward best practice and hard work of teaching and support…read more
  12. Senior Tutor appointed at St John’s

    "Richard has an impressive track record in achieving excellent educational outcomes, attracting talented undergraduates and postgraduates regardless of their background or means"
    A new Senior Tutor has been recruited to steer and develop the academic environment of St John’s College. Richard Partington, currently Senior Tutor and Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, will join St John’s in August, and formally takes up his new role as Senior Tutor from 1 September 2021. The Senior Tutor is the College’s senior academic officer, providing academic leadership across a…read more
  13. Russian memoir translated by St John’s writer and poet nominated for International Booker Prize

    “In its seamless fusion of history, memory, essay, meditation, literary criticism it creates its own indelible form”
    An acclaimed memoir translated from Russian into English by Sasha Dugdale, St John’s College writer-in-residence, has made the International Booker longlist. In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, the Russian poet and journalist, weaves together essay, fiction, memoir, travelogue and historical documents such as old photographs, diaries and letters to tell the story of how a seemingly ordinary…read more
  14. Master of St John’s pays tribute to Prince Philip

    "We remember a man who was far-sighted and constant in his commitment to young people and who championed science, engineering and technology"
    His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace announced today (9 April 2021). Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband and consort, died at home at Windsor Castle. Prince Philip was Chancellor of the University of Cambridge for 35 years, from December 1976 to June 2011. He would visit Cambridge several times a year, and always found time to talk to…read more
  15. Artificial Intelligence could ‘crack the language of cancer and Alzheimer's’

    "Bringing machine-learning technology into research into neurodegenerative diseases and cancer is an absolute game-changer"
    Powerful algorithms used by Netflix, Amazon and Facebook can ‘predict’ the biological language of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, scientists have found. Big data produced during decades of research was fed into a computer language model to see if artificial intelligence can make more advanced discoveries than humans. Academics based at St John’s College, University of…read more
  16. Newell Classical Event 2021

    How Virgil Framed Dido
    The Newell Classical Event 2021, celebrating the classical world, will take place online on Thursday 13 May. The lecture will be given by Edith Hall and is entitled How Virgil Framed Dido. This illustrated talk argues that the greatest feminist icon and quest heroine of antiquity was framed by Virgil, who knew quite well that she never even met Aeneas, and asks how contemporary actors cope with…read more
  17. St John’s rower Theo gets second chance at making Boat Race history

    “You always want to aim as high as possible but, going into this year, I never imagined that I would end up being selected for the Blue Boat”
    Theo Weinberger will be rowing for the Light Blues in the historic Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race on Easter Sunday after missing out in 2020 due to the pandemic. He told Karen Clare about making his comeback, training in lockdown and why this year’s Boat Race will be extra special. St John’s College rower Theo Weinberger had his hopes dashed of competing in the world famous Oxford and…read more
  18. Computer donations help pandemic-hit families access remote learning

    "We started working with the Red Hen Project, Cambridge Aid and Cambridge Housing Society at the start of the pandemic, getting IT equipment to the families they support"
    Old computer hardware from St John’s College has been recycled to support families and children in need during the pandemic. The hardware was donated in January last year to Emmaus Cambridge, a charity supporting people to work their way out of homelessness. Following an upgrade to College staff machines, almost 100 desktop computers were among the donated items, as well as printers, monitors,…read more
  19. FameLab beckons for St John’s PhD student

    Science communication competition designed to give scientists and engineers skills, confidence and opportunities to share their enthusiasm for research
    A surgeon-turned PhD student from St John’s has reached the regional finals of a science communications competition taking place as part of the new Cambridge Festival. Matthew Seah will have just three minutes to talk about his research in an engaging and entertaining way for the live online FameLab Cambridge final on Friday 2 April. The winner will go on to compete in FameLab UK, with the aim…read more
  20. ‘Uncomfortable and unpleasantly true’ story of slavery and abolition told in new exhibition bringing key collections together

    "Clarkson and Wilberforce were campaigning against structural inequality, cognitive dissonance and ethical blind spots"
    Personal campaign materials of slavery abolitionist and St John’s alumnus Thomas Clarkson form the basis of a thought-provoking new virtual exhibition hosted by the College Library. Slavery and Abolition: Collections Uncovered is taking place thanks to a first-time collaboration between the Library and Wisbech and Fenland Museum, which has a rich collection of artefacts owned by Clarkson, a…read more
  21. Student calls for workers’ religious freedoms to be fully respected to help prevent divisions in society

    "Fully guaranteed freedom of religion is needed to knot together societies again and fight polarisation"
    The religious freedom of workers should be enshrined in EU and UK law to enhance human rights and social cohesion, according to a new book co-authored by a St John’s student. David Garciandía Igal, who is doing an MPhil in Politics and International Studies, argues that religious conflicts in the workplace have intensified in recent decades in some nations due to religious pluralism – …read more
  22. 10-minute interview with postgraduate student Maaha Elahi

    "I think white people need to understand the impact of white privilege and how microaggressions can make people feel"
    Maaha Elahi, 23, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Officer of the Samuel Butler Room, the postgraduate society for students at St John's.  What is it like being in Cambridge during a pandemic? I’m doing an MPhil in Criminology which is only a one year course so it has all been under Covid-19 restrictions so far. I did my undergraduate degree in Law at St John’s too so I feel very lucky…read more
  23. Inside the NHS with St John’s medics

    "The model of medicine really hadn’t changed for hundreds of years, until Covid hit"
    The University’s clinical medical students are on the front line of the pandemic, working in placements across an NHS in the grip of Covid. Karen Clare caught up with three students from St John’s to ask them about the challenges they face. Ashwin Venkatesh is a sixth year medical student from Leeds who in February finished his final exams and began a work placement on a respiratory ward at West…read more
  24. Fellow’s memoir reveals life journey from Jewish immigrant childhood to St John’s College

    "This book is an attempt to understand myself: Who am I? Where do I come from? What did I achieve?"
    From being born into a poor Jewish immigrant community in post-war Edinburgh to becoming a Cambridge scholar of international repute, Professor Stefan C Reif OBE has led a remarkable life. Emeritus Professor of Medieval Hebrew Studies and Fellow of St John's College, Professor Reif was founding director of the world-renowned Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge University Library, holds honorary…read more
  25. Whispers of the past breathe life into First Court project

    “The detail in this lovely model takes our breath away. We see things for how they were, five centuries past"
    A newly created 3D model of the First Court as it was in the early 16th century has found its way home to St John’s College, after navigating the challenges of the pandemic. Karen Clare found out more. Alexander Kusztyk, who is in the second year of his PhD in History of Art at St John’s, was the driving force behind the project to recreate the stunning architecture of Bishop Fisher’s First…read more