St John's College News

  1. Introducing ‘Souvient’ – a new Cambridge podcast series inspired by Lady Margaret Beaufort

    “We’re taking listeners behind the scenes at St John’s as we talk to some fascinating members of College”
    St John’s is today launching new podcast series Souvient to intrigue, inform and inspire listeners. In each episode host Heather Hancock, Master of St John’s, will be joined by a notable person from across the St John’s community for lively and thought-provoking conversations about their life and work. St John’s College combines eight centuries of tradition at the University of Cambridge with…read more
  2. Undergraduate takes Snowdon by storm for Charity Week

    “There was a thunderstorm and it was very cold but we made it to the summit”
    Geography student Rayyaan Hector swapped fieldwork for mountain effort when he climbed Snowdonia in Wales in aid of charity, helping to raise a staggering £12,349. The third-year St John’s undergraduate was among around 50 members of Cambridge University Islamic Society (ISoc) on the trek, which took place as part of the annual Islamic Relief UK Charity Week. Rayyaan at the summit of Snowdon. …read more
  3. St John’s College announces Christopher Gray as its new Director of Music

    “In Chris’ hands, the St John’s College Choir will sustain and enhance its reputation for breath-taking musicality and originality”
    ‘Exceptional musician’ Christopher Gray has been named as the new leader of The Choir of St John’s. Gray, currently Director of Music at Truro Cathedral, will conduct the world-famous choir which is renowned for launching the careers of many globally recognised musicians. Under Gray’s leadership since 2008, Truro Cathedral Choir's recent recordings have attracted praise from critics in the…read more
  4. Synthetic biology meets medicine: ‘programmable molecular scissors’ could help fight Covid-19 infection

    “It’s a really exciting and rapidly developing field, with enormous potential”
    Cambridge scientists have used synthetic biology to create artificial enzymes programmed to target the genetic code of SARS-CoV-2 and destroy the virus, an approach that could be used to develop a new generation of antiviral drugs. Enzymes are naturally occurring biological catalysts, which enable the chemical transformations required for our bodies to function – from translating the genetic…read more
  5. Postgraduates awarded research prizes

    St John’s students recognised in fields of English, Law and Politics
    Three postgraduate students at St John’s have been awarded prizes by UK and international bodies to recognise and support their research. Lewis Roberts, a second-year PhD candidate and Supervisor in English, has won a Stephen Copley Research Award from the British Association of Romantic Studies. Maxence Rivoire, a second-year PhD student in Law, came first in the Nappert Prize in International…read more
  6. Spotlight on postgraduate research

    “Enjoy the opportunity to hear from our excellent speakers and learn more about their work”
    ‘Innovative and important’ research being done by PhD students at St John’s College will be given the chance to shine at an annual presentation event. The St John’s Postgraduate Research Symposium will see 10 postgraduates from the College give short presentations on their research across a wide range of topics, from tiger conservation and green technologies, to the treatment of depression,…read more
  7. Tributes pour in for historian with generous spirit who loved St John’s

    “Of all the places he lived in the US, Japan, Hong Kong and the UK, St John’s was where he felt so at home”
    A leading historian of China and Fellow of St John’s known for his ‘intellectual energy’ and kindness has been remembered with great affection after his death. Dr Joseph (‘Joe’) P. McDermott died on Sunday 30 October, only days before his 77th birthday, after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in May. The US-born academic, who took his PhD at St John’s in the early 1970s and has…read more
  8. Trapped cygnet avoids swan song after firefighter rescue

    ‘When cygnets are six months old, parents cut ties with them and chase them away, sometimes quite aggressively’
    A swan got into a flap when it nestled in a narrow drainpipe on the side of The Old Library at St John’s College and promptly got itself stuck.  The juvenile swan was spotted by a student who was working in the computer room of the Library and he reported it to the College porters.  Steve Poppitt, Head Porter, said: “The trapped cygnet was given time to see if it would be able to free itself…read more
  9. A telling life

    ‘Creative writing is the mining of one’s own personal sensations and experience in order to create language that is convincing, elegant, intelligent’
    Prize-winning poet and author Vona Groarke has joined St John’s College as the new Writer in Residence. She is available to all students and to staff for one-to-one meetings and workshops about writing poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. Ahead of the publication of her 13th book, Hereafter: The Telling Life of Ellen O’Hara, she tells us about the value of creative writing, Covid’s impact on…read more
  10. Professor Ashoka Mody gives the Hinsley Memorial Lecture 2022

    College’s 22nd lecture entitled ‘Viewing Economics through a Moral Lens’
    The 22nd Hinsley Memorial Lecture was given by Professor Ashoka Mody, Charles and Marie Robertson Visiting Professor in International Economic Policy at Princeton University, on Tuesday, 18 October 2022. The lecture is entitled Viewing Economics through a Moral Lens and took place in the Old Divinity School at St John’s College. Listen to the lecture below or follow this link.   The Hinsley…read more
  11. Academic finalist in Vice-Chancellor’s Awards

    "The nominations... reflect the huge efforts and strong commitment of each of you to make a real difference to people’s lives"
    A Fellow at St John’s College has been recognised in the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Research Impact and Engagement 2022 for improving understanding of high-cost credit and the cost-of-living crisis. Dr Jodi Gardner was named a runner-up in the Established Academic category at the awards ceremony held yesterday (6 October) in the Old Divinity School at St John's College. Academics from across…read more
  12. Interim Director of Music to lead The Choir of St John’s

    “Stephen is an exceptionally experienced choral director and I know that the Choir, College, and our congregations, will all benefit from his skill, wisdom and warm humanity”
    One of the UK’s leading choral conductors has been appointed to temporarily direct The Choir of St John’s. Professor Stephen Darlington MBE was Director of Music and Tutor in Music at Christ Church, Oxford, from 1985 to 2018.  Previously he was Master of the Music at St Alban’s Abbey and Artistic Director of the world-famous International Organ Festival. Stephen will take up the post in Lent…read more
  13. Three world premieres to take place at St John's

    “It is very important for each generation of church musicians to keep refreshing and adding to the repertoire”
    Acclaimed composer Jonathan Dove has written a new service for The Choir of St John's in memory of the College's late Master, Professor Sir Christopher Dobson.  The new setting of the evening canticles will become an important addition to the repertoire the Choir performs in their evensong services.  The St John's service is ones of three world premieres taking place at St John's this term and…read more
  14. Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture 2022

    Public talk on ‘Black Holes, Thermodynamics and Information Loss’
    The 16th Andrew Chamblin Memorial Lecture, entitled Black Holes, Thermodynamics and Information Loss, will be given by Professor Robert Wald from the University of Chicago. A black hole is a ‘region of no escape’ produced by the complete gravitational collapse of a body. Black holes occur in nature and are of considerable importance in astrophysics. Black holes are also extremely important as…read more
  15. Hinsley Memorial Lecture 2022

    Professor Ashoka Mody will give the lecture, ‘Viewing Economics through a Moral Lens’
    The 22nd Hinsley Memorial Lecture will take place on Tuesday 18 October and will be given by Professor Ashoka Mody, Charles and Marie Robertson Visiting Professor in International Economic Policy at Princeton University, USA. The lecture is entitled Viewing Economics through a Moral Lens and will take place in the Main Lecture Theatre in the Old Divinity School, St John’s College, at 5.30pm.…read more
  16. Tributes paid to stalwart of College community

    “He was a really outgoing, fun character, always making people laugh”
    A popular former member of College staff has died at the age of 62. Peter Noble, a Building Services Labourer in the Maintenance Department at St John’s, retired from the College in April after 17 years’ employment and died on Wednesday 28 September from cancer. Tim Waters, Head of Capital Projects at St John’s, said: “Pete was a very much loved member of the College and especially within our…read more
  17. Memorial service to be held for PhD student Jonathan Gilmour

    Postgraduate to be remembered at College Chapel service
    A memorial service for Jonathan Gilmour, a postgraduate student who died in April, will be held in the St John’s College Chapel on Saturday 5 November at noon.   Jonathan, who first came to St John’s as an undergraduate in 2005 to study Theology and Religious Studies, has been described as a ‘shining light’ in the College community for more than a decade. The 35-year-old had Duchenne Muscular…read more
  18. Discover life at St John’s College at Cambridge Open Days

    “This is a real opportunity for people who are planning to apply to Cambridge to find out what it is like to live and study here”
    St John’s is throwing open its gates for University of Cambridge Open Days on 15 and 16 September to give a real flavour of what it is like for undergraduates to live and study in the College. Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday 8 September, the University of Cambridge has taken the decision that the Cambridge Open Days will go ahead. The Colleges of the University…read more
  19. Act of Remembrance at St John's College for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

    “The Queen remained an antidote to raw political power by embodying loyalty, service, the human touch and that quiet dignity on which true relationship and transformation is built”
    An act of remembrance and thanksgiving for the life of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was held at noon in St John's College Chapel today (Friday, 9 September 2022). The brief service included a reading by Heather Hancock, Master of St John 's College, prayers, two-minute silence, music from The Choir of St John's and the following introduction by The Rev'd Dr Mark Oakley, Dean of Chapel…read more
  20. Master of St John’s pays tribute to The Queen

    “The Queen's historic reign had an immeasurable impact on the nation. She was an extraordinary woman with an unparalleled sense of duty.”
    Her Majesty The Queen has died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland aged 96, Buckingham Palace announced today (8 September 2022). The Queen ruled for longer than any other monarch in British history and during her 70 years as Head of State she became a much loved and respected figure across the globe.  Known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service, the Queen was an important…read more
  21. The bagpipe-playing asylum seeker who is going to Cambridge

    “We left Nigeria to escape the violence there and to find a better life, it was tough leaving everything we knew behind. I knew education was the key and I needed to work hard at school”
    On A-level results day, some of the students who will be starting as undergraduates at St John's next term tell of the challenges they have faced – and overcome – en route to Cambridge. When Dami Fadun arrived in the UK from Nigeria he, his mother and three siblings could only speak broken English. The family had fled the violence that plagues the African country just days before his eighth…read more
  22. Floating ‘artificial leaves’ ride the wave of clean fuel production

    “Artificial leaves could substantially lower the cost of sustainable fuel production”
    Researchers have developed floating ‘artificial leaves’ that generate clean fuels from sunlight and water, and could eventually operate on a large scale at sea. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, designed ultra-thin, flexible devices, which take their inspiration from photosynthesis – the process by which plants convert sunlight into food. Since the low-cost, autonomous devices…read more
  23. Desperate British householders turning to loan sharks to make ends meet, says new study

    One million people now estimated to be using illegal loan sharks as households face unprecedented rise in energy bills Single-parent families, who are often women with children, are most likely to be living in poverty Cambridge academic is calling for affordable borrowing to be made legally available for those who need short-term loans to plug the gaps ​​​​​​​read more
  24. St John’s students scoop University accolades for outstanding academic performance

    End-of-year prizes awarded for exceptional results in exams and dissertations
    Seventeen current and recently graduated students from St John’s College have been awarded University and Departmental Prizes for achieving exceptional results in the 2021-2022 academic year. Mahin Vekaria, a third-year Economics student, received the Adam Smith Dissertation Prize from the Faculty of Economics. Fellow third-year Economics student Maxim Alexandroff Wilson was presented with the…read more
  25. Prehistoric roots of ‘cold sore’ virus traced through ancient herpes DNA

    “Something happened around 5,000 years ago that allowed one strain of herpes to overtake all others, possibly an increase in transmissions, which could have been linked to kissing”
    The first ancient herpes genomes to be sequenced suggest that the virus flourished in the Bronze Age due to migrations into Europe and possibly the emergence of kissing. Ancient genomes from the herpes virus that commonly causes lip sores – and currently infects some 3.7 billion people globally – have been uncovered and sequenced for the first time by an international team of scientists led by…read more