Portal:University of Cambridge

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The University of Cambridge portal

University of Cambridge coat of arms official version.svg

The University of Cambridge (formally The Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Cambridge) is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209 and granted a Royal Charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two 'ancient universities' share many common features and are often referred to jointly as 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Cambridge has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Cambridge is formed from a variety of institutions which include 31 constituent Colleges and over 100 academic departments organised into six schools. Cambridge University Press, a department of the university, is the world's oldest publishing house and the second-largest university press in the world. The university also operates eight cultural and scientific museums, including the Fitzwilliam Museum, as well as a botanic garden. Cambridge's libraries hold a total of around 15 million books, eight million of which are in Cambridge University Library, a legal deposit library.

In the fiscal year ending 31 July 2017, the university had a total income of £1.71 billion, of which £458 million was from research grants and contracts. This is the largest annual income of any university in the UK. The central university and colleges have combined net assets of around £11.8 billion, also the largest of any university in the UK. The university is closely linked with the development of the high-tech business cluster known as "Silicon Fen". It is a member of numerous associations and forms part of the "golden triangle" of English universities and Cambridge University Health Partners, an academic health science centre.

As of 2018, Cambridge is the top-ranked university in the United Kingdom according to all major league tables. , Cambridge is ranked the world's second best university by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and is ranked 3rd worldwide by Academic Ranking of World Universities, 6th by QS, and 7th by US News. According to the Times Higher Education ranking, no other institution in the world ranks in the top 10 for as many subjects. The university has educated many notable alumni, including eminent mathematicians, scientists, politicians, lawyers, philosophers, writers, actors and foreign Heads of State. , 118 Nobel Laureates, 11 Fields Medalists, 6 Turing Award winners and 15 British Prime Ministers have been affiliated with Cambridge as students, alumni, faculty or research staff.

Selected article

James Clerk Maxwell
From 1748 to 1909, the University of Cambridge published a list of the rankings of the mathematicians in each year. The Senior or Second Wranglers were those who obtained the top marks in the Mathematical Tripos, the undergraduate mathematics examination. The prestige associated with the position of Senior Wrangler gradually increased through the course of its existence. In its heyday, the 19th century, the results of the exams would be reported in the major newspapers, such as The Times. Second Wranglers (the runners-up) such as James Clerk Maxwell (pictured) and William Thomson, went on to make considerable contributions to their fields. The order of merit listings began in 1748 and ended in 1909. The two top colleges in terms of number of Senior Wranglers are Trinity and St John's with 56 and 54 respectively. Obtaining the position of a highly ranked Wrangler created many opportunities for the individual's subsequent profession. They would often become Fellows initially, but these were only short term appointments in most cases, before the individual moved on to other professions, such as law, the Church or medicine. (more...)

Selected biography

Title page Certaine Errors in Navigation
Edward Wright (1561–1615) was an English mathematician and cartographer noted for his book Certaine Errors in Navigation, which for the first time explained the mathematical basis of the Mercator projection, and set out a reference table giving the linear scale multiplication factor as a function of latitude, calculated for each minute of arc up to a latitude of 75°. This was the essential step needed to make practical both the making and the navigational use of Mercator charts. He was educated at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. In 1589 Elizabeth I requested that he carry out navigational studies with a raiding expedition organised by the Earl of Cumberland to the Azores to capture Spanish galleons. In 1599, Wright created and published the first world map produced in England and the first to use the Mercator projection since Gerardus Mercator's original 1569 map. He also translated John Napier's pioneering 1614 work which introduced the idea of logarithms. Wright's work influenced, among other persons, Dutch astronomer and mathematician Willebrord Snellius; Adriaan Metius, the geometer and astronomer from Holland; and the English mathematician Richard Norwood. (more...)

Selected image

King's College Chapel viewed from the college's Front Court.
Credit: Dmitry Tonkonog
King's College Chapel viewed from the college's Front Court.

Did you know...

  • ... that the Cambridge CAP was the first successful experimental computer that demonstrated the use of capabilities, both in hardware and software?

Selected quotation

The King to Oxford sent a troop of horse,
For Tories own no argument but force:
With equal skill to Cambridge books he sent,
For Whigs admit no force but argument.

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The Great Court of King's College, Cambridge
Credit: Mark Williamson
The Great Court of King's College, Cambridge



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