Portal:University of Cambridge

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University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge (informally "Cambridge University", or simply "Cambridge"), located in the city of Cambridge, England, is the second oldest university in the English-speaking world and the fourth oldest in Europe. The name is sometimes abbreviated as Cantab. in post-nominals, a shortened form of Cantabrigiensis (an adjective derived from Cantabrigia, the Latinised form of Cambridge). The university grew out of an association of scholars in the city of Cambridge that was formed, early records suggest, in 1209 by scholars leaving the University of Oxford after a dispute with townsfolk there. The universities of Oxford and Cambridge are often jointly referred to as "Oxbridge". In addition to cultural and practical associations as a historic part of British society, the two universities also have a long history of rivalry with each other. Academically, Cambridge is consistently ranked in the world's top five universities and as a premier leading university in Europe by numerous media and academic rankings. The University's alumni include 88 Nobel Laureates as of 2012. (more...)

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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

James Chadwick

James Chadwick (1891–1974) was an English physicist who was awarded the 1935 Nobel Prize in physics for his discovery of the neutron, and who led the British team that worked on the Manhattan Project during the Second World War to produce atomic bombs. He studied under Ernest Rutherford in Manchester and Hans Geiger in Berlin, where he demonstrated that beta radiation produced a continuous spectrum, not discrete lines as had been thought. He later became Rutherford's assistant director of research at the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge. Chadwick's research led to his discovery of the neutron in 1932; he later measured its mass. In 1935 he became a professor at the University of Liverpool, which he made an important centre for the study of nuclear physics. During the Second World War, Chadwick carried out research as part of the Tube Alloys project to build an atomic bomb, and wrote the final draft of the MAUD Report, which inspired the U.S. government to begin serious atomic bomb research efforts. He later served as the British scientific advisor to the U.N. Atomic Energy Commission and as Master of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. (Full article...)

Selected picture

An 18th-century Persian astrolabe from the collection of the Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Cambridge.  The museum was founded in 1944 when Robert Stewart Whipple presented his collection of scientific instruments to the University.
Credit: Andrew Dunn
An 18th-century Persian astrolabe from the collection of the Whipple Museum of the History of Science, Cambridge. The museum was founded in 1944 when Robert Stewart Whipple presented his collection of scientific instruments to the University.

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The King, observing with judicious eyes
The state of both his universities,
To Oxford sent a troop of horse, and why?
That learned body wanted loyalty;
To Cambridge books, as very well discerning
How much that loyal body wanted learning.

(lines written on George I's donation of the Bishop of Ely's Library to Cambridge University)

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King's Parade, Cambridge – the chapel of King's College is to the left
Credit: Rolf Süssbrich
King's Parade, Cambridge – the chapel of King's College is to the left

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