Portal:University of Cambridge

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The University of Cambridge Portal

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...)

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An Inglis bridge

Charles Inglis (1875–1952) was a British civil engineer who has been described as the greatest teacher of engineering of his time. He was educated at King's College, Cambridge, and then spent two years with the engineering firm run by John Wolfe-Barry before returning to King's College as a lecturer. Working with Professors James Alfred Ewing and Bertram Hopkinson, he made several important studies into the effects of vibration on structures and defects on the strength of plate steel. Inglis served in the Royal Engineers during the First World War and invented the Inglis Bridge, a reusable steel bridging system (example pictured) – the precursor to the Bailey bridge of the Second World War. In 1916 he was placed in charge of bridge design and supply at the War Office and, with Giffard Le Quesne Martel, pioneered the use of temporary bridges with tanks. He returned to Cambridge University after the war as head of the Engineering Department, which became the largest in the university and one of the best regarded engineering schools in the world. Knighted in 1945, he spent his later years developing his theories on the education of engineers and wrote a textbook on applied mechanics. (more...)

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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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  • ... that the University of Cambridge's West Cambridge site includes the site of an ancient Roman settlement?

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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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