Talk:University of Cambridge

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Former good article University of Cambridge was one of the Social sciences and society good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Method of assessing undergraduate candidates incorrect[edit]

"Cambridge, together with Oxford and Durham, is among those universities that have adopted formulae that gives a rating to the GCSE performance of every school in the country to "weight" the scores of university applicants." - It has already been noted that the citation does not say this. Added to that, I was at an Oxbridge conference for potential applicants a few months ago and they specifically said that whilst GCSE results are looked at (albeit significantly less than AS level results and A2 predictions), there is no formulaic calculation involving them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.147.47.70 (talk) 00:35, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

Criteria for inclusion in Literature and popular culture[edit]

With reference to Nikkimaria's removal of many referenced points in the Literature and popular culture section, could someone please state the criteria for inclusion of a cultural reference (and if possible, point to the relevant Wikipedia guideline(s) for them)?

Whilst I think there are far too many items in the list, I cannot see any given reason for each item's removal. cmɢʟee୯ ͡° ̮د ͡° ੭ 18:24, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Ideally, every item should have a reliable secondary source indicating its significance. That obviously isn't the case here right now, and further trimming should be done for items for which such sources cannot be found. The reference and work in which it appears should be significant. Again, more trimming is likely needed in this regard. Nikkimaria (talk) 18:36, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Agreed - way too much miscellaneous fluff here. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 18:38, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Agree with the previous two comments. I'd be expecting to see secondary sources here backing up any selection. Hchc2009 (talk) 19:02, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Note: I've boldly split much of the content to University of Cambridge in popular culture. Nikkimaria (talk) 20:36, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, all, especially Nikkimaria. When I've some spare time, I'll categorise them on the new page. cmɢʟee୯ ͡° ̮د ͡° ੭ 10:28, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
I've categorised them as in [1]. Any objections? cmɢʟeeτaʟκ 17:22, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Chomsky[edit]

Noam Chomsky is taught at Cambridge and described there as world-renowned. This should be mentioned in the article on Cambridge. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.153.168.232 (talk) 11:50, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Many 'world renowned' people are 'taught at Cambridge'. It's what the place does. Other than receiving an honorary degree, and delivering a lecture in 1970, did Chomsky spend any significant time at the University of Cambridge or have any other strong connection? If not, then there is no reason to mention him in this article. 85.210.172.88 (talk) 15:39, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Wording[edit]

The wording that says in the Foundation of colleges: As early as the 1520s, Lutheranism and what was to become more broadly known as the Protestant Reformation were making their presence felt in the intellectual discourse of the university.

Can someone with knowledge about this clear this up?

Robert (talk) 22:29, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

You might give us greater detail as to what you want. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.171.85.28 (talk) 14:13, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

Babbage[edit]

i still think charles babbage deserves to have his picture among the other "famous alumni". he is the father of the computer. without the analytic engine, we would be screwed. why hasn't anyone corrected this travesty? it is both frustrating and disappointing to see such a glaring omission. I3roly (talk) 17:33, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

I disagree. The illustrations on the University of Cambridge page cannot (without turning it into an image gallery) show every notable person who was at the University and is mentioned in the article.
Babbage started at Trinity in October 1810 and transferred to Peterhouse in 1812. He did not graduate with honours but instead received a degree without examination in 1814. He was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics from 1828 to 1839, but never gave a lecture. For the rest of his life (and probably for much of time during these periods also) he was elsewhere, mostly in London.
This is not to diminish Babbage as an important mathematician and brilliant polymath. Clearly he was at Cambridge, and, as it says in the article already, ‘designed the world’s first computing system’, but there are many other famous and outstanding people who spent their lives at Cambridge, and who are much more closely associated with the University. Rutherford, Hershel, Eddington, Dirac, Rayleigh, Thompson, Bragg, Crick, Chadwick, Cockcroft, Walton, Sanger and so on, all spent substantial parts of their careers at Cambridge. They are mentioned, but none is shown.
As to the Analytical Engine, it is arguable how influential it was on subsequent developments, as most of Babbage’s innovations were unknown and had to be re-invented. It has never been built, so to that extent, we are still ‘without it’. 85.210.169.114 (talk) 22:34, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Improvements of the lead with controversy[edit]

I sought to separate the paragraphs of the lead in accordance with their keynotes (brief description --> history --> academics --> other status (sports;endowment,etc)), and rephrase some statements in a way that is, in my opinion, easier to read (e.g. "Its largest library, Cambridge University Library, holds over 8 million volumes and is a legal deposit library; all together Cambridge's libraries contain about 15 million volumes." ---> "Its libraries hold about 15 million volumes in total, 8 millions of which are from Cambridge University Library, its largest legal deposit library."). But a user disagrees with my edit so I'm looking for more perspectives. biomedicinal (talk) 05:46, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

It is a good idea to have a structure to the lead and have specific tasks for each paragraph. I disagree with your suggested approach however. There is no need to have the first paragraph of just one a half lines. There is no need to have a paragraph only about financials, which there is not enough to say about to warrant a paragraph over a couple of lines.
I would propose something like:
Paragraph 1: Introduction and history
Paragraph 2: Campus, organisation
Paragraph 3: Academics (including rankings), alumni (alumni may also work in para 4)
Paragraph 4: Student life, affiliatons and memberships (including reference to Silicon Fen/golden triangle/academic health science centre)
The lead is also probably slightly too short at present, but the present structure is hindering development and expansion.92.19.149.188 (talk) 09:45, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

I know my approach has defects so have been seeking others' opinion. I see your point but I think:

  • "Campus" should be with the introduction if it's about the geographical location since the introductory statement just ends with "Cambridge, England";
  • Silicon Fen is more about its location and hence should be comprised into the first paragraph;
  • Medical research centers and partners are more about "academics";
  • Reputation (including golden triangles) should also be with rankings as they're of the same type (otherwise a clear definition of "academics" should be made).
  • Financial endowment is a reflection of its influence/reputation and hence should be in the academic paragraph if it shouldn't stand on its own.

Biomedicinal (contact)

The article itself has a structure which reflects the preferred structure for university articles. In that structure we see financials together with organisation and administration, not academics. Student life is a separate topic to academics.
These are all, of course, rather arbitrary divisions but having one paragraph of one and a half lines, then a very long paragraph which covers student life/"academics"/alumni/affiliations and memberships (including golden triangle/CUHP) is clumsy and also hinders further development and expansion of the lead.
I would propose something like: — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.19.149.188 (talk) 11:22, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
The University of Cambridge (informally known as "Cambridge University" or "Cambridge"; abbreviated as "Cantab" in post-nominals) is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England. Originally founded in 1209, it is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world, and the world's third-oldest surviving university. Early records suggest that the university grew out of an association formed by scholars leaving the University of Oxford after a dispute with townsfolk; the two "ancient universities" have many common features and are often jointly referred to as "Oxbridge".
Cambridge is formed from a variety of institutions that include 31 constituent colleges, and over 100 academic departments which are organised into six Schools. The colleges are self-governing institutions with their own endowments and property, founded as integral parts of the university. The university occupies buildings throughout the town, many of which are of historical importance. Student life is centred around the colleges and numerous artistic activities, sports clubs and societies. Cambridge has many notable alumni, and 90 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with it. It is regularly placed among the world's best universities in different league tables.
Cambridge's libraries hold about 15 million volumes in total, 8 millions of which are from Cambridge University Library, which is a legal deposit library. 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 operates eight arts, cultural, and scientific museums, including the Fitzwilliam Museum, and a botanic garden. Cambridge's endowment (£4.9 billion as of 2013) is the largest of any non-American university. In the year ended 31 July 2013 the university had a total income of £1.44 billion, of which £332 million was from research grants and contracts.
Cambridge is a member of many academic associations, including the Russell Group and the League of European Research Universities, and forms part of the "golden triangle" of English universities. It is closely linked with the development of the high-tech business cluster known as "Silicon Fen" and is part of the Cambridge University Health Partners academic health science.92.19.149.188 (talk) 11:20, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

So, I just read the page of guidelines and found that those affiliations should be comprised as part of "organisation", and the section of "academics" should be more about the academic environment, including research and libraries/museums that are unique to be discussed, of the institution. If we stick to the flow of the text and the suggestions above, the lead should be organised like this:

The University of Cambridge (informally Cambridge University or Cambridge; abbreviated as Cantab in post-nominals) is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England, founded originally in 1209. It is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world, and the world's third-oldest surviving university that grew out of an association formed by scholars leaving the University of Oxford after a dispute with townsfolk, and hence the two "ancient universities" have many common features and are often jointly referred to as "Oxbridge".
Cambridge is formed from a variety of institutions that include 31 constituent colleges, and over 100 academic departments organised into six Schools. The University occupies buildings throughout the town, many of which are of historical importance. The colleges are self-governing institutions founded as integral parts of the university. The central university and colleges have a combined endowment of around £4.9 billion, the largest of any university outside the United States. In the year ended 31 July 2013, the University had a total income of £1.44 billion, of which £332 million was from research grants and contracts. Cambridge is also a member of many associations and forms part of the "golden triangle" of English universities. It is closely linked with the development of the high-tech business cluster known as "Silicon Fen" and is part of the Cambridge University Health Partners academic health science.
Students' learning involves lectures and laboratory sessions organised by departments, and supervisions offered by the colleges. The University operates libraries and museums providing learning materials and exhibition covering different academic aspects. Further, Cambridge University Press is the world's oldest publishing house and the second-largest university press in the world. It is regularly placed among the world's best universities in different league tables. Student life is centred around the colleges and numerous artistic activities, sports clubs and societies.
Cambridge has many notable alumni, including several eminent mathematicians, scientists, politicians and artists, and 90 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with it.

Then it becomes (in accordance with the structure of the text):

  1. History
  2. Campus & Organisation/Administration
  3. Academics & Student life
  4. Notable alumni (upon further expansions)

Further development won't be hindered since notable alumni can be split to stand for a new paragraph (as of an independent section in the text). According to the guidelines, the lead should be a concise summary of the rest of the page so those detailed examples, like Russell's Group and Fitzwilliam Museum, shouldn't be included as this is just an introduction. Biomedicinal (contact)

I think we are broadly on the same page with some differences as to writing style and precise structure. I think affiliations and memberships works best in the final paragraph and this seems to be the approach followed in the articles of many UK universities.
It would be good to have the input of others. I personally don't like "has nurtured" at all, firstly because it is POV (a successful alumni may not necessarily have been "nurtured" by the university, may have only been there for a year postgraduate, and may even have had a bad relationship with the university or not enjoyed their time there) and also because it is for me too informal and hackneyed in style.
I wouldn't start a sentence with "They" in that manner ("They occupy buildings"), "The university" would be better there IMO. And rather than "Together, the endowment is the largest of any non-American university.", I think something like "The central university and colleges have a combined endowement of around £5 billion, the largest of any university outside the United States" would be better.
There is nothing in the guidlines which say that specific examples should not be quoted in article leads and the Russell Group is in my view lead worthy, it is the principal UK membership group of the university. 92.19.149.188 (talk) 16:10, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

I see your point about the wordings. I were trying to avoid using "the University" and "Cambridge" all the time which might be clumsy to read, but your suggestions make sense. Concerning with where to place the affiliations, I insist the information should be in paragraph 2 (organisation/admin.) as backed up by the guidelines so as to avoid any challenges of how to split the lead. Originally, I thought those associations belonged to the "academics" section since most of them (like the Russell's Group) are in fact academic in nature. Yet, as the suggestions stipulate the main ideas of such a section to be learning environment provided by the institution itself, and the subordination of those affiliations to organisation part, I prefer we should follow this structure. Some alterations were done on my suggested lead above, and you can have a look on them. Biomedicinal (contact)

Hi, generally v good but a few suggested tweaks from me:

The University of Cambridge (informally Cambridge University or Cambridge; abbreviated as Cantab in post-nominals) is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England. It is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's third-oldest surviving university. Founded in 1209, the university grew out of an association formed by scholars leaving the University of Oxford after a dispute with townsfolk; the two "ancient universities" have many common features and are often jointly referred to as "Oxbridge".

Cambridge is formed from a variety of institutions that include 31 constituent colleges and over 100 academic departments organised into six Schools. The university occupies buildings throughout the town, many of which are of historical importance. The colleges are self-governing institutions founded as integral parts of the university. The central university and colleges have a combined endowment of around £4.9 billion, the largest of any university outside the United States. In the year ended 31 July 2013, the university had a total income of £1.44 billion, of which £332 million was from research grants and contracts. Cambridge is a member of many academic associations, including the Russell Group, and forms part of the "golden triangle" of English universities. It is closely linked with the development of the high-tech business cluster known as "Silicon Fen" and is part of the Cambridge University Health Partners academic health science centre.

Cambridge's libraries hold a total of around 15 million books, 8 million of which are in Cambridge University Library, which is a legal deposit library. 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's eight museums contain collections across the arts, culture and sciences. Student life is centred around the colleges and numerous pan-university artistic activities, sports clubs and societies. Cambridge is regularly placed among the world's best universities in different league tables. 31.54.37.222 (talk) 21:00, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

I just changed my suggested part of academic & student life above to describe more about teaching & learning. I think we shouldn't emphasize too much on the "power" of libraries and museums since "academics" are about more than these. Biomedicinal (contact)