A city full of Knowledge

Stephen Hawking was associated to the University of Cambridge for over 50 years, from his time as a PhD student to his time as director of the Department of Mathematics and Physics (Getty)

Like other great scientists, Stephen Hawking studied at the University of Cambridge, where he lived most of his life

On October 15, 1965, a young 24-year-old student called Stephen Hawking presented his doctoral thesis at the University of Cambridge. His theories astonished university professors and were a revolution in the field of theoretical physics and the study of the universe.

However, Hawking was not the first physicist to make history in Cambridge. Three centuries earlier, another restless-minded young man was strolling around the halls and classrooms of the university: Isaac Newton.

It was there where he developed the famous Newton’s Laws and the treatise of ‘Principia Mathematica’, a work that supposed a revolution in the history of science because he used mathematics to explain the laws of nature.

The biologist and naturalist Charles Darwin, mathematician Alan Turing, the neutron discovery scientist James Chadwick, the nuclear physicist Ernest Rutherford, the primatologist Dian Fossey … these are some of the brilliant minds who have studied in Cambridge.

8 centuries of history

The University of Cambridge is the second oldest English-speaking University, behind the University of Oxford. In fact, Cambridge was founded in 1209 by former Oxford scholars.

Today, Cambridge is considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world, especially in the scientific field. A total of 117 Nobel Prize winners studied in Cambridge.

The university has more than 100 academic departments divided into six schools (arts and humanities, biology, medicine, social sciences, physics and technology) and 114 libraries spread across faculties, departments and student residences.

The most important of all is the Cambridge University Library, which is the home of eight million books. Trinity College library has more than 200,000 books that date from before 1800, like the first edition of the Principia Mathematica with notes on it written by Newton himself.

Trinity College preserves a first edition of one of Isaac Newton’s ultimate work, published in 1686. (Wikipedia)

City of River Cam

The city of Cambridge has ancient origins: it existed long before the arrival of the Romans in Great Britain, more than 2,000 years ago. The Cam River crosses the urban core and gives its name to the city (Cambridge means “the bridge of the Cam”) and of course the university.

In fact, the river is one of the symbols of the city. Tourists stroll around in boats called punt propelled and directed with a pole (similar to that used in the gondolas), while university students train for rowing competitions against Oxford.

In addition to visiting the stately buildings on campus, in Cambridge you can go round places as emblematic as the house of Stephen Hawking; the museum of Robert Falcon Scott, explorer who died in Antarctica trying to reach the South Pole, or the pub where Francis Crick announced the discovery of the double helix of DNA.

A city full of knowledge that has known some of history’s greatest figures.

Translated by Chaplin’s Languages | Find out more in Junior Report


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