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Visit to Cambridge University

Visit to Cambridge University

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Published by Rashmi Ghosh

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Published by: Rashmi Ghosh on Aug 15, 2012
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01/27/2015

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Visit to Cambridge University
Rashmi Narayanswamy
This summer we visited the glorious University of Cambridge, one of the world’s oldest universities
and a self-governed community of scholars. This university is rich in history attracting visitors from all overthe world and the University museums, library and collections hold many treasures, which enlightens usabout the academic pursuits of University scholars and students. The university grew out of an association of scholars in the city of Cambridge that was formed in 1209 by scholars who left Oxford after a dispute withthe townsfolk.Our first alight at the Cambridge station filled us with awe as we found ourself in a self-containedtown grown up very beautifully around the River Cam or Granta, from which the town took its name. Thefirst view of the magnificent buildings rising above the River Camp was breath taking, with its wide pavedroads motored by only tourist buses, few cabs and a large number of cyclists. The tour started at the SenateHouse which is mainly used for degree ceremonies, Kings and Queens College, which mainly runundergraduate courses. The university has traditionally maintained a strong emphasis on appliedmathematics, which is compulsory for any graduation course and the exam earned itself a name called
“Tripos”. The Cambridge M
athematical Tripos was competitive and helped produce some of the mostfamous names in British science like Clerk Maxwell, Lord Kelvin and Lord Rayleigh. Cambridge todaymaintains its strength in mathematics and many important scientific discoveries and revolutions were madeby Cambridge alumni like
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the laws of motion by Issac Newton, the development of Thermodynamics byLord Kelvin, the discovery of the electron by J.J. Thomson and the theory of Evolution by Charles Darwinand others.Initially only male students were enrolled but later the women came with a strong bastion with theestablishment of Girton College, Newnham College, Hughes Hall, New Hall, Lucy Cavendish College,Queens college and others. The gothic architecture of each building with tall spires of churches was eye
catching. The Mathematical Bridge over the river Cam at Queens’ College and punting on the river Camp
was completely out of this world. The beautiful English countryside with a host of blooming yellowDaffodils, bright red Tulips, green carpeted grass, ducks swimming in the river, the environment made uslong to lie down and savor the beauty. Cambridge is a collegiate university with its self- governing andindependent colleges, each with its own property and income. Most colleges bring together academics andstudents from a broad range of disciplines. Cambridge has 31 colleges, of which three- Murray Edwards,Newnham and Lucy Cavendish admit women only. The university is made up of over 150 departments,faculties, schools, syndicates and other institutions. A school in the University of Cambridge is a broadadministrative grouping of related faculties and other units and there are six such schools- Arts andHumanities, Biological Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Humanities and Social Sciences, Physical Sciences andTechnology.We visited the church which was round in shape, a unique architectural marvel and visited thebookstores and the city centre square. This university can be considered as the birthplace of the computer,with math
ematician Charles Babbage having designed the world’s first computing system in the mid 1800s.
English literature holds many a reference to the buildings at Cambridge like The Canterbury Tales byGeoffrey Chaucer where the two main characters are students at Soler Halle. It is believed that this refers to
King’s Hall, which is part of Trinity College. In Pride and Prejudice, a novel by Jane Austen, both Mr. Darcy
and Mr. Wickham, the primary antagonist, are Cambridge graduates. We also visited the /CambridgeUniversity Library which is the centrally administered library and comprises five separate libraries like theUniversity Library main building, the Medical library, the Betty and Gordon Moore Library, the CentralScience library and the Squire Law library.Our lovely trip was even made more memorable by punting, or rowing over the Camp river andcatching up with the beautiful sights from the river bed. Could one not study in such a conducive
atmosphere? Like Wordsworth I might say: “For oft, when on my c
ouch I lie, in vacant or in pensive mood,

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