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Social Science Bites

magnetic words on a board

In this series of illuminating podcasts, you can hear leading social scientists present their perspectives on how our social world is created, and how social science can help us understand people and how they behave. Each podcast includes a downloadable written transcript of the conversation.

Here are just a few suggestions by subject:

There are also Philosophy bites arranged by theme, on everything from Plato’s Cave to Free Will and Morality without God.

Date posted: 

Friday 2 October 2015

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Essay Writing - Where To Begin?

tapping a pencil on a black writing pad

Credit:Rennett Stowe
 

Getting those first words on the page when you’ve got an essay to write can seem daunting. There are a few useful tools and guides online that can help you get started and even develop your essay writing skills.

Essay Map is a very straightforward tool for mapping out your key ideas before you begin writing and helps you to create a structured plan from introduction to conclusion.

And if you find graphic plans useful when it comes to mapping out essays, there are lots of different designs online that you can use to organise your ideas.

For something more advanced, Harvard College Writing Centre provides various guides to essay writing. Their guides to writing in different academic disciplines are especially useful if you’re starting to study a subject in greater depth than you ever have before (History? Philosophy? English Literature?).

Date posted: 

Friday 25 September 2015

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Space Biology

Space

What has research in space done for life on Earth? Credit: Sweetie187

If you are interested in Biology and Medicine, take a moment to think about Space Biology. It may well be something that you've not thought about before, but do you think that Space can and should be studied from a biological persepctive? How and why? What sorts of things might you study if you were looking at Space in this way?

Big Picture is a free Wellcome Trust magazine for sixth form students interested in Biology and Medicine - do have a look at this issue on Space Biology:

For more issues and resources, or to subscribe to Big Picture, see www.bigpictureeducation.com

Date posted: 

Thursday 17 September 2015

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What does an Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic dissertation look like?

manuscript in anglo saxonLucinda, an Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic student at Christ’s College, Cambridge, shares her thoughts on her undergraduate dissertation which asks: To what extent did the Anglo-Saxon Church condemn contemporary medical practices, and for what reasons?

She writes that “Although very niche, the Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic degree (or Tripos as it’s known in Cambridge) allows very flexible study in the range of papers it offers. Students can choose to focus on purely literature and language or on history, or as is most popular, they can mix the two together. Students have two opportunities to write a dissertation: it is optional in Second Year (Part I of the Tripos), and compulsory in Third (Part II). The beauty of the dissertation is that it allows you to either expand on an area you've already studied or to tackle something new which isn't covered in lectures or supervisions. For my Part II dissertation I chose the route of challenging myself with something I knew nothing about: Anglo-Saxon medicine.”

You can read more about Lucinda’s dissertation here.

Image: Tim Ellis

Date posted: 

Thursday 17 September 2015

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Architecture portfolios

Here at Cambridge, we have a degree in Architecture that brings together both the cultural and technological aspects of the subject. You would work on practical design in the department's studios, and also attend lectures and supervisions on everything from the history and theory of Architecture to issues of construction, environmental design and structure. It's a great degree if you enjoy both essay and sciences subjects at school, and if you are good at drawing and have an interest in the history of art and architecture. Do watch the course film!

Architecture Exhibition

A student exhibition - Ines talks about these in her student perspective

If you want to study Architecture in the future, you will need to create a portfolio of your work. We ask students who are invited for interviews to bring a portfolio to discuss with the interviewers. Some of the King's students have very kindly let us share their portfolio work as an example:

Varisa's portfolio
Emily's portfolio
Aska's portfolio

As you can see, there's a range of material here - the choice of material included in your portfolio is up to you. Successful candidates have brought paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and constructions of all kinds, and we particularly like to see material that conveys a spatial and three dimensional interest. We would not, however, expect to see designs for buildings – that is what you come to Cambridge to learn! The Director of Studies has provided further advice on portfolios.

Date posted: 

Wednesday 16 September 2015

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Online Lectures and Seminars

Keyboard with green button saying Learn Even if you’re too far away to attend an event, or don’t have the free time to sign up for events going on nearby, there are some fantastic resources online to let you catch up with things you might have missed!

So if you didn't catch the “The Art of Science and Curation” series which took place at the Faculty of Classics in Cambridge last year, recordings of its seminars are still available online. You can listen to perspectives on objects in museums from Archaeologists, Historians, Curators, Art Historians – even Librarians.

The Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) often makes videos of its events, which include presentations on  Gender in the History of Political Thought and Heritage Places in Africa.

The Lauterpacht Centre for International Law in Cambridge also post videos of their previous seminars and lectures.

And to watch and listen to lectures in a whole range of disciplines, Academic Earth host a collection of free online college courses from some of the world’s top universities – you can follow lecture courses in everything from Cognitive Neuroscience to Critical Reasoning for Beginners.

Image: Got Credit

Date posted: 

Tuesday 15 September 2015

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Considering Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 8

Lecture

In many of the courses taught at Cambridge, the Faculty lectures you attend are designed to open up and expand your critical perspective on the topics you are studying, as well as furthering your factual knowledge. You can then explore ideas and specific examples further in your reading and thinking, and through writing your weekly essays, then discussing them with your supervisors (see how you are taught).

As an example, three Cambridge lecturers in Music have written about one of the most famous twentieth-century chamber works from three very different angles.

Why not listen to Dmitri Shostakovich's Eighth Quartet (1960) and read:

  • A historical perspective
    by Prof Marina Frolova-Walker
  • An analytical perspective
    by Prof Nick Marston
  • A performance-related perspective
    by Prof John Rink

These can be found in the Music Faculty's Music@Cambridge Magazine Schools Edition (Michaelams 2015), pages 35-37.

Date posted: 

Saturday 12 September 2015

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Good books for computer scientists

Alan Turing

Alan Turing

If you are interested in studying Computer Science at university, it is good to build up a broad background understanding of issues in computer science. There's nothing specific that you have to read (a range of useful books are available so do browse your local library), but if you're looking for a suggestion, this is an excellent collection of accessible and relevant articles:

  • A Kee Dewdney, The (new) Turing Omnibus (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)

You can have a quick look inside the book on the Amazon website if that helps, and some useful exercises are included at the end of chapters. Do try them!

As soon as you start reading about the Cambridge Computer Science course, you will notice that mathematics is a required subject to be studying at school (and Further Maths is recommended if you have the opportunity to take it). Fluency in maths is essential for computer scientists, not only for formal proofs, but also because maths is the language used to describe almost every aspect of the subject. A second good book is therefore:

Date posted: 

Friday 11 September 2015

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European Day of Languages (26 Sept)

Day of languages logo

Credit: Council of Europe

The European Day of Languages on 26 September is fast approaching, and offers a good opportunity to think about linguistic diversity and the advantages of learning to communicate in other languages and gain more direct access to and understanding of different cultures.

Amongst the website resources there are some fun and interesting facts and lists:

Language skills are in demand and can lead to a wide range of careers. They also allow you to persue  a range of interets in your university degree  - depending on your course choices, you may study linguistics, literature, film, history, politics, philosophy, sociology, art criticism, and religion, as you will be able to read and study texts of all kinds in the original form.

Inspired? Why not watch some of the films about languages courses at Cambridge: Modern and Medieval Languages; Asian and Middle Eastern Studies; Linguistics, Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, Classics, Theology and Religious Studies.

Date posted: 

Wednesday 9 September 2015

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