Year 13

Some reading in French!

Book cover

Credit: Chris Drumm

Here's the beginning of Germinal a novel by Emile Zola:

Dans la plaine rase, sous la nuit sans étoiles, d'une obscurité et d'une épaisseur d'encre, un homme suivait seul la grande route de Marchiennes à Montsou, dix kilomètres de pavé coupant tout droit, à travers les champs de betteraves. Devant lui, il ne voyait même pas le sol noir, et il n'avait la sensation de l'immense horizon plat que par les souffles du vent de mars, des rafales larges comme sur une mer, glacées d'avoir balayé des lieues de marais et de terres nues. Aucune ombre d'arbre ne tachait le ciel, le pavé se déroulait avec la rectitude d'une jetée, au milieu de l'embrun aveuglant des ténèbres.

L'homme était parti de Marchiennes vers deux heures. Il marchait d'un pas allongé, grelottant sous le coton aminci de sa veste et de son pantalon de velours. Un petit paquet, noué dans un mouchoir à carreaux, le gênait beaucoup; et il le serrait contre ses flancs, tantôt d'un coude, tantôt de l'autre, pour glisser au fond de ses poches les deux mains à la fois, des mains gourdes que les lanières du vent d'est faisaient saigner. Une seule idée occupait sa tête vide d'ouvrier sans travail et sans gîte, l'espoir que le froid serait moins vif après le lever du jour. Depuis une heure, il avançait ainsi, lorsque sur la gauche, à deux kilomètres de Montsou, il aperçut des feux rouges, trois brasiers brûlant au plein air, et comme suspendus. D'abord, il hésita, pris de crainte; puis, il ne put résister au besoin douloureux de se chauffer un instant les mains.

A level plain, on a starless night, with a lone man walking along a straight road. This is how Zola begins Germinal. First the plain, then the darkness, then the man, and finally the plain again.In this novel, as in the others of the Rougon Macquart series, Zola devotes considerable attention to descrption, which he calls in Le roman expérimentale "un état du monde extérieur qui détermine et complète l'homme."
J.H. Matthews, 'The Art of Description in Zola's Germinal', Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures Vol. 16 , Iss. 4.

Posted: 15 September 2016

Plenty of places still available for King's open afternoon next Tuesday

open day group

We still have plenty of places available for the King's open afternoon next Tuesday (20 September). This event is for students who will be applying to Cambridge this October.  Please see our open days page for further details and to book a place. This is an opportunity for you to get to know the college a little better. There will be a talk, subject sessions, the chance to chat to current King's students and a tour of the college.

Posted: 14 September 2016

Specimen papers for pre-interview admissions assessments

Note saying 'Register before you apply'

Your school will normally register you.

If you're applying to Cambridge this year then you may have a pre-interview admissions assessment at your school or test centre on 2 November - it depends what course you are applying for.

Information is available on the admissions assessment page, and specimen papers are available if you would like to practice.

Important: Don't forget to make sure that you're registered in time! The registration deadline is 1 October (at 17:00 UK time) if you're applying for Medicine or 15 October (at 18:00 UK time) if you're applying for another subject that requires a pre-interview assessment.

Posted: 14 September 2016

Pairing socks

Here is a problem from i-want-to-study-engineering.org, the website written by Cambridge University Engineering department that helps you to apply for Engineering courses at top universities.

Jane has 5 pairs of socks. The first pair of socks are both red. The second pair of socks are both blue. The third pair of socks are both green. The fourth pair of socks are both yellow. The fifth pair of socks are both white. One sock from each pair is placed in a bag on the left, and the rest are put in a bag on the right.

In each turn, Jane draws one sock at random from each bag and folds them together to form a pair. After five turns, she has formed 5 pairs of socks. Find the probability that no pair consists of socks of the same colour.

See the hints and choose your answer!

Posted: 10 September 2016

What's it really like to study Geography?

Posted: 30 August 2016

Isaac Physics

isaac physics

Isaac Physics provides resources to offer support and activities in physics problem-solving to students (and teachers) working from GCSE (Year 11), through sixth form (Years 12 & 13), and to university.
 

They also run free UK events for AS and A2 Physics and Maths education. Here is a list of currently scheduled forthcoming events - do click on the links below for details and booking.

Posted: 30 August 2016

King's Year 13 Open Afternoon - 20 September

open day group

King's is running an open afternoon on Tuesday 20 September for prospective students - see our open days page for further details and to book a place. This is an opportunity for you to get to know the college a little better. It is designed for students who will be applying this October. There will be a talk, subject sessions, the chance to chat to current King's students and a tour of the college.

Many other colleges are also running open days in September for students who are applying this year - do see this page for the events available.

If you are visiting other Colleges and would like to see King's on the same day, do introduce yourself at the porters' lodge and say that you will be applying to Cambridge. The porters will be happy to let you walk around the public areas, and you might find our self-guided tour useful so that you know what you are looking at. NB if there is a 'College Closed' sign at the front gate, please don't be put off as this just means that tourists cannot enter.

Posted: 27 August 2016

What's it really like to study History?

Abdulla

The latest King's student perspectives piece is written by Abdulla, who has just finished his first year studying History here at King's.

King's Student Perspectives: History

It includes topics such as:

For more student perspectives written by students studying a range of subjects, see the King's Student Perspectives page.

Posted: 25 August 2016

The Economics of Austerity

interview with ha-joon chang

Dr Ha-Joon Chang, from Cambridge University's Faculty of Economics, interviewed with Owen Wilson recently for The Guardian. Dr Chang discusses the Conservative party's austerity programme, arguing that austerity is a ‘self-defeating strategy’ and an attempt to undermine the welfare state. The Cambridge professor also talks about inequality, asking whether the UK has ‘socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor’. You can watch the full interview here.

Posted: 24 August 2016

What's it like to study Linguistics?

Posted: 24 August 2016

Emmanuel College Law Residential

emmanuel college

Credit: Henry Hemming

Emmanuel College, Cambridge, will be hosting a one night Law school for Year 13 students in state maintained schools who are considering applying for Law at Cambridge and other Russell Group universities. The residential will take place from  27 - 28 September 2016.

The programme includes an introduction to studying Law at university, two Law lectures, and application workshops.

The deadline for applications is 3pm on Thursday 15 September.

Posted: 23 August 2016

What's it like to study History?

Students in a supervision

The latest King's Student Perspectives piece is written by Joel, who has just finished his first year studying History here at King's:

In his account, Joel writes about the History course, how the teaching works, how he found the transition from school to university, and the social life in Cambridge.

Posted: 22 August 2016

What's it like to study Geography?

Adam

The latest King's Student Perspectives piece is written by Adam, who has just finished his first year studying Geography here at King's:

In his account, Adam writes about the Geography course, how supervisions work, how he found the application process, what he likes to do when he's not working and the social life in King's.

Posted: 17 August 2016

Science and the Olympics

simone biles

Simone Biles competing in gymnastics. Credit: Agência Brasil Fotografias

As the Olympic Games in Rio continue, there are a whole host of articles coming up in the news and in journals discussing the events - and in particular, the science behind the games.

Here are just a few we've found:

Posted: 12 August 2016

Shakespeare - Where to start?

shakespeare first folio

Shakespeare's First Folio. Credit: ptwo

All students studying English at Cambridge take a paper (a module) on Shakespeare in their first or second year, but it can be daunting deciding where to begin with 38 plays and over a hundred poems to be getting on with!

You might like to start by looking back at what you’ve already covered. Many students have studied at least one of Shakespeare’s Tragedies at school (Macbeth, King Lear or Hamlet might be familiar?) or one the Comedies (Much Ado about Nothing or Twelfth Night?). You may even have approached a play that fits more problematically into both of or between these categories, such as The Tempest or The Merchant of Venice.

But have you ever read, or seen performed, one of the History plays? Or read some of Shakespeare's sonnets? Reading or watching one the poems or plays you've never come across before can be a good (and fun!) place to start. You can find all of Shakespeare's works online on Open Source Shakespeare or Shakespeare Online.

And then, why not check out Radio Four’s programme on Shakespeare and Literary Criticism?

Posted: 11 August 2016

What's it really like to study Human, Social and Political Sciences?

Posted: 22 July 2016

What's it like to study Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic?

Posted: 21 July 2016

Want to visit Cambridge during the summer?

King's

Prospective students are always welcome to visit

Remember that you are welcome to visit any time, even if there's not an official open day on.

  • If you would like to look around a college, it is best to introduce yourself at the porters' lodge (the reception). Porters are normally happy for prospective students to walk around the public areas and will give you any maps / information available. There's also a map of Cambridge, which shows where the colleges are. You'll see that the middle of Cambridge is quite small, so you will be able to walk between most colleges easily.
  • If you would like to visit King's, do introduce yourself at the porters' lodge when you arrive. The college will be open to prospective students and we have a self-guided tour that you can use.
  • You may like to visit on a day when we're running an informal meeting for prospective students. Do email us with your name and the subject you are interested in if you would like to book a place one one of these meetings.
  • There are some great museums and teaching collections which you might like to explore, most of which are free to visit. Or you might like to check the 'what's on' list for the day you are visiting - there are often talks and exhibitions on, as well as the Shakespeare Festival.

Posted: 20 July 2016

Cambridge Shakespeare Festival 2016

Fellows Garden

King's College Gardens

The Cambridge Shakespeare Festival takes place in July and August, with eight plays performed outside in some of the beautiful College gardens. Do see the website for full details.

11 July - 30 July 2016:

Character from A Midsummer Night's Dream

Credit: Cambridge Shakespeare Festival

1 - 20 August 2016:

1 - 27 August 2016:

Posted: 19 July 2016

Engineering Open Day Talks

engineering open day

A previous Engineering Open Day. Credit: Engineering at Cambridge

Thinking about Engineering, but didn't manage to make it to an Open Day? The Department of Engineering have uploaded videos of their open day talks online, as well as handouts of the slideshows.

You can find out about upcoming Engineering Open Days here or find out more about Engineering at King's on our subject page.

Posted: 18 July 2016

STEP Mathematics resources

Graph

Credit: Electric-Eye

Cambridge University has a free online STEP Mathematics course designed for students preparing to take STEP papers in the summer of 2017 (STEP exams are required if you are applying for Mathematics or Computer Science with Mathematics at King's).

The course has online modules for individual study, which are open to everyone.

The programme starts with three introductory modules for students to try in the summer holidays between Year 12 and 13, followed by 30 more modules released weekly from September.

More about STEP.

Posted: 1 July 2016

Examples of historical writing

Student in Chetwynd Court

Reading in Chetwynd Court

Are you interested in applying for one of the History degrees this October? Remember that the application process is not only about grades! We will be looking for students who have developed their interests in History and have the potential to succeed in this subject at Cambridge.

There is no set reading for History, History and Politics or History and Modern Languages. You may have already found material that you are enjoying, however if you are not sure what to read (where to start?) and are looking for some specific History material to look at over the summer, we hope that these examples of historical writing will be useful.

Posted: 27 June 2016

How is Britain Changing?

london central

Credit: Pedro Szekely

The competition for the Young Geographer of the Year Award provides students with the opportunity to explore geographical change from many different perspectives, at both local and national scales.

To enter, sixth form students must produce a 1500 word essay. Entries which illustrate how students have collected and used data from a variety of sources, including the collection of first-hand data through fieldwork, are encouraged. You can find full information, including details for how younger students can enter, on the entry form.

The deadline for all entries is 9:00 Friday 14 October 2016.

Posted: 15 June 2016

Reading Suggestions for Geography

Thinking of applying for Geography? There is no required reading for applicants, but the Director of Studies in Geography has provided some interesting and helpful reading suggestions to give a flavour of the material that you can study in the course. We also advise you to follow up on areas of your school courses that you have enjoyed.

You can find more ideas for developing your interests on the Geography page under reading, resources and events, or search for more social sciences posts.

Posted: 15 May 2016

The Charles Darwin Papers

primate skeleton in the museum of zoologyThe University's Museum of Zoology holds some specimens from Darwin's famous voyage on the Beagle

Credit: Andrew Griffin

The Charles Darwin Papers in Cambridge University Library hold nearly the entire existing collection of Darwin’s working scientific papers. Among these documents are Charles Darwin’s Evolution Manuscripts, his papers on the transmutation of species. Using these notebooks, annotations, and portfolios, Darwin wrote the nine of his fifteen books that set down, enlarged and defended the theory of evolution by natural selection. You can find the papers online at the Darwin Manuscripts Project.

The Darwin Correspondence Project also holds online resources for students, including a Darwin Timeline showing the key moments in Darwin's life and what was happening in Britain at the time, plus a series of audio clips and videos on Darwin's work. For example, the Face of Emotion series discusses Darwin’s work on expression in the context of current research in artificial intelligence, autism, and neuroscience. You can even try Darwin's Emotion Experiment for yourself here.

Posted: 12 May 2016

Inside Dyson's new engineering centre at Cambridge University

The Dyson Centre for Engineering Design opens today at Cambridge University, a new building that has been constructed with a £8m grant from the Dyson Foundation. The Centre will provide the space for 1,200 engineers to build prototypes, test, and collaborate on projects. The Centre provides:

  • Modern rapid prototyping hardware such as 3D printers, and materials for rapid 3D printing and 2D cutting
  • A range of hands‐on and interactive aids demonstrating new engineering concepts
  • Interactive apparatus to familiarise and offer experiences of engineering concepts giving students knowledge and confidence to invent and innovate their own designs and creations
  • Machine tools including lathes and milling machines
  • More equipment to come

The undergraduate space is already a hive of activity, with students creating models on the new 3D printers, using the new laser cutters, and even making their own parts in the machine tooling area. You can read more about the Centre in this article or find out about studying Engineering at King's.

Posted: 9 May 2016

What is it like to be a King's mathematician?

Corridor party

A corridor party in the Keynes accommodation

We hope that you are enjoying the new accounts in the King's Student Perspectives series. We now have a new one for Maths as well - Ellen has very kindly shared her experiences as a second year Maths student at King's.

Ellen's account includes (amongst other things):

If you are interested in applying for maths and you want to find out more about STEP papers after reading this account, do have a look at our Maths page, and in particular the resources section, which has some useful links for STEP Exams.

Posted: 29 April 2016

Topical news debate

Question time panel

Can you think of a recent news story that has particularly interested you or got you thinking? Or one that has caused a lot of controversy?

You might be interested in the weekly Question Time programmes on BBC 1, with topical discussion and debate chaired by David Dimbleby. This week's programme was filmed in Hull and the panellists were Conservative communities secretary Greg Clark, Labour's shadow home secretary Andy Burnham, former leader of the SNP Alex Salmond, former director of the Centre for Policy Studies Jill Kirby, and hedge fund manager and chairman of the ARK chain of academies Paul Marshall.

Who do you agree / disagree with?

International Students: unfortunately you can't access BBC iplayer outside the UK, however there is an equivalent Radio 4 programme which you should be able to access on BBC iplayer Radio called Any Questions (and Any Answers)

Posted: 28 April 2016

Free Taster Day in Latin and Classics

Latin text

Credit: Dan Diffendale

Have you ever tried learning Latin? Do you want to give it a go? The Classics Faculty is holding a Latin Taster Day on Saturday 18 June 2016 so that you can explore learning Latin for the first time, with language classes and a lecture on the Ancient World.

As the Classics course at Cambridge has a four-year option for students who are studying Latin for the first time, this is a very good opportunity to get a sense of whether Classics is for you.

All school-age students are welcome. The day is free to attend, please bring a packed lunch, and there are a limited number of hardship travel bursaries available. Please see the further information and booking.

Posted: 26 April 2016

What is it really like to study Engineering?

Fraser

Many thanks, Fraser!

We're pleased to introduce the latest King's Student Perspectives piece, which is written by Fraser, a first year studying Engineering:

King's Student Perspectives: Engineering

Fraser's account gives a detailed insight into his experiences on the Engineering course, as well as College life in general and his thoughts about the application process. It includes topics such as:
 

For more student perspectives written by students studying a range of subjects, see the King's Student Perspectives page.

Posted: 25 April 2016

Shakespeare's 400th Anniversary

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford upon avonThe Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Credit: Phil Dolby

You may have read in the news recently that 23 April 2016 marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

On last week's BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live, Edward Wilson-Lee (Faculty of English) and Victoria Bartels (Faculty of History) contributed to the commemorations of the death of Shakespeare.

The BBC Shakespeare Festival has lots more TV & Radio programmes coming up, as well as articles on historical performances, and Much Ado Near Me, which features regional Shakespeare resources, including clips and articles for Newcastle, York and the Tees.

There are also upcoming events in and around London as part of Shakespeare400, a season of cultural and artistic events throughout the year celebrating Shakespeare's creative achievement and his profound influence on culture across the centuries. Events include theatre, music, opera, dance, and exhibitions. Some highlights:

Posted: 24 April 2016

What is it really like to study HSPS at King's?

Punting

The latest King's Student Perspectives piece is written by Ceylon, who is studying Human, Social and Political Sciences (HSPS) here at King's:

In her account, Ceylon writes about why she chose the course, what  the teaching is like, the workload and what she likes to do when she is not working, the social life in King's and College families, where and how she likes to do her work, and her thoughts on admissions interviews.

Posted: 21 April 2016

Join The Conversation

models hugging each other Read about the science of hugs. Credit: Meg Cheng

The Conversation is an online source of news and views from the academic and research community. Their aim is to allow for a better understanding of current affairs and complex issues - so that conversations are started!

Here are a few recent articles by subject:

Posted: 12 April 2016

Advice from the Computer Science Faculty

William Gates Building

The William Gates Faculty Building on the West Cambridge Site.

Are you interested in Computer Science? Here is the Faculty advice (from the FAQ's) about developing your interests for this subject:

At the admissions stage we look for two major things: academic ability and passion for the subject. Whilst the course itself does not have any pre-requisites other than mathematics, it is difficult to discern a passion for the subject if a candidate has never tried any form of Computer Science. Therefore, from an admissions perspective, it would be wise to do something that shows your independent interest in the area. Examples of this include reading around the subject, learning a programming language, contributing to open-source projects, releasing a phone app, or building hardware (robots etc). Any one of these, when done well, would be sufficient to demonstrate your passion.

If you choose to learn a new language, it may be a good idea to learn one that is not explicitly taught in the Tripos. Doing so obviously helps to avoid repetition, but also gives you a wider perspective on languages that can be useful later in the degree and in employment. A popular choice is python, for which there are many tutorials available.

We recommend getting hold of a Raspberry Pi and following one of the many hardware and software tutorials for it on the web. An additional advantage of this route is that you will gain familiarity with the UNIX command line: a very valuable skill to have in the Tripos!

Find out more on the King's Computer Science page including what we are looking for in applicants.

Posted: 3 April 2016

Tom's account - guess the subject!

Question mark

Credit: Leimenide

Tom is from rural Lincolnshire and has written a detailed King's Student Perspectives account about studying at King's. But which course do you think he is describing below?

The wonderful images of artefacts and the obscure topics in the prospectus entry had me instantly hooked, and I immediately wanted to find out more about the course. I had originally intended to study History at Cambridge, and to specialise in this period, but as soon as I saw ?????? I knew straight away that it was
for me! After some further research, it was the small size of the faculty and the total freedom that the course offers from the first year that drew me to it.

The best thing about studying ????? is that it’s an intellectually stimulating experience. The course is enjoyable in its own right – the system of lectures,
translation classes and supervisions, along with the ready availability of relevant books, means that you can pursue the interests you have in mind when applying to the full. You’ll never find yourself with nothing to do – and this is not necessarily a bad thing! ????? material is interesting and it will always keep you on your toes, which makes for a challenging but enjoyable lifestyle.

You can find out  what Tom's course is and how he as found it in his Student Perspective, and you might like to ask yourself some questions about the material in his course, find out more, and even come along to an open day on 22 June.

Posted: 2 April 2016

11 April - Physics talk in Oxford

Are you interested in Physics? Do you live near Oxford?

  • Talk: Investigating the origins of magnetic fields using the largest laser on Earth
  • Speaker: Dr Jena Meinecke
  • Date: 11 Apr 2016 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
  • Venue: Martin Wood Complex, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PU
  • Audience: General public (Age 14+)
  • Further information and booking: Oxford University Physics Department website

Posted: 1 April 2016

Student Life FAQs

King's College fun dayKing's College Fun Day

We recently welcomed a group of Year 12 students from East Yorkshire into King's. Some important and interesting questions about student life came up, which we hope might be helpful for others!

Do you stay in college accommdation for all years of study?

Yes, normally. All Colleges except St Edmund's provide accommodation for three years, and many also allow an additional year  for students taking one of the four-year courses. See, for example, the King's accommodation page, which explains the range of modern and traditional rooms, how the room ballot system works, and the choice of rent lease periods.

Students on longer courses, such as Medicine (6 years), are likely to live outside the College accommodation at the end of their course when they have graduate status, however there is a lot of support provided by the university's accommodation service to help with this (Medicine students often share a house close to the hospital, which works well for Medicine clinical studies).

What is the workload like on a Cambridge course?

Cambridge courses are demanding, but they can also be very rewarding. We provide unparalleled learning opportunities for our students. Not only are you taught in the lecture theatre by academics who are experts in their field, but our supervision system means that you receive more personal tuition from them too. One of the most distinctive characteristics of our courses (also called Triposes at Cambridge) is that they cover the subject area very broadly in the initial years and then offer a wide range of options in which to specialise in the later years.

In terms of workload, this varies somewhat from subject to subject - you might like to watch 'A Day in the Life' to get a sense of what a typical week might be like for a sciences, arts or humanities student.

How expensive is studying and living in Cambridge?

For UK and EU students, Cambridge University charges £9,000 a year in tuition fees for all courses. It is important that you understand that UK and EU tuition fees will not need to be paid up front. Students will be able to pay their fees through government loans that are repaid after graduation, and only once a graduate earns more than £21,000 per year. For details of these loans and the further financial support available please see our financial support page.

With living costs, these can vary depending on your lifestyle - for example, depending on how much you like to spend per week on food (Cooking for yourself? Eating in the college dining hall? Going out for dinner?). A reasonable estimate for total living costs for 2016/17 is £8,500 for UK students for the three terms of the normal academic year. Overseas students should increase this figure for extra travel or accommodation costs according to their circumstances (we recommend that overseas students allow £9,570 per year). There may be some additional financial support available for maintenance (living costs) as well as tuition fees.

Do you have much spare time while studying? What is social life like at Cambridge?

While the courses at Cambridge can be quite intense, students still find time to socialise, get involved in sports, music, theatre or student unions, join societies (student clubs) - there are so many opportunities to have fun as well as study!

King's provides a relaxed and friendly environment where it's easy to meet people. When new students arrive each year, we have a Freshers' Week designed to welcome them and ease them into College life. More generally, King's is a fairly small community with lots of events and activities throughout the year, so there are plenty of opportunities for friendships to develop. Students from all backgrounds quickly feel at home in College. For more information on what it's like to study different subjects at King's, check out our student perspectives. We also have more general FAQs here.

Many thanks to the students from East Yorkshire for their questions!

Posted: 29 March 2016

30 March and 7 April - Informal Meetings for Prospective Students

bodley's court

A view of Bodley's Court in King's

Are you thinking of making an application to Cambridge this October, and would it help to come and talk to us at King's? Wednesday 30 March or Thursday 7 April would be good times if you're able to come to Cambridge as we're holding meetings for prospective students on these days. It's nothing complicated - just a chance to meet Heather (one of our Admissions Officers) and ask any questions that you have at this stage. The meeting will be followed by a short tour of the college, or if you'd prefer to walk around the grounds of King's using our self-guided tour, you'll be very welcome to.

If you're interested in attending one of these informal meetings, do send us a quick email to book a place, including your name and the course you're interested in. We'll then send you further information.

Posted: 17 March 2016

Cambridge Literary Festival

bookart at the cup bookshopBook art at the CUP bookshop

Every Spring and Winter, Cambridge Literary Festival takes place in venues around the city centre, engaging with the newest fiction, cutting edge commentary and science, children's events and lots more. This year, the festival will run from 5-14 April 2016. Events require booking, and all student tickets are £6. Highlights include:

  • 07 April - Louis de Bernieres - Author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and The Dust that Falls from Dreams dicusses his life and work.
  • 09 April - Akala - Hip-Hop Shakespeare demonstrates the similarities between hip-hop and the work of the much-loved bard.
  • 09 April - Irvine Welsh - Author of Trainspotting discusses his new novel, The Blade Artist.
  • 10 April - Charlotte Harman - Biographer of Charlotte Brontë: A Life.
  • 10 April - Faber New Poets -  Showcasing the talents of new poets: Elaine Beckett, Crispin Best, Sam Buchan-Watts and Rachel Curzon.
  • 10 April - Simon Callow - discusses Orson Welles: One Man Band, the third volume of this epic biography.

There are more events listed on the full schedule.

Posted: 7 March 2016

A is for Aerotropolis

Outside Dubai Airport Dubai Airport - Credit: Fabio Achilli

'Aerotropolis' is a term introduced by John D. Kasarda in 2000 and refers to urban and economic developments centred around major airports. The airport becomes a kind of "airport city", a commercial hub much like a traditional metropolis, with a central business district and transport-linked suburbs.

If you're interested in studying Geography at King's, Matthew Gandy, one of our Fellows, recommends The Dictionary of Human Geography by Derek Gregory, et al., which outlines some of the key concepts and debates in human geography. The journal Nature is also a good place to find articles, such as this recent editorial which argues that environmental agencies must go much further in regulating aircraft emissions if they want to make a real difference.

Posted: 19 February 2016

Gravitational waves detected 100 years after Einstein’s prediction

An international team of scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens an unprecedented new window onto the cosmos.

The gravitational waves were detected on 14 September 2015 by both LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) detectors in Louisiana and Washington State in the US. They originated from two black holes, each around 30 times the mass of the Sun and located more than 1.3 billion light years from Earth, coalescing to form a single, even more massive black hole.

You can read the full article here.

These findings will be discussed at next month's Cambridge Science Festival during the open afternoon at the Institute of Astronomy.

Posted: 12 February 2016

What's a Language, Anyway?

Pile of booksCredit: Alan Myers

In a recent article for The Atlantic, John McWhorter considers the differences between a language and a dialect, and how linguists might distinguish between them.

"It turns out that it’s impossible to determine precisely where one “language” leaves off and another begins."

"The serendipities of history chose one “dialect” as a standard and enshrined it on the page."

"Is a dialect, on some level, unsophisticated, as if it doesn’t have a literature because it is unsuited to extended thought and abstraction?"

Read the full article online here. If you're curious about Linguistics, you might also be interested in:

 

Posted: 10 February 2016

INSIGHTS Public Lectures

Image credit: Marijn de Vries Hoogerwe

Do you live near a university? Do check for public lectures. For example, the INSIGHTS lectures at Newcastle University are free and open to all.

Attending university lectures is a brilliant way to inform, stimulate, and excite debate.  These lectures aim to cover a wide range of disciplines and are a great way for you to explore contemporary issues, particularly those that affect our daily lives. Here is a taster of what is on offer:

Upcoming Lectures

You can also listen to recordings of previous lectures if you explore the archive section. You may find the recordings ordered by theme especially useful (click on the headings in the menu on the left of the page).

Posted: 5 February 2016

Shakespeare 400

Shakespeare books on a shelf

Credit: Helder da Rocha (cropped)

To mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, King's College, London is co-ordinating a consortium of leading cultural, creative and educational organisations, who will be putting on a range of public performances, programmes, exhibitions and creative activities.

Do explore the Shakespeare400 website!

Posted: 4 February 2016

Friday 19 February - Informal Meeting for Prospective Students

View of Bodley's CourtAre you thinking of making an application to Cambridge this October, and would it help to come and talk to us at King's? Friday 19 February would be a good time if you're able to come to Cambridge as we're holding a meeting for prospective students for an hour that day. It's nothing complicated - just a chance to meet Heather (one of our Admissions Officers) and ask any questions that you have at this stage. The meeting will be followed by a short tour of the college, or if you'd prefer to walk around the grounds of King's using our self-guided tour, you'll be very welcome to.

If you're interested in attending this informal meeting, do send us a quick email to book a place, including your name and the course you're interested in. We'll then send you further information.

Posted: 1 February 2016

Veterinary Medicine Open Day

The Department of Veterinary Medicine, perhaps surprisingly, has a long tradition of studying infectious diseases. Their work is wide-reaching, and combines leading experts in veterinary and biological sciences, public health and social sciences, ecology and wildlife health. - To find out more you can book a place on their open day (Bookings will open at 10.30am on Monday 8 February)

For more science events, do browse the Cambridge Science Festival programme. Booking opens at 10:30am on 8 February

Posted: 29 January 2016

Oxford and Cambridge Classics Conference for Sixth Formers

Statue from the museum of classical archaeology

On 18 March 2016, together with colleagues at Oxford, the Cambridge Classics Faculty will be holding the joint Oxford and Cambridge Classics Conference for Sixth Formers.

This year, this will take place at Cambridge. The day provides an opportunity to hear a range of university-style Classics lectures, to find out more about the Classics courses at the two Universities, student life, and the admissions process, and to ask any questions you have.

Full information and a booking form is available on the Classics the Greeks, the Romans and us website.

Posted: 27 January 2016

Reith Lectures on Black Holes (Stephen Hawking)

Each year the BBC invites leading speakers in different fields to deliver the Reith lectures, which are broadcast on Radio 4. The subject of this year's Reith Lectures is Black Holes and the speaker is Stephen Hawking. If you have not already caught them, you might enjoy the following Radio 4 broadcasts:

..and if you'd like to test your knowledge, do have a look at this quiz on black holes.

Information about accessing BBC iplayer content outside the UK: See this information and see the podcast download page.

NB. This is an example of a resource that can be accessed from lots of different places. We tag such posts with 'all locations'. If you live some way from Cambridge, clicking on the all locations page can be useful so that you filter out events in Cambridge and events in specific areas of the UK.

Posted: 27 January 2016

Computer Science at Cambridge Science Festival

Do browse the festival programme now. Booking opens at 10:30am on 8 February

The programme has just been published for this year's Cambridge Science Festival, which will run from Monday 7 March to Sunday 20 March. Events which may be of interest to prospective Computer Science students include both talks and activities, and the opportunity to visit some of the University's facilties. Here are some examples:

Mon 7 - Happier and healthier - smartphones (15+, booking)
Tues 8 & Wed 9 - Historical letterpress printing (15+, booking)
Wed 9 - The intersection of society and technology (15+, booking)
Thurs 10 - Turing's imitation game (15+, booking)
Sat 12 - Be a Computer (12+, booking)
Sat 12 - Alan Turing and the Enigma Machine (12+, booking)
Sat 12 - Big data: the missing link (15+, booking)
Mon 14 - Data: how can cities become smarter? (15+, booking)
Mon 14 - Back to the future: computing history (12+, booking)

Bookings for the Cambridge Science Festival open on 8 February at 10:30am. Please see the Cambridge Science Festival website.

Posted: 25 January 2016

Hull University public lecture: The death and reinvention of Scotland 1750 - 1850

Credit: David Wilson

On 29 January, Professor Sir Tom Devine, OBE, one of Scotland's most acclaimed historians, is giving a public lecture at the University of Hull on The death and reinvention of Scotland 1750 - 1850.

The lecture starts at 6pm and will last an hour. It will take place at Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, 27 High St, City of Kingston upon Hull, Hull, North Humberside HU1 1NE, United Kingdom (map). For further details, please scroll down this page.

A programme of public lectures at the University of Hull is available.

Posted: 24 January 2016

Physics at Cambridge Science Festival

Posted: 22 January 2016

Chemistry at Cambridge Science Festival

Test tubes

Do browse the festival programme now. Booking opens at 10:30am on 8 February

The programme has just been published for this year's Cambridge Science Festival, which will run from Monday 7 March to Sunday 20 March. Events which may be of interest to prospective Chemistry students include both talks and activities, and the opportunity to visit some of the University's facilties. Here are some examples:

Mon 6 - Choral Evensong (all ages, booking)
Tue 8 - FameLab Cambridge final (15+, booking)
Tue 8 - Solar energy: past, present and future (15+, booking)
Tue 8 - SciBar Cambridge (15+, booking)
Wed 9 - Look what chemistry has done for me (15+, booking)
Thurs 10 - Climate science (15+, booking)
Thurs 10 - A sustainable future: finding your way (15+, booking)
Thurs 10 - How proteins fold, my research career. (15+, booking)
Sat 12 - Structural data and molecular design (all ages, booking)
Thurs 17 - Plants to drugs (12+, booking)

Bookings for the Cambridge Science Festival open on 8 February at 10:30am. Please see the Cambridge Science Festival website.

Posted: 22 January 2016

Biology and Medicine at the Cambridge Science Festival

Science Festival pin badges

Do browse the festival programme now. Booking opens at 10:30am on 8 February

The programme has just been published for this year's Cambridge Science Festival, which will run from Monday 7 March to Sunday 20 March. Events which may be of interest to prospective students for Biology and Medicine include both talks and activities, and the opportunity to visit some of the University's facilties. Here are some examples:

Mon 7, Tue 8, Mon 14, Wed 16 -  Parasite (15+, booking)
Mon 7 - What Darwin did next (12+, booking)
Mon 7 - Artificial intelligence vs. the human brain (15+, booking)
Tues 8 - Organ transplantation: dilemmas (15+, booking)
Wed 9 - Pregnancy as a compromise (15+, booking)
Thus 10 - What population genetics can teach us (15+, booking)
Fri 11 - The brain: how we really make decisions (15+, booking)
Sat 12 - Structural data and molecular design (all ages, drop in)
Sat 12 - What can a tiny nervous system do? (15+, booking)
Sat 12 - Your primate relatives (8+, booking)
Sat 12 & Sun 13 - Biology challenges (all ages, drop in)
Sat 12 & Sun 13 - Cells in the know (all ages, drop in)
Sun 20 - Computing in molecular and cell biology (12+ booking)
Sun 20 - A real operating room (8+, booking)
Sun 20 - Using the immune system to fight cancer (12+, booking)
Sun 20 - Making new medicines for old diseases (12+, booking)
Sun 20 - Surgical simulation techniques (12+, booking)
Sun 20 - Brain injury and new technology (15+, booking)
Sun 20 - Pregnancy, diabetes and research (15+, booking)

Bookings for the Cambridge Science Festival open on 8 February at 10:30am. Please see the Cambridge Science Festival website.

Posted: 21 January 2016

Durham: Find out about research in Antarctica

Durham

Keep an eye out for interesting local exhibitions and events!

There are a number of exhibitions and events at Palace Green Library, Durham University on the Polar Regions, focusing particularly on the discovery, exploration and ongoing work taking place in Antarctica.

You will find full details of the following events on the Palace Green Library website.

  • Exhibition: Antarctica: Exporers, Heroes, Scientists
  • Exhibition: With Scott to the Pole
  • Exhibition: Antarctic Witness
  • Exhibition: Antarctic Science Today
Antarctic peninsula

The Northern Antarctic Peninsula. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

As well as visiting the exhibitions, do take the opportunity to talk to scientists from Durham University's Department of Geography about research in Antarctica  and ask any questions that you have about what current research is happening and why this is important for our understanding of climate change - they will be available every Saturday at the 'Ask a Scientist' events (next event: Saturday 23 January 12 noon until 3pm).

There is also a talk on Antarctic Exploration on Wednesday 27 January 2016, using the Royal Geographical Society archives. NB. If you would like to find out about using archives in academic research, you may find the King's Introduction to Archives useful to look at in advance of this talk.

Posted: 21 January 2016

Competition: Communicating the Ancient World through film

Credit: Giovanni

The Faculty of Classics at Cambridge is well known for putting the Ancient World on screen. With Mary Beard, Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, and others on the staff, Cambridge’s Classics academics are some of the most familiar faces on TV documentaries.

This new competition invites you to take part in this mission of communicating the Ancient World through film (YouTube, not BBC1 just yet!). We are looking for creative and interesting films which explore a classical object or topic in less than 4 minutes. There will be a prize fund of £500 for the best entries and the winning videos will be put on our unique website – The Greeks, The Romans & Us  – which features a range of videos of Cambridge’s well-known and up-and-coming Classicists.

How to take part

For full details, please see the Video Competition page on The Greeks, The Romans & Us website. The deadline for entries is 15 March 2016. Do send any questions about the competition to the Classics Faculty Schools Liaison Officer.

Good Luck and we look forward to watching your film!

Posted: 3 January 2016

Physics lectures

Planets

Image credit: Sweetie187

Forthcoming lectures for sixth form (Year 12 and 13) at the Cambridge Physics Centre:
 

  • Thursday 3rd December 2015:
    Fruitful flavour at the Large Hadron Collider (Prof Valerie Gibson)
     
  • Thursday 14th January 2016:
    Engineering Information (Dr Jossy Sayir)
     
  • Thursday 4th February  2016:
    The history, nuclear physics and radiobiology of polonium-210 (Prof Paddy Regan)
     
  • Tuesday 15th March  2016:
    Dark Matter (Dr Carolin Crawford)

Please see the full information, including how to get to the lectures.

Posted: 15 November 2015

Isaac Physics website

Many universities have admissions tests and interviews that involve solving problems.

In the area of physics and mathematics the Isaac Physics website provides an opportunity to practise the skills needed for such problems, and will be particularly helpful for students who are interested in studying Natural Sciences (Physical) or Chemical Engineering via Natural Sciences. You may find the Core Maths for All Scientists section particularly useful.*

Of course , if you're invited for interviews at Cambridge, do remember that you may be asked questions on a wider range of science than is presented on the Isaac Physics website. The interview film on this page provides a good introduction to Cambridge interviews.

*in A level terms, this section focuses on the material from modules C1, C2 and M1.

Posted: 26 October 2015

York - Exploring Light

Light bulbs

Credit: Faith Goble

How is light used in scientific research today?

On Saturday 31 October,  the University of York, The Institute of Physics, York Hackspace, Illuminating York and York Explore  are presenting a day of hands-on, fun activities and talks from artists and physicists focusing on light.

Posted: 20 October 2015

Mary Renault essay competition (Years 12 & 13)

Credit: Giovanni

St Hugh's College, Oxford is running an essay competition in memory of author Mary Renault (best known for her novels set in ancient Greece) for sixth form students who are not studying Greek or Latin to A level or equivalent.

Essays can be from any subject area and should be on a topic relating to the reception of classical antiquity. This includes Greek and Roman literature, history, political thought, philosophy, and material remains in any period from the Middle Ages to the present.

For full information, please see the Mary Renault prize flyer. The deadline for submissions is 16 January 2016.

Posted: 16 October 2015

Nautilus – Science, connected

Spiral staircase from above Credit: Marc Cornelis

The online and print journal Nautilus is not just for scientists. In fact, there are articles and blog posts on everything from ‘The Cello Music of the Spheres’ to ‘Why Red Means Red in Almost Every Language’.


“We are here to tell you about science and its endless connections to our lives. Each month we choose a single topic. And each Thursday we publish a new chapter on that topic online. Each issue combines the sciences, culture and philosophy into a single story told by the world’s leading thinkers and writers. We follow the story wherever it leads us. Read our essays, investigative reports, and blogs. Fiction, too. Take in our games, videos, and graphic stories. Stop in for a minute, or an hour. Nautilus lets science spill over its usual borders. We are science, connected.”


Here are just a few links to articles in different subjects:

You can find articles on many more subjects through the links on the right of this page.

Posted: 9 October 2015

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.

Posted: 2 October 2015

The Science of Life 2016

image of brain Credit: Allan Ajifo

The Science of Life is a competition inviting 16-19 year olds to design and complete their own physiology research project, with the help of an academic mentor, and present their findings to scientists at The Physiological Society. With the Olympics in 2016, they're particularly interested in projects on improving sports performance, although projects on any physiological topic are welcome.

Prizes
• Gold prize will be a Train Like a Champion Day at an English Institute of Sport centre, during which the winners will find out what makes a champion athlete and meet the people who support athletes, including physiologists, doctors and psychologists.
• Silver and Bronze prizes include a free visit to the Royal Veterinary College and £200 Amazon gift vouchers for the students.
• The winning schools will also receive some great prizes.

Students intending to take part in the competition must first register their project by 16 November 2015.

Posted: 30 September 2015

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?).

Posted: 25 September 2015

Word of the Day

dictionary word of the day

Credit: Alan Myers

 

There are a few online dictionaries that post a 'word of the day' to help broaden your vocabulary with less common words as well as suggesting some more familiar words whose meanings you might not be so sure on. You can even sign-up to have these emailed to you daily. Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster are just two of the websites that offer these free subscriptions.

And if you're studying a modern language you might want to sign-up for the French, Spanish, Italian or German word of the day. You can find even more languages here.

 

Posted: 18 September 2015

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

Posted: 17 September 2015

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

Posted: 17 September 2015

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

Posted: 15 September 2015

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.

Posted: 12 September 2015

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:

Posted: 11 September 2015

King's students write about a typical day

Student with an inflatable boat

Do you want to know what it's like to be a student at King's? King's College Student Union (KCSU) is keen to help you out - they are collecting short accounts written by current students of what it is like to study here. Do look at A Day In The Life Of.... and click on the subject you're most interested in, or start with Scott's general description of life as a fresher.

Did you find this useful? Then do also look a our King's Student Perspectives section for more student writing.

Posted: 25 August 2015

Friday 4 Sept - Informal meeting for prospective students

Old Lodge

Are you thinking of making an application to Cambridge this October, and would it help to come and talk to us at King's? Friday 4 September would be a good time if you're able to come to Cambridge as we're holding a meeting for prospective students for an hour that day. It's nothing complicated - just a chance to meet Kristy (one of our Admissions Officers) and ask any questions that you have at this stage. If you want to also walk around the grounds of King's using our self-guided tour, you'll be very welcome to.

If you're interested in attending this informal meeting, do send us a quick email to book a place, including your name and the course you're interested in. We'll then send you further information.

Posted: 24 August 2015

What next? A Year in Industry, perhaps?

Portrait of Rosie the Riveter, WW2 US female munitions worker, in codeWe can code it! Rosie the Riveter, in code. Image credit: Charis Tsevis

The Year in Industry (YINI) team helps post-A Level / Higher / Advanced Higher and undergraduate students to find work placements in the UK in all areas of engineering, science, IT, e-commerce, business, marketing, finance, logistics and more.

Posted: 19 August 2015

Inside the Ethics Committee

Rod of Asclepius, symbol of Medicine, emblazoned 'first do no harm'First do no harm? Daniel K. Sokol, a barrister and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Medical Ethics and Law at King's College London, unpicks this aphorism in the BMJ. Image credit: Eden, Janine, and Jim

To study Medicine at Cambridge, you not only need to be a keen scientist, with a sound scientific understanding, but also have the potential to become a good doctor. The Clinical School believes that one of the key qualities of a Medical student is 'a sound appreciation of ethical, legal and community issues.'  BBC Radio 4's Inside the Ethics Committee gives you an insight into some of these issues.  In each programme, the presenter Joan Bakewell is joined by a panel of experts to wrestle with the ethics arising from a real-life medical case. In recent weeks, they've asked:

  • should a surgeon agree to a young woman's request to amputate her leg? (Thursday 16 July)
  • how far should a medical team go to prevent a young woman from ending her life? (Thursday 23 July)
  • is it ever ethical to withhold food and water in a child who is not dying? (Thursday 30 July)
  • should a medical team accept a teenager's choice to refuse chemo? (Thursday 6 August)

How would you wrestle with these dilemmas?

Posted: 6 August 2015

What maths and physics is needed for Engineering?

Protractors

We've tried to be as clear as possible about the material you need to be familiar with to make a strong application. Credit: Dean Hochman

To thrive on the Engineering or Chemical Engineering via Engineering course, it is essential to have a very strong foundation in Mathematics and Physics (both are required  school subjects).

We know that sometimes it can feel a bit difficult to know exactly what is needed and how to prepare as an applicant for a course that you start new at university. Depending on your school qualifications, you may also be concerned about differences in maths and physics syllabuses. We've provided some detailed advice at the link below - we hope that you will find it useful:

Posted: 21 July 2015

Do you live too far away to visit Cambridge?

The Vaults (King' s College Gym)

Different people need different facilities. This is one of the treadmills in the King's Vaults gym.

It is not unusual to make a successful application without ever having set foot in Cambridge. Don't worry if it is not practical for you to visit as there is no requirement to do so.

Since we welcome applicants who live a long way from Cambridge, we do our best to ensure that all the infomation that you need to make a strong application is on our website (see the relevant subject page and how to apply in particular), as well as virtual tours and the life and facilities sections so that you can get a sense of King's as a place:

We also have a dedicated page for if you don't feel very well supported for your application, and the student perspectives are particularly useful (if you read five or six of these, you'll have a very good sense of what studying at King's is like).

The University has made some films which you may also find useful:

Posted: 14 July 2015

Would you like to visit Cambridge during the summer?

King's

Prospective students are always welcome to visit

Remember that you are welcome to visit any time, even if there's not an official open day on.

  • If you would like to look around a college, it is best to introduce yourself at the porters' lodge (the reception). Porters are normally happy for prospective students to walk around the public areas and will give you any maps / information available. There's also a map of Cambridge, which shows where the colleges are. You'll see that the middle of Cambridge is quite small, so you will be able to walk between most colleges easily.
  • If you would like to visit King's, do introduce yourself at the porters' lodge when you arrive. The college will be open to prospective students and we have a self-guided tour that you can use.
  • You may find the Following in the Footsteps audio tour useful for visiting other parts of the University. Cambridge University is made up of colleges, faculties (where you go for lectures), libraries (over 100 of them!) and offices dotted around the city, and following this tour will give you a good sense of how it all works.
  • There are also some great museums and teaching collections which you might like to explore, most of which are free to visit. Or you might like to check the 'what's on' list for the day you are visiting - there are often talks and exhibitions on, as well as the Shakespeare Festival.

Posted: 10 July 2015

Veterinary Medicine Open Day (Year 13)

Horse

Credit: Phil Roeder

Are you interested in studying Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge?

Sidney Sussex College is offering places on a very useful open day for Year 13 students on 5 September. A provisional programme is available, and please go to the Sidney Sussex College website to book a place if you want to.

The Veterinary Medicine course is available at all Colleges except Christ's, Corpus Christi, Homerton, Hughes Hall, King's, Peterhouse and Trinity. Information about Colleges.

Posted: 9 July 2015

Extract from Sartre's 'La nausée'

Book cover

Whatever books you enjoy, reading a little in the language you are studying most days will make all the difference

Here's an extract from Sartre's La nausée for those who are studying French at an advanced level - see how you get on with it. Can you describe the ideas that the narrator conveys? Can you pick out a few key sentences? Which words, phrases or grammatical constructions are new to you?

Quand on vit, il n'arrive rien. Les décors changent, les gens entrent et sortent, voilà tout. Il n'y a jamais de commencements. Les jours s'ajoutent aux jours sans rime ni raison, c'est une addition interminable et monotone. De temps en temps, on fait un total partiel : on dit : voilà trois ans que je voyage, trois ans que je suis à Bouville. Il n'y a pas de fin non plus : on ne quitte jamais une femme, un ami, une ville en une fois. Et puis tout se ressemble : Shanghaï, Moscou, Alger, au bout d'une quinzaine, c'est tout pareil. Par moments — rarement — on fait le point, on s'aperçoit qu'on s'est collé avec une femme, engagé dans une sale histoire. Le temps d'un éclair. Après ça le défilé recommence, on se remet à faire l'addition des heures et des jours. Lundi, mardi, mercredi. Avril, mai, juin. 1924, 1925, 1926.

Ça, c'est vivre. Mais quand on raconte la vie, tout change; seulement c'est un changement que personne ne remarque : la preuve c'est qu'on parle d'histoires vraies. Comme s'il pouvait y avoir des histoires vraies ; les événements se produisent dans un sens et nous les racontons en sens inverse. On a l'air de débuter par le commencement : « C'était par un beau soir de l'automne de 1922. J'étais clerc de notaire à Marommes. » Et en réalité c'est par la fin qu'on a commencé. Elle est là, invisible et présente, c'est elle qui donne à ces quelques mots la pompe et la valeur d'un commencement. « Je me promenais, j'étais sorti du village sans m'en apercevoir, je pensais à mes ennuis d'argent. » Cette phrase, prise simplement pour ce qu'elle est, veut dire que le type était absorbé, morose, à cent lieues d'une aventure,  précisément dans ce genre d'humeur où on laisse passer les événements sans les voir. Mais la fin est là, qui transforme tout. Pour nous, le type est déjà le héros de l'histoire. Sa morosité, ses ennuis d'argent sont bien plus précieux que les nôtres, ils sont tout dorés par la lumière des passions futures. Et le récit se poursuit à l'envers : les instants ont cessé de s'empiler au petit bonheur les uns sur les autres, ils sont happés par la fin de l'histoire qui les attire et chacun d'eux attire à son tour l'instant qui le précède : « Il faisait nuit, la rue était déserte. » La phrase est jeté négligemment, elle a l'air superflue; mais nous ne nous  y laissons pas prendre et  nous la mettons de côte : c'est un renseignement dont nous comprendrons la valeur par la suite. Et nous avons le sentiment que le héros a vécu tous les détails de cette nuit comme les annonciations, comme les promesses, ou même qu'il vivait seulement ceux qui étaient des promesses, aveugle et sourd pour tout ce qui n'annonçait pas l'aventure. Nous n'oublions que l'avenir n'était pas encore là; le type se promenait dans une nuit sans présages, qui lui offrait pêle-mêle ses richesses monotones et il ne choisissait pas.

J'ai voulu que les moments de ma vie se suivent et s'ordonnent comme ceux d'une vie qu'on rappelle. Autant vaudrait tenter d'attraper le temps par la queue.

Jean-Paul Sartre, La nausée (Gallimard,‎ 1938) pp. 62-64.

Posted: 7 July 2015

FutureLearn

Basic Science: understanding numbers from the Open University is a four week course beginning on 6 July. The course explains how you can use numbers to describe the natural world and make sense of everything from atoms to oceans.

Here's an opportunity to explore and develop your academic interests this Summer, whatever your subject, wherever you live.

FutureLearn offers free online courses, developed by leading universities and cultural institutions. For example, beginning next week (29 June) you could explore Literature of the English Country House with the University of Sheffield, or deploy Real World Calculus with the University of Sheffield.

Posted: 23 June 2015

Architecture Student Work Exhibition in London (7-9 July)

Architecture Exhibition

A previous ArcSoc exhibition

The University of Cambridge Architecture Society (ArcSoc) annual Summer Show is a presentation of student work in London, with material on display from the initial explorations of first year to the final schemes of third and fifth years.

If you're interested in studying Architecture, do keep an eye on the Summer Show page for further detail of what is happening on 7 - 9 July. During the exhibition there will be an afternoon of free public lectures from contemporary practitioners and university academics, as well as a day for prospective students. The location is G1 F Block, Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL.

Photos from past shows are also available, and Ines discusses the Summer Show and other ArcSoc activities in her King's Student Perspective.

Posted: 19 June 2015

Reading lists!

Books on a bookshelf

Doing some reading is a good way to develop your academic interests, but don't get overwhelmed! Credit: Les Chatfield

We're sometimes asked for advice about what prospective students should read.

If you are looking for reading suggestions (particularly as you approach the summer, when you may have a bit more time), you may find the reading lists for all subjects in the offer-holders' section useful. Depending on your subject, you will find useful book sugestions or problem-solving websites and other advice. These 'lists' can be particularly useful if you don't know where to start, or if you'll be studying a subject at Cambridge that you don't already study at school, such as Human, Social and Political Sciences, Law, Philosophy, Engineering, Linguistics, Medicine or Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic.

Do:

  1. Be yourself and follow your interests
    None of the Cambridge courses have books that you have to read before you apply, so if you've already found some material that you're finding interesting and engaging, and is developing your academic interests, don't stop!
  2. Make a few brief notes
    Making a list of the points that interest you, or any thoughts on the arguments you encounter, is a good thing to do as you read if you can (even if you keep them very brief). This will help you to remember the most important points, and also to notice where your interests lie.
  3. Explain to somebody else
    Are you taking it in? A good way to ensure that you've understood something is to try to explain it to somebody else. Do you have any friends or relatives who might be interested in what you're reading? If you can explain the main points in an idea to somebody who does not know about the subject, that is normally a good sign that you've got it clear in your own head!

Try to avoid:

  1. Being daunted
    The lists we provide are meant to be helpful for those looking for suggestions. We're not trying to overwhelm you. Just like the kinds of suggestions you get from supervisors and lecturers when you're studying at Cambridge, some of the subject lists are quite long so that you can pick and choose according to your interests. Don't be put off by this!
  2. The tick-box approach
    The important point about your reading is not which books you've read but what you get out of them. So our advice is: don't rush to read as many books as possible in order to tick them off a reading list. It is much more important that you take time to enjoy the material and think about it. Remember that the best things to mention on the personal statement or your UCAS application form are the things that genuinely interest you.

Posted: 15 June 2015

Isaac Physics Partnership - resources and events

The Isaac Physics Partnership provides resources to offer support and activities in physics problem-solving to students (and teachers) working from GCSE (Year 11), through sixth form (Years 12 & 13), and to university.
 

The partnership also runs free UK events (funded by the Department for Education) for AS and A2 Physics and Maths education. Here is a list of forthcoming events - do click on the links below for details and booking.

Posted: 12 June 2015

Introduction to Archives

Rupert Brooke in uniformRupert Brooke in uniform, at Blandford, Dorset. 1914. Archive Centre, King’s College, Cambridge. RCB/Ph/262

Why not access and use primary sources to explore and develop your academic interests this Summer?

King's College Archive Centre has developed an Introduction to Archives, using the papers of King's student and First World War poet Rupert Brooke as a case study.

The website is divided into two parts:

  1. Introduction to archives: What archives are, the key principles of archival research and how to access primary sources (sections 1-6).
  2. Rupert Brooke case study: How these ideas apply to the papers of Rupert Brooke, through interpretation activities focussing on different aspects of his life and a few of his most famous poems (sections 7-10).

Once you've worked through the online resources, you'll be ready to visit an archive near you to do some research of your own.

Posted: 12 June 2015

Economics: Maths is important!

Calculator

Mathematical techniques are an essential tool for Economics. Credit: Horia Varlan

To thrive on the Cambridge Economics course, you need to enjoy (and be good at!) Mathematics at school and have an interest in applying mathematical and statistical tools to economic problems. The first year at Cambridge includes a compulsory course in Quantative Mathods that covers Maths and Statistics (you can read the paper description if you'd like to).

When you look at the course requirements for the Cambridge Economics course, you will notice that Mathematics is a required subject (you can't apply without it). Depending on what qualifications you are applying with, this may be A level Mathematics (there are multiple exam boards), IB Higher Level Mathematics, an Advanced Higher in Mathematics from the Scottish system, Pre-U Mathematics, Advanced Placement Calculus BC if you're taking US qualifications, or Mathematics up to your final year in one of the many other qualifications that we can admit you with.

In A level terms, you are presumed to have mastered the material in modules C1 - C4 by the end of your school maths course, and you will find it easier to tackle the Quantitative Methods course if you have taken module S1. If you don't know what we're talking about, the topics are set out at the top of page 2 in the paper description, or you could always have a look at an A level syllabus specification to compare the content with the maths you've been doing.

If you have the opportunity to take Further Mathematics, that would be very helpful once you start the course, especially the Pure and Statistical options (rather than Mechanics or Decisions Maths). 

Sample questions resource

We know that it can be tricky (especially if you're not studying for A levels) to work out if your mathematical skills will give you a good preparation for Economics at Cambridge. The Director of Studies at King's has prepared some sample mathematical and analytical questions for you to look at. If you work through these questions, we hope that this will give you a good sense of the kind of mathematical and analytical skills that we will be looking for when we consider you for a place.

For more information, do read the Economics course information and the reading, resources and events section on the page about studying Economics here at King's College!

Posted: 10 June 2015

Mathematics for Biologists and Chemists

Test tubes in the laboratoryImage credit: Horia Varlan

Undergraduate Biologists and Chemists will find they need some mathematics in order to access and make the most of their science. Natural Scientists at Cambridge can choose between three first year Mathematics courses: Mathematics (usually taken by those specialising in Physical Sciences), Mathematical Biology (usually taken by those specialising in Biological Sciences), and Elementary Mathematics for Biologists (designed for Biological Scientists who did not take A Level Mathematics or equivalent).

Our Natural Scientists explain that 'knowledge of mathematics is essential for all scientists; it is the language with which we formulate theories and natural laws and express our ideas.' But what can you do to gain fluency in mathematics?  They advise you to 'practise thinking mathematically in non-routine contexts.'

Posted: 8 June 2015

London Anthropology Day (2 July)

Aztec calendar

An Aztec Calendar. Credit: Michael McCarty

Booking is open for the London Anthropology Day on Thursday 2 July. If you're in Year 12 or Year 13 and would like to participate in biological and social anthropology workshops with lecturers from universities across the UK, as well as explore the British Museum's ethnographic galleries and meet undergraduate students, do read the information and programme, and consider booking a place (the event is free of charge).

Posted: 5 June 2015

Luminarium - a website for students with a curiosity for English Literature

An old book

Credit: popturf.com

If you're interested in studying English at Cambridge, we recommend that you try to read material from a number of different periods if you can, as the course will introduce you to the full range of literature from the Middle Ages to the present day.

If you want to explore what you could read from some of the earlier periods and are wondering what you might enjoy, why not spend some time browsing the Luminarium website? It's an anthology of English Literature with particularly well-developed sections for Medieval Middle English Literature (1350-1485), Renaissance Literature (1485-1603)Early 17th Century Literature (1603-1660), and Restoration & 18th Century Literature (1660-1785).

Here's a poem by Henry Vaughan (1621-1695) to get you started:

Quickness

False life! a foil and no more, when
                Wilt thou be gone?
Thou foul deception of all men,
That would not have the true come on!

Thou art a moon-like toil ; a blind
                  Self-posing state ;
A dark contest of waves and wind ;
A mere tempestuous debate.

Life is a fix'd, discerning light,   
                   A knowing joy ;
No chance, or fit : but ever bright,
And calm, and full, yet doth not cloy.

'Tis such a blissful thing, that still
                   Doth vivify,
And shine and smile, and hath the skill
To please without eternity.

Thou art a toilsome mole, or less,
                   A moving mist.
But life is, what none can express,
A quickness, which my God hath kiss'd.

For poem and source, see Luminarium. The poet page has further resources including book recommendations.

Posted: 4 June 2015

History of Art with the Tate

Gallery at Tate St. IvesA gallery at Tate St Ives. Image credit: Herry Lawford

Tate galleries host the national collection of British art from 1500 to the present day, along with international modern and contemporary art.

If you'd like an introduction to the History of Art, or an opportunity to explore and develop your existing interests in the field, try their free online courses.

If you have the opportunity, visit the Tate:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art offer similar free online resources.

Posted: 29 May 2015

Problem-solving: Moon orbit around the earth

Do you want to be really good at problem-solving? The key is to get plenty of practice.

Here is one of the problems from i-want-to-study-engineering.org, a practice website designed for students who plan to apply for Engineering at top universities:

Assuming that:

  • the average distance between the earth and the moon is 3.8 x 108 m,
  • on average, it takes the moon 29 days to go round the earth,
  • the approximate value of the universal gravitational constant
    G= 6.7 x 10-11m3kg-1s-2.

estimate the mass of the earth.

Is the answer:

  • approximately 5 x 1023kg?
  • approximately 6 x 1024kg?
  • approximately 7 x 1025kg?
  • approximately 42kg?
  • None of the above?

For hints, topic information and answers, see the problem page itself, or for more problems (there are more than 200 available), see the problem index.

Further information:

Posted: 26 May 2015

Spotlight on HSPS: Archaeology

Archaeological excavation at Hierapolis, TurkeyArchaeological excavation at Hierapolis, Turkey. Image Credit: Chris Parfitt

Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge offers a unique range of related disciplines, which can be studied in many combinations, or with a concentration on a single discipline: you can work on Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Archaeology and / or Sociology. Many (or all) of these subjects will be new to you, so how do you know what's involved?

As the course website explains, Archaeology is the study of the human past. Archaeologists investigate the origins of our species, document the diversity of ancient cultures, and explore the emergence of the first cities and empires. Archaeologists study material remains (from stone tools to monuments) and settlements (from villages to cities) to answer questions including: How did tool use affect evolution of the modern human brain? What can the earliest art tell us about interaction and cognition of early humans? How did daily life change with domestication of plants and animals? What are the sources of social inequality? When - and why - did leadership emerge? How did early empires encompass such vast territories, and why were their rulers so powerful?

Specialist courses in Ayssyriology (the study of Mesopotamia) and Egpytology are also available as part of the HSPS degree.

Find out more:

Posted: 22 May 2015

Biological Natural Sciences Subject Day: Thursday 16 July

Small cell carcinoma. Image credit: Yale Rosen

Cambridge Institute for Medical Research and King's College are jointly hosting a Biological Natural Sciences Subject Day on Thursday 16 July. Come and meet the CIMR's researchers and students and see the inner workings of their specialist research facilities, including world-class super-resolution microscopy. Join us at King's for lunch and for admissions and research talks by our Directors of Studies in Biological Natural Sciences. This event is open to Year 12 (or Year 13) students at UK schools who are currently researching applications for Biological Natural Sciences at university. Please note that this is not a suitable event for students who wish to apply for and study Medicine at university. Please see the provisional programme and apply online by Friday 19 June.

Posted: 20 May 2015

Summer Medicine Residential at King's: 23 - 24 June 2015

Skeleton, front court, King'sKing's skeleton

King's College Student Union invites prospective Medics at UK state schools and colleges to apply for our Summer Medicine Residential. If you're currently researching an application for Medicine at university, and would like to have a taste of what studying at Cambridge is like, this event could be for you! The participants will attend supervisions in Biochemistry, Physiology, and Anatomy, participate in admissions workshops, and visit the Gurdon Institute. The residential begins at 12 midday on Tuesday 23 June, ends at 3pm on Wednesday 24 June, and includes one night's accommodation and all meals free of charge. We ask students to arrange their travel to Cambridge and cover their own transport costs. Priority will be given to those students travelling from further afield.

Posted: 8 May 2015

Coding Summer School for Girls

Maths on a whiteboard
Are you female, aged 16-19, and interested in getting started with computer programming? If so, do apply for a place on the Cambridge Coding Academy Summer School for Girls, which will run from 10-14 August inclusive. The booking deadline is fast approaching so do apply today.

The summer school is supported by generous industry sponsorship, though do be aware that there remains a cost of £99. Subsidised accommodation is available in Queens' College and St John's College.

Please see the full information for details and to make an application.

Posted: 7 May 2015

Bite the Ballot? Voting Age and Youth Political Participation

Polling stationWould voting online increase youth participation? Image credit: Martin Bamford

Today is polling day in the United Kingdom General Election 2015.

The Electoral Commission will fill you in on who is eligible to vote. For those who are registered to vote, they advise on how to vote today.

How old should you be to vote? 18, as in UK General Elections, or 16, as in the Scottish Independence Referendum?

Younger people remain less likely to vote than older people.  Does it matter? How can youth political participation be boosted? Should we even try?

Posted: 7 May 2015

UK Supreme Court: see justice done

UK Supreme CourtUK Supreme Court. Image credit: IanVisits

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United Kingdom; it is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases and in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland for criminal cases:

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is housed in the same building and formed in part by the Supreme Court Justices.  It is the highest court of appeal for many current and former Commonwealth countries, as well as the United Kingdom’s overseas territories, crown dependencies, and military sovereign base areas:

The Supreme Court and the JCPC have been live streaming their hearings for some time. Today, they have launched an on-demand archive of past hearings, which is expected to hold as many as 150 courtroom hearings and 900 hours of recordings at any one time.

You can also:

Posted: 5 May 2015

Booking opens for Cambridge Open Days

Tour of King's with a current student

Booking is now open for the Cambridge Open Days on Thursday 2 and Friday 3 July 2015. If you are are thinking of applying for undergraduate study at Cambridge in the coming admissions round (either for entry in October 2016 or deferred entry in October 2017) you and up to two supporters are invited to visit the University of Cambridge and its colleges.

King's will be holding an open house for all Cambridge Open Day visitors from 9am to 5.30pm each day. Please do call in at your convenience to meet and chat to the admissions team and our current students and take a tour of the college. We will also be offering subject meetings (the programme will be published on our website nearer the time). We look forward to seeing you!

Posted: 28 April 2015

Lorca: Amor en el Jardin

Gala Theatre entrance

Dr Michael Thompson from Durham University will give a pre-show talk at the 5 May performance. Image credit:  mrgarethm

Théâtre sans Frontières is currently touring the UK with an adaptation of Lorca's El Amor de Don Perlimplín con Belisa en su Jardín.

The play is performed in Spanish with English surtitles.

  • until 25 April  - Southwark Playhouse, London
  • 27 April - Theatre Royal, Winchester
  • 28 April - The Brewhouse, Taunton
  • 30 April - Hazlitt Arts Centre, Maidstone
  • 5 May - Gala Theatre, Durham
  • 6 May - Queen's Hall Arts Centre, Hexham
  • 11 & 12 May - Z-arts, Manchester
  • 14 May - Nottingham Lakeside Arts

Do see the information and booking for further details.

Posted: 21 April 2015

Language and thought in children

Child reading

Credit: Gordon (image cropped)

One of the forthcoming public lectures at Newcastle University is on what happens when children develop language. Does language provide new ways of thinking about the world?

  • Date: 12 May
  • Time: 17:30 - 18:45
  • Speaker: Professor Jill de Villiers, from the Department of Psychology at Smith College, Massachusetts
  • Location: Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, Newcastle University
  • Admission: Free of charge, open to the public, no booking required.

Information about the lecture is on the Newcastle University website, and if you download a map of Newcastle University Campus, the Herschel Building is number 17.

Do you live near a university? Do keep an eye out for interesting public lectures by members of their departments and visiting scholars!

Posted: 21 April 2015

Spotlight on HSPS: Biological and Social Anthropology

Exhibit at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge. Image credit: B

Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge offers a unique range of related disciplines, which can be studied in many combinations, or with a concentration on a single discipline: you can work on Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Archaeology and / or Sociology. Many (or all) of these subjects will be new to you, so how do you know what's involved?

Biological Anthropology is a field which explores human biology and evolution. With an emphasis on the interaction between biology and culture, it sits firmly between the social and biological sciences. Biological anthropologists study human origins and diversity in present and past populations in the context of their culture, behaviour, life-style, morphological and molecular variation. What aspects of our biology and behaviour are uniquely human and what do we share with other species? Why is there so little genetic variation among humans across the world? Are we still evolving and why has natural selection not eradicated disease? Can a statistical test save lives?

Social Anthropology addresses the really big question – what does it mean to be human? – by taking as its subject matter the full range of human social and cultural diversity: the amazingly varied ways that people live, think and relate to each other in every part of the world. What does this diversity tell us about the fundamental bases and possibilities of human social and political life? Can it help us to comprehend the sheer unpredictability of how contemporary global changes manifest themselves in people's lives across the world?

Find out more:

Posted: 22 April 2015

University of Hull's OpenCampus Programme

Joseph Hillier, Moving Matters (2007), displayed outside the Logistics Institute, Hull University Business School. Image credit: Gnomonic.

It's a new term at the University of Hull's OpenCampus programme:

  • There is a new series of Tea-Time Talks, focusing on health and wellbeing, held on Tuesday evenings from 6.15pm to 7.45pm. The series will kick off with a talk by Professor Andrew L. Clark, Chair of Clinical Cardiology at Hull York Medical School, on 'The world's number one killer: "can you save yourselves?"' on Tuesday 5 May.
  • The Culture Café will be celebrating postgraduate and postdoctoral research emerging from the Department of English on Wednesdays from 2pm to 4.30pm. In the first session, Emma Butcher will explore the Brontës' childhood writings on Wednesday 6 May. 

Places are limited, so booking is essential. You can register online, or call Nicola Sharp or Jackie McAndrew on 01482 466321 / 466585.

Posted: 21 April 2015

Spotlight on HSPS: Sociology

Image credit: Mehran Heidarzadeh

Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) at Cambridge offers a unique range of related disciplines, which can be studied in many combinations, or with a concentration on a single discipline: you can work on Politics and International Relations, Social Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Archaeology and / or Sociology. Many (or all) of these subjects will be new to you, so how do you know what's involved?

Sociology is the study of modern societies and how they are changing today. Ever wonder why nationalism is such a powerful force in the modern world? Why there are protests, riots, and uprisings? Why Europe is in crisis? Why politicians are not trusted? Why Africa is so poor? Why racism persists? Why same-sex marriage causes such controversy? How globalization is changing our lives? Whether societies could ever be more just? Then Sociology is the subject for you.

Posted: 16 April 2015

Café Scientifique: science for the price of a coffee

A Cafe Scientifique meeting in Reading, debating 'food out of season: good or evil?' Image credit: Karen Blakeman

Café Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings take place in cafés, bars, restaurants and even theatres, but always outside a traditional academic context.

Since 1998, cafés have covered almost every conceivable scientific topic: AIDS, the Big Bang, biodiversity, cancer, code-breaking, consciousness, Darwinism, ecology, evolution, extreme life, foetal experience, genetically modified organisms, global warming, infertility, nanotechnology, the Public Understanding of Science movement, sports science, superconductors and more.

Cafés Scientifique are also held in North America, South America, elsewhere in Europe, and Asia, Africa, and Australasia. From Bangkok, Thailand to Santa Fe, Argentina, you can find a forum to share your love of science and technology!

Posted: 15 April 2015

Introduction to Archives Workshop for Sixth Formers at King's

Kennesaw State University ArchivesKennesaw State University Archives. Image credit: Anne G

  • Are you currently taking AS / A Level History or English Literature?
  • Are you interested in finding out about and using archives in your work?

If so, King's College Archive Centre invites you to an Introduction to Archives Workshop on Friday 10 April, using the papers of Rupert Brooke.

Peter Monteith, an archivist at King's College, will explore approaches to using archives for research with you. You will then gain experience of archives, through an exploration of the life, poetry, and myth surrounding King's student and First World War poet Rupert Brooke.

The workshop will equip you to use the King's College Archive Centre yourself, either during an optional reading room session on the morning of Saturday 11 April (numbers limited) or at another time during the Centre's normal opening hours.

See the programme for the workshop and email us now at undergraduate.admissions@kings.cam.ac.uk to book a place. 

NB. Are you at a state school in one of the areas listed below? If so, please do request accommodation through the Year 12 Link Area Accommodation Scheme at King's for this or any other event advertised on the Cambridge page!

Posted: 23 March 2015

Trinity College Residentials for UK Sixth Formers in Cambridge

Fountain, Great Court, Trinity College, CambridgeFountain in the Great Court, Trinity College, Cambridge. Image credit: Matthias Rosenkranz

Trinity College, Cambridge is offering subject-specific residential visits in the Easter and Summer vacations. They are completely free, including accommodation and all meals, and they are open to applications from all students at UK schools who will be at least 16 by the first day of the residential.

Booking has now opened for the Humanities Residential which will take place during the Easter vacation from Tuesday 7 to Thursday 9 April.

Applications will be opening soon for the following residentials which will take place during the Summer vacation:

  • Science Residential: Thursday 25 to Saturday 27 June
  • Law Residential: Tuesday 30 June to Wednesday 1 July
  • Music Residential: Thursday 9 to Saturday 11 of July
  • Language-based Humanities Residential: Monday 24 – Tuesday 25 August

Keep checking the Access at Trinity website for updates.

Posted: 23 February 2015

Economics essay competition

Money

Credit: epSos.de (cropped)

The Royal Economic Society runs an annual competition for students studying Economics at school, with questions based on key elements of your syllabus. 

You may find the questions set for this year's competition interesting to think about:

  • "Countries like Greece caused the Eurozone crisis by running up too much debt, so it is only fair that they should bear most of the burden of fixing it." Discuss.
  • Should the Government support manufacturing?  If so, how?
  • Should raising GDP be the primary objective of economic policy?
  • "The rising gap between rich and poor is not just bad for society, it is bad for growth." Discuss.
  • Should "fracking" be allowed? If so, who should benefit?
  • "It is immoral for the drug companies to charge large sums for drugs that are cheap to manufacture." Discuss.
  • "High saving promotes faster growth. So having  more savers in the global economy should be good for our long term prosperity."
  • "Does the economic case favour a new airport runway at Heathrow, Gatwick or elsewhere?"

You may also find it useful to look at the essay titles and winning entries from previous years (bottom of the page).

If you are studying Economics and are interested in entering an essay for this competition, do ensure that you read the full details and entry criteria on the Royal Economic Society website before you start work. The deadline for entry is Monday 30 June 2015.

Posted: 12 February 2015

Antarctic glaciers

Antarctic peninsula

The Northern Antarctic Peninsula. Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

AntarcticGlaciers.org is a very useful and interesting website on the the science of Antarctic glaciology written by Dr Bethan Davies from Royal Holloway, University of London. Here is the introduction:

Antarctic glaciers are beautiful and awe-inspiring. They affect us through their connections with the ocean and sea level, and environmental change is having rapid consequences in Antarctica. Antarctica is the world’s largest ice sheet, covering ~14,000,000 km2. Much of the ice sheet surface lies above 3000 m above sea level. This massive thickness of ice drowns whole mountain ranges, and numerous volcanoes exist underneath the icey exterior. It’s the world’s fifth largest continent, and it is, on average, the highest and coldest continent. Antarctica also provides a unique record of the Earth’s past climate, through the geomorphological record of glacier moraines, through ice cores, through deep sea sediment cores, and through past records of sea level rise.

If you would like to find out more about this fascinating topic, do explore the AntarcticGlaciers.org website, which includes information about different types of glacier, ice shelves, and ice streams as well as the section on glaciers and climate. There is a lot of material that you'll enjoy browsing, and if you are taking A level Geography, this section helps you to find the relevant material for different parts of your course. You can also ask questions here.

Posted: 12 February 2015

GeomLab resource for Computer Science

Credit: Hillary

If you are interested in studying Computer Science at university, do have a look at the University of Oxford's GeomLab resource.

Through guided activities, GeomLab will introduce you to some of the most important ideas in computer programming.

Posted: 11 February 2015

What's on? Public lectures at a university near you

Image credit: Marijn de Vries Hoogerwe

Universities share their latest research in public lectures, open to all, free of charge:

If you can't make it on the day, universities very often publish videos or transcripts of their public lectures on their websites after the event. For example, browse the latest uploads to the University of Cambridge's Video and Audio Service.

Posted: 7 February 2015

The Triple Helix Science in Society Review

Lego helix

Credit: Michael Knowles

The Triple Helix is one of the science societies in Cambridge. Each term, it publishes the Science in Society Review, with articles spanning a range of scientific disciplines but with a common focus on the interactions between science and society.

You may be interested to look at some of the previous issues:

If you are considering an application to study science at Cambridge, you may find Science in Society Review 6 from Lent term 2009 particularly useful: This was a special issue about Cambridge's rich history of science and discovery, produced for the University's 800th anniversary.

Would you like to get a short article published in the next issue of Science in Society Review? The society is running a science writing competition for sixth form students in the UK and will publish the winning entries. If you would like to take part, please read the competition details and submission form. The deadline for submissions is 21 February 2015.

Posted: 5 February 2015

Education at Cambridge

Education Faculty, University of Cambridge. Image credit: Steve Day

Cambridge is one of only a few universities to offer a degree in Education as an academic discipline. In the course of three years you explore Education as a broad social science, tackling its history, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. You combine your studies in Education with another subject, choosing from Biological or Physical Sciences, English, English and Drama, Modern and Medieval Languages, Classics, Geography, History, Music, or Religious Studies. Whilst the Education degree may be a route into teaching, educational psychology, research, policy, or publishing, it also opens up a wide range of career paths outside of Education. King's doesn't offer the Education degree, but you can apply to study it at most Cambridge colleges.

Posted: 5 February 2015

Royal Shakespeare Company broadcasts in local cinemas

Did you know that the Royal Shakespeare Company broadcasts performances to local cinemas around the UK and beyond?

If you are studying any works by Shakespeare, do visit the RSC onscreen website to find out about broadcasts in cinemas.

If you go to the cinemas and tickets page, you can look up what you could see near to where you live. For example, venues in Northumberland include The Maltings in Berwick upon Tweed, The Forum in Hexham, The Alnwick Playhouse and Vue cinemas in Cramlington.

Further information about the Royal Shakespeare Company is available on their website.

Posted: 4 February 2015

The Cambridge Science Festival programme is published

Hands-on activity

Science Saturday - a hands-on Engineering activity assisted by Cambridge undergraduates

Bookings open on Monday 9 February at 10.30am for the large 2015 Cambridge Science Festival running from 9 - 22 March 2015

There is a Cambridge Science Festival app, which you can search for on iTunes or Google Play.

Examples of talks:

  • Mon 9 March (17:30 - 18:30) - There's no business like flow business (age 15+)
    Inreasingly cells are providing us with answers. Scientists at the Babraham Institute carry out vital research on cells and cellular processes to learn how the body works and how it changes as we age. In this lecture, Rachel Walker and Becky Newman explain flow cytometry and how how it takes us a step further in understanding cells and cell populations.
    (Booking required)
  • Tues 10 March (17:00 - 18:00) - Colour, new dimensions, and the geometry of physics (age 15+)
    Professor Frank Wilczek from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the leading theoretical physicists of our time. Known for his discovery of asymptotic freedom, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 2004, his research ranges across particle physics, astrophysics and condensed matter physics.
    (booking required)
  • Thurs 12 March (18:00 - 19:00) - Melioidosis:biothreat infection and paddy-field disease (age 15+)
    Professor Sharon Peacock is a clinical microbiologist in the Department of Medicine, and works closely with Public Health England and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Intitute. In this talk, Professor Peacock shows how sequencing techniques can be applied to to study of Melioidosis, an infectious disease of tropical climates.
    (booking required)
  • Fri 13  March (18:00 - 19:00) - Searching for intelligence in the legs: robots that walk, run and dance (age 15+)
    Although there is enormous success in the use of robotic arms for the automation industry, robotic legs are very challenging to be engineered and used in our daily lives. Dr Fumiya Lida discusses why legs are so special, and whether we will see robots running around in the near future.
    (booking required)

Posted: 31 January 2015

Law Essay Competition

Trinity College has an annual Robert Walker essay competition open to students in Year 12 or Year 13  (the final two years of school).

The title set for this year's competition is:

"Should people be able to sell their bodily organs (e.g., their kidney(s) or liver)?"

If working on this question appeals to you, do ensure that you read the competition details on the Trinity College website. The deadline for entries is Monday 20 April 2015.

Essay competitions can be a good opportunity to get your teeth into an interesting and relevant question and to develop your research and argument skills. You will see in the competition details that the assessors will be looking at a range of factors, including how well your argument is sustained, the quality of your language, and how well you have used appropriate supporting material and facts in evidence for your arguments. Of course, these are questions it is worth asking yourself about all of your written work, whether for a competition or not!

Posted: 31 January 2015

Teesside University Psychology Sixth Form Conference

Neurological studiesImage credit: Tim Sheerman-Chase
 

Teesside University is holding a Psychology Sixth Form Conference next Wednesday (4 February). Teesside staff and students will introduce you to diverse and topical aspects of psychology, including forensic psychology, counselling, educational psychology, and sports psychology. Year 12s and 13s (and mature students) can sign up online now, either as individuals or in school groups.

Posted: 26 January 2015

Going deeper into Mathematics

Lines and curves on an athletics track

Lines and curves.
Credit: See-Ming Lee

If you like (or dislike!) mathematics, what is it about the subject that makes you feel this way? What does studying mathematics at unviersity level involve, and how can you work out if you will enjoy it?

We advise students who are curious about maths (and subjects related to maths) to read the following explanation of rich mathematics:

If the kind of maths that makes you think and encourages you to go deeper inside the subject appeals to you, make sure you explore the NRICH Mathematics website:

  • Stage 5 material is for students in the last two years of school (normally aged 16-18).
  • Stage 4 material is for students in Year 10 and Year 11 (normally aged 14-16)
  • If you have a particular interest, you may also find the curriculum content section helpful
  • Or have a go at some of the live problems and see if you can get your solution published!

Posted: 12 December 2014

History Virtual Classroom

Middlemarch

What role can a historical novel play in the study of History?
Credit: Martha Garvey

If you enjoy studying History and want to know more about what it is like at university level, make sure that you have a look at the History Faculty's virtual classroom:

Posted: 5 December 2014

OpenCampus at the University of Hull

Joseph Hillier sculpture 'Moving Matters' (2007) outside the Logistics Institute, Hull University Business SchoolJoseph Hillier, Moving Matters (2007), displayed outside the Logistics Institute, Hull University Business School

The University of Hull's OpenCampus programme offers an informal and friendly way for you to learn at your local university.

  • Drop into the Culture Café, which this term is focusing on Literature and Creative Writing. On Saturday 6 December at 11am, Dr. Daniel Weston, Lecturer in Twentieth-Century English Literature, is discussing 'Poetry for the City? Philip Larkin and Others.' This is part of the North and South Project, a collaboration betwen the University of Hull and the University of Southampton to explore what unites and divides their respective port cities. Next term's programme for the Culture Café is already available here.
  • Join a Tea-Time Talk, a series which launched this term around the theme of Society and Culture. On Tuesday 2 December at 6.15pm, Dr. Simon Green, Senior Lecturer in Community Justice and Criminology, explores 'Deviancy, destitution and moral degeneracy.' Why, he asks, do politicians and commentators increasingly explain crime and disorder with reference to moral character, instead of socio-economic conditions?

Places are limited, so booking is essential. To find out more and book a place, please contact the OpenCampus team directly.

Posted: 26 November 2014

Can science make a cyclist faster?

Theo Bos

Credit: jonthescone

Prof Tony Purnell will be giving the next lecture in the Cambridge Physics Lecture Series for Year 12 and Year 13 students at 6pm on Tuesday 2 December. 

Please see the details and directions.

The lecture will provide an overview of how science and engineering contribute to the raw speed of all Olympic cycling disciplines.

No need to book - just turn up!

Related resources:

Posted: 24 November 2014

Great Writers Inspire

Great Writers Inspire is a University of Oxford website which brings together a wealth of literary resources for sixth formers. 

You might like to explore the work of particular writers, such as Virginia Woolf, Thomas Hardy, or Jane Austen (to name just a few examples), or you could explore themes and questions, including Carribean writers, The Victorian Gothic, Political Literature, or What is literature and why does it matter?

Posted: 18 November 2014

Preparing for interviews

How Stuff Works magazine

We recommend that you explore topics that interest you further (there are a lot of ways to do this).

We interview most (but not all) students who apply for a place at Cambridge. The interviews are with subject specialists who ask you academic questions to explore your potential for the course you have applied for.

How do you prepare for a Cambridge interview? Here are some tips:

Long-term preparation (before you apply)

  • If you enjoy learning, the good news is that you shouldn't need to change anything significant to prepare for interviews at Cambridge. The most important thing you can do is to develop your academic interests (which you're likely to find that you've already been doing!)
  • Find a Cambridge course that genuinely interests you so that you have natural curiosity and enjoy developing your skills and finding out more.
  • Look at the resources section on the relevant subject page for specific suggestions (e.g. Engineering), but also feel free to follow your own interests or use other resources and books that you find helpful. 
  • Understand that Cambridge interviewers will be interested in your academic interests and how you think and work, not only what you know. The interviews are academic interviews, designed to test this.  This film shows what Cambridge interviews are about.

Short-term preparation (after you have applied)

  • See this advice and our interview guidelines.
  • Watch Film 1 and Film 2 to get a sense of what will happen if you are invited for interview.
  • Carry on developing your academic interests.  Use the resources section on the relevant subject page if you are looking for suggestions.
  • Don't neglect your normal school work - if you are currently at school, we know how busy you are, and you can develop your interests within your school curriculum by putting your best into your homework assignments. Remember that most of your interview preparation has already been done at this stage.
  • Don't worry excessively about the interview itself. Know that the interviews are not a test of how good you are at being interviewed (we're not looking for polish or perfection). They are about your subject(s),  so the only way you can improve your chances is to carry on focusing on your academic work and interests.
  • Try to trust your interviewers if you can! They are all teachers and they want you to achieve. They will know how to ask further questions to tease what they need out of you, and they know that interviewees are nervous so they are looking for raw ability and academic commitment, not perfection.

Posted: 4 November 2014

Cambridge Sculpture Trails

Double Helix Sculpture

Double Helix sculpture in Clare College. Credit: Nige Brown

Did you know that Cambridge has lots of 20th and 21st century sculptures in and around the city? You will find both pieces by major international figures and work by up-and-coming sculptors.

Come and explore for yourself! There are three Sculpture trails that you can use, and if you follow the links and information on the website, you can find out more about the sculptors and their work.

Posted: 27 October 2014

Hot air balloon problem

Hot air balloon

Credit: Brent Myers

A hot air balloon of mass 350 kg is carrying 5 people each of mass 70kg. The total volume of the baloon is 2800m3.

The balloon flies horizontally in dry air 1km above sea level. The atmopheric pressure at this altitude is 89.9kPa and the surrounding temperature is 9ºC. Given that the molar mass of dry air is 28.97g/mol, work out the temperature of the heated air inside the balloon. (You can take gas constant R=8.31J/mol K and you may assume that air behaves as an ideal gas).

General and problem-specific hints are available.

This is one of the problems on I-want-to-study-engineering.org, a resource from Cambridge University Engineering Department with more than 200 problems to help you to practice problem solving skills relevant to Engineering. The website also provides general advice such as how to get onto a good Engineering course (whether at Cambridge or elsewhere).

Posted: 21 October 2014

Physics. You work it out.

Newton by Eduardo Paolozzi (1995) on the British Library PlazaNewton in Bronze, by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi (1995) on the British Library's Plaza. Inspired by Newton, by William Blake (1795) at Tate Britain. Image credit: Chris Beckett

The Rutherford Physics Partnership runs an online platform for prospective Physicists, Engineers, and Mathematicians called Isaac Physics. It will help you to bridge the gap between your A Level and undergraduate studies by working through problems online.

Get started:

Posted: 14 October 2014

Film competition

King's Chapel

Our own Chapel at King's is a fascinating mix of religion, politics, history, art and architecture.

Have you ever thought about the relationship between religion and other subjects that you might study?

  • History: Consider the impact of religious change on a society prior to 1900;
  • Literature: Reflect on whether literary criticism requires a knowledge of sacred texts;
  • Philosophy: Comment on the relationship between mortality and religion;
  • Politics: Explore the idea of secularism and national politics;
  • Science: Address the relationship between religion and a topic from the natural sciences;
  • Sociology: Consider how an awareness of religion helps understandings of multiculturalism.

Cambridge Divinity Faculty encourages sixth formers to research and think about one of the topics above in a team of up to four 16-19 year olds. The challenge is to produce a film lasting no more than five minutes in response to your chosen topic. This should be academic in content, but the film could take any form: debates, documentaries or responses with artistic elements are all welcome.

If you are interested, do read the further details on the Divinity Faculty website. The deadline is Friday 14 November 2014.

Posted: 10 October 2014

The X Factor: Multidisciplinary (and Interdisciplinary) Approaches to Classics

Image credit: Ingo Gildenhard

At the recent Classics Faculty Sixth Form Study Days, King's Classicist Ingo Gildenhard explained how multidisciplinary approaches to Classics underpins teaching and learning at Cambridge.

The Classics Faculty is divided into caucuses, each of which brings a different approach to the study of Classics: Caucus A (Literature); Caucus B (Philosophy); Caucus C (History); Caucus D (Art and Archaeology) and Caucus E (Linguistics).

Dr. Gildenhard gave an example of how his colleagues in different caucuses each brought a different approach to the study of Ovid's Ars Amatoria [The Art of Love] in a recent lecture series:

  • A: Poetics, or: The (S)expert at Work
  • B: Sexual Ethics [gender relations, feminist readings]
  • C: The Empire Strikes Back [Ovid and Augustus, the politics of the Ars, Ovid’s banishment to the Black Sea]
  • D: Sex and the City [Ovid and the monuments, his rewriting of Rome’s urban topography]
  • E: The Language of Love (and Sex) [how can we understand the different range of meanings of Latin words to English dictionary equivalents - does raptor mean ‘rapist’ or ‘seducer’? and how does it relate to rapina and rapio?]

The students and academics gain enormously from exploring these multidisciplinary perspectives.  If and when they combine two or more approaches to address a particular topic, thereby transcending any one discipline, their work becomes interdisciplinary.

For this reason, King's Classicist John Henderson and his colleague Geoffrey Lloyd pioneered an X Caucus (Interdisciplinary) in the 1980s, to allow and encourage Cambridge students and academics to cross disciplines in their study of the Classics.

Multidisciplinarity is not restricted to Classics! You will be able to find multidisciplinary (and interdisciplinary) approaches to almost any topic. Have you got the X Factor? Think of a topic that has caught your attention in one of your A Level subjects and ask yourself what your knowledge and skills in your other A Level subjects can bring to it.

 

Posted: 9 October 2014

Mythologies (Roland Barthes)

Apple logo

Apple icon - a 21st century myth? Credit: Szilveszter Farkas (cropped)

In 1957, Roland Barthes published Mythologies, in which he discussed the workings of 'myths' in the society of his time. Drawing on ideas from semiotics (the theory of how signs and symbols work), and in particular the work of Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, Barthes was able to use language-like structures to study the social culture around him.

If you would like to read Mythologies, the most useful part for understanding what Barthes is doing is the second part (The Myth Today), in which he explains how myths form a communication system and what the value is of thinking about them in this way (how does it help us to understand the myths?). It gets a bit technical in places, so if there is more detail than you want, just take from it what you find useful. You might then like to look at some of the examples that Barthes gives in the first part of his book. NB. You will notice that Barthes's analyses are often political - they focus especially on the ways that bourgeois society uses myth to impose values on others.

One difficulty for modern readers of Barthes's work is that his examples are drawn from the fifties - they can be difficult for us to relate to. Radio 4 is currently running a series called 21st Century Modern Mythologies, in which Barthes's techniques are used to dissect contemporary myths. Do listen to some of the programmes and see what you think:

Suggestion for further reading:

Posted: 8 October 2014

Cambridge Physics Lectures

Juggling balls

How would you describe the patterns of juggling? Credit: Richard Leonard

The Cambridge Physics department runs a series of lectures through the year for Year 12 and Year 13 students. These are free to attend and you can just turn up (no need to book).

The first lecture this year is on Tues 14 October 2014, when Dr Colin Wright will speak on the Physics of Juggling. For further information about this and future lectures, please see the details on the department website:

If you live within range of a University, why not go on their website to see if there are any public lectures or lectures for sixth formers that might be interesting?

Posted: 7 October 2014

Chemnet

Chemicals

Credit: Horia Varlan

If you're aged 14-18 and you enjoy Chemistry, why not join the Royal Society of Chemistry's Chemnet? It offers free support and advice for all Chemistry students including:

The link to join Chemnet is here.

Posted: 6 October 2014

Freshers' reading groups

Welcome - letters displayed in a window

There's a great atmosphere in College as we help the new students to settle in.

Amongst the many activities that take place in Freshers' Week to settle new students into the College community, there are discussion groups in which tutors and students across all subjects meet to discuss a book that everybody has read in advance. This year's book is:

Monbiot is a journalist and activist who read Zoology at University. He presents his book as a polemic for "positive environmentalism". The book consists of a series of essays designed to promote the cultural and economic change that will be necessary to precede any ecological shift. On some level Feral is a radical book with a radical argument, however the question for the King's freshers is how substantial, how convincing is Monbiot's argument and his evidence, and how much of it is the ideological enchantment of a liberal public intellectual?

Book cover

If you fancy reading this book for yourself, you may be interested to think about how Monbiot establishes the veracity of his claims. How scientific is his thesis of "rewilding"? Does the book survive the lengthy anecdotal descriptions of his natural encounters, enchanting though they are? And is it telling that Monbiot is male, enjoys risky outdoor activity and has his moment of epiphany when he slings a dead deer over his shoulders and carries it home? Do you think that he would have a different environmentalism if he weren't so enamored by the wild in him? Or should we be cautious about any dismissal of his honesty? He discusses the effects of logging and mining on Yanomami lands at some length (and spent a fair amount of his own time experiencing it) - it is fair to say that his "rewilding" is borne of some knowledge of different cultural ecologies? Finally, do you think that we should be encouraged by this book, or discouraged?

Posted: 3 October 2014

Maths / Physics lectures

Einstein statue

Einstein statue at the US National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. Credit: Mark Fischer (cropped)

The Millenium Maths Project has put films of some recent lectures for sixth form students up online. These were given at an event for 16 and 17 year olds, which took place at Cambridge University on 27 June this year.

If you enjoy maths and would like to receive notification of Millenium Maths Project events and resources, you might like to register to be on their mailing list or follow them on Twitter/Facebook.

Posted: 6 September 2014

Law in Action

Leicester Magistrates Court

Leicester Magistrates' Court. Credit: Steve Cadman

If you are interested in studying Law at university, it can be helpful to get some feel for the law in action, for example by observing a local court in session. You could visit your local Magistrates' and/or County Courts (or regional equivalent, such as the Sheriff Court in Scotland).

Even the very highest and grandest courts, such as the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand and the Supreme Court (Parliament Square), are open to the public.

Posted: 5 September 2014

The Year In Industry Scheme

hard hat

Credit: Terry Ross

The Year In Industry Scheme places talented students in degree-relevant, paid work placements in the UK during a gap year between school and a university degree in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

This opportunity would allow you to gain relevant work experience in your  intended field, add new skills and knowledge to your CV, and deepen your understanding for your chosen degree subject. The Year in Industry Scheme applies to companies on your behalf, helps to coordinate any interviews, and supports you during the placement. Additional Maths courses are available through the Year In Industry to ensure that you keep your maths skills sharp while away from the academic environment.

Information for all students interested in taking a gap year is on our gap year page.

Tags:

Posted: 21 August 2014

Law Virtual Classroom

If you want to study Law at university and have not studied the subject formally before, you might enjoy Pembroke College's virtual classroom.

Through exercises in the Understanding Law and Legal Skills sections, this resource aims to give you a better understanding of the nature and function of law, as well as some of the debates that surround the law. It will also help you to develop some of the skills involved in studying and practising law.

Posted: 20 August 2014

How Chemistry Changed the First World War (Cambridge, 11 September)

Experiment in lab

Credit: Ed Uthman

If you are interested in History and/or Chemistry and live close to Cambridge, you might be interested to attend Michael Freemantle's public lecture on how “The Great War” was a Chemists’ War.

The lecture will discuss how Chemistry underpinned military strategy and determined the shape, duration and outcome of the First World War. Chemistry was not only a destructive instrument of war but also protected troops, and healed the sick and wounded. From bullets to bombs, poison gases to anaesthetics, khaki to cordite, Chemistry played a pivotal role in the trenches, in the casualty clearing stations and military hospitals, in the tunnelling operations in the air, and at sea.

Michael Freemantle is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He is the author of Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! How Chemistry Changed the First World War (History Press, 2014).

Details:

  • 7pm on 11 September 2014
  • Pfizer Lecture Theatre, Department of Chemistry, Lensfield Road, Cambridge (map)
  • Please see this website for further details.
     

Posted: 18 August 2014

Cambridge College Open Days for Year 13

Entrance to King's Porters' Lodge

The Porters' Lodge, just inside the entrance of King's on King's Parade

If you are planning to apply to Cambridge this October and would like to attend a College Open Day, do see this page for the events available.

Here at King's, we welcome bookings for our open afternoon on Tuesday 16 September - see our open days page for details and the form.

If you are visiting other Colleges and would like to see King's on the same day, do introduce yourself at the porters' lodge and say that you will be applying to Cambridge. The porters will be happy to let you walk around the public areas, and you might find our self-guided tour useful so that you know what you are looking at. NB if there is a 'College Closed' sign at the front gate, please don't be put off as this just means that tourists cannot enter.

If you are visiting Cambridge on your own, you might also enjoy the Following in the Footsteps audio tour.
 

Posted: 15 August 2014

STEP Mathematics

Cambridge Centre for Mathematical Sciences

Cambridge Centre for Mathematical Sciences

Students who apply to Cambridge for Mathematics or for Computer Science with the 50% Maths option are normally asked to sit STEP Mathematics exams.

Don't be discouraged if STEP material looks very difficult when you first look at it - the style is very different from A level, IB etc. STEP exams normally require plenty of preparation and practice in order to do well, and there are lots of online resources to help you with this. Your work on STEP will help you a lot with the transition to the kinds of mathematical problem-solving you will meet at Cambridge. Once you get into it, we hope that you will enjoy working on the material!

Here are some resources to help you with your work on STEP:

Posted: 9 August 2014

AS / A2 Level Travel Writing Competition (for students in the South of England)

Multilingual sign outside restaurant in Lugano, SwitzerlandSign outside a restaurant in Lugano, Italian-speaking Switzerland. Credit: Eric Andresen

Routes into Languages (South Consortium) are running a travel writing competition for students currently taking AS or A2 Levels in the South of England.

Based on your travel experiences, write a feature article of no more than 500 words in your chosen target language (French, German, Spanish, or Italian). You could win a £50 Amazon voucher for your efforts! The closing date for the competition is 1 September and the winners will announced on the European Day of Languages (26 September).

For more information, please see the competition website.

Posted: 4 August 2014

The Rise, Rise, and Rise of Chemical Engineering

Everyday PlasticsEveryday Plastics. Art Exhibition in Christchurch Botanical Gardens. Credit: Geof Wilson

The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates that the UK needs 100,000 graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) simply to sustain its existing industries. So Geoff Maitland, President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), is right to celebrate the rise in the numbers of applications for Engineering in general, and Chemical Engineering in particular.

Are you thinking of studying Engineering at university? Why not Chemical Engineering? IChemE explains:

Chemical engineering is all about changing raw materials into useful products you use everyday in a safe and cost effective way. For example petrol, plastics and synthetic fibres such as polyester and nylon, all come from oil. Chemical engineers understand how to alter the chemical, biochemical or physical state of a substance, to create everything from face creams to fuels.

Posted: 23 July 2014

Girl Summit 2014

Alimatu Dimonekene speaking at the Girl Summit

Alimatu Dimonekene speaking. Image credit: UK Department for International Development

The Girl Summit 2014 was held in London yesterday, focusing on domestic and international efforts to end female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage.

Information:

World Health Organisation factsheet on Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change

Girl Summit 2014:

How should an anthropologist study female genital mutilation?

Posted: 23 July 2014

The Euro and Its Impact

Euro notes

Credit: Images money

What does economics tell us about the operation of single currency areas and currency unions (such as the Eurozone)?

This is one of the questions that the Euro and Its Impact resource asks you to consider. This pdf was produced by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), and is designed for sixth formers with an interest in economic affairs and policy. It provides information on the topic as well as suggestions for further reading.

If you would like to find out more about the Institute of Economic Affairs and what it does, do have a look at its IEA website. If you have a particular area of interest, you may find the policy areas section useful for finding relevant material.

Posted: 17 July 2014

Pierre Bourdieu: What affects our tastes?

Beach Scene by Renoir

For Bourdieu, cultural consumption  is 'an act of deciphering, decoding, which presupposes practical or explicit mastery of a cipher'. Renoir image credit: freeparking

How much is taste shaped by education and social influences? Pierre Bourdieu was a French sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher who looked into these questions, most famously in his 1975 book, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste.

In the introduction, Bourdieu writes:

Taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier. Social subjects, classified by their classifications, distinguish themselves by the distinctions they make, between the beautiful and the ugly, the distinguished and the vulgar, in which their position in the objective classifications is expressed or betrayed.

Bourdieu collected information through questionnaires which asked people questions about their tastes in art, literature, music etc. For example, he compared preferences for different musical pieces and charted these against information about each particpant's social background:

Bourdieu's text includes diagrams and charts which plot his results and show correlations that he found in the data. A key idea in this book is that of 'cultural capital', that is, 'assets' that people acquire, such as education and cultural experience, which can affect social mobility regardless of financial means.

If you have the opportunity to look at Bourdieu's work, do have a think about this way of looking at taste. Do you agree / disagree / recognise aspects of it? Can you think of any examples in modern culture and society? What do you think of the way that Bourdieu collected and used his data? Does his work have wider implications for questions of taste, sociology and identity?

Further exploration:

Posted: 11 July 2014

Viktor Shklovsky: making things strange

Horse

In Tolstoy's Kholstomer (Strider), a horse is sometimes the narrator.
Image credit: Phil Roeder

In his 1917 essay, 'Art as Technique', Russian writer Viktor Shklovsky argues that often we don't notice things because they are familiar to us. However, art (a term that Shklovsky uses in a broad sense to include literary writing) can present things in a strange or unfamiliar way, which makes us look at them for longer:

Habitualization devours work, clothes, furniture, one's wife, and the fear of war. "If the whole complex lives of many people go on unconsciously, then such lives are as if they had never been." [Shklovsky is quoting Tolstoy's diary] And art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony. The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known. The technique of art is to make objects "unfamiliar," to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object.

You might like to read the full text of 'Art as Technique', which was published in English translation in Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays, ed. by L,T. Lemon and M, J. Reis, pages 3 - 24.

What do you think of Shklovsky's description of the purpose of literary writing? Does his argument apply to all literary texts? Are there genres where you would expect to find this technique more frequently? Can you think of any examples in texts you have read / are reading where something is presented in a strange way that makes you notice it? And can you think of any limitations to Shklovsky's argument?

Further reading:

Posted: 29 June 2014

Architecture - Exploring spaces

The Shed (temporary auditorium)

The Shed by Haworth Tompkins - an example of pop up architecture. Image credit: David Holt

What catches your eye? If you're thinking of studying Architecture at university, the summer is a great time to practice your drawing skills, to have a go at capturing your interests with a camera, and to think about the spaces and effects that you notice around you through explorative work in a range of media.

You can do this very well on your own, following your interests. You might like to read the information about portfolios if you would like some advice about work that you can later use in an application to Cambridge, and there are also some examples of application portfolios available - see Portfolio 1 and Portfolio 2.

If you are looking for events to attend, as well as any websites about what is on in your local area, RIBA (The Royal Institute of British Architects) has a good What's On? page for events up and down the UK, or you can look up events all over the world on the e-architect website

Posted: 22 June 2014

Gender in Japanese Studies - Free book for your school library?

A book of undergraduate dissertations was published last year, exploring emerging and divergent gender issues in Japan. It is called Manga Girl Seeks Herbivore Boy: Studying Japanese Gender at Cambridge, and it offers some fascinating insights into modern Japanese culture and society, as well as a great way to get a flavour of the kinds of material that you could study if you choose Japanese in the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies course (even if you've never studied Japanese before!). To find out more about the book, read the news article.

In order to introduce Japanese Studies, the department is offering a free copy to 50 school libraries. Why not ask your school librarian to click here for further information and the request form!

Posted: 12 June 2014

What's on Radio 4?

Credit: Adam Foster (cropped)

If you're interested in economics, politics or sociology, recent programmes available on bbc iplayer radio include:

To find other programmes, do explore the Radio 4 website.

Are you struggling to access Radio 4? Click on 'How to listen' in the menu on the left of this help section. If you are outside the UK, see the iplayer access information.

Posted: 11 June 2014

Treating MS - science and clinical trials

When a patient has MS (Multiple Sclerosis), the immune system begins to attack the body's own healthy nerve cells. The disease strips away their protective sheath, and prevents electrical signals from moving effectively between the brain and the body.

Researchers at Cambridge have been working on a treatment for MS for some time, and the drug that they have developed was recently approved for use in people with MS. The following film explains the science and clinical trials behind this:

Posted: 8 June 2014

Celebrating Dickens

Illustration from 'The Pickwick Papers'

Illustration from The Pickwick Papers. Credit: Sue Clark

Have you read a book by Charles Dickens?

The University of Warwick have a Celebrating Dickens website, on which you can access articles, videos, podcasts, and a documentary about different aspects of the work of Charles Dickens and the Victorian era in which he lived. There's also a mobile app if you prefer.

Posted: 7 June 2014

Problem-solving website for Engineering

Connel Bridge

Connel Bridge in Scotland
Credit: artq55

When you're doing exercises in maths and physics, how much do you feel like you're relying on previous examples that you have memorised, and how much time do you spend problem solving, or working on a kind of question that requires more thought?

Cambridge University Engineering Department has a website designed for developing and practicing problem solving in many contexts - do explore this resource:

Further information

Posted: 6 June 2014

Literature of the liberation (1944-1946)

Cambridge University Library

Cambridge University Library

What sort of books do you think were published in France just after the liberation of Paris in 1944? This website and film are part of an exhibition at Cambridge University Library exploring the first writings of French authors on their experiences in the War, occupation and liberation.

Once Paris was free and the Vichy government had collapsed, there was no more censorship. Books were published even while the War was still being fought in some parts of France.

If you're near enough to also visit, this free exhibition is open from 7 May until 11 October. See details for visiting.

Posted: 4 June 2014