Year 13

What can an engineer learn from biology?

Ant hill

Credit: Elroy Serrao

That's the question Prof Jon Timmis from the University of York is going to ask in his lecture at 7.30pm on 28 Februray 2017.

His talk is part of a mini-series of lectures on Engineering in the 2017 lecture programme and will explore the exciting interaction between biology and engineering. Prof Timmis will discuss how ants can be inspiration for the design of “swarm” robotic systems, how the protection afforded by the immune system can be used to inspire the creation of self-healing robots and how the evolutionary process can be used to potentially inspire the design of self-sustaining, robotic systems.

So whether you are interested in Biology, Engineering or even Medicine and Philosophy, this talk might be an interesting way to see what lies beyond the boarders of one specific subject.

For more information visit the Yorkshire philosophical society website.

Date posted: 

Thursday 2 February 2017

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Vellacott History Essay Prize 2017

Peterhouse is setting some interesting questions for Year 12  students to discuss (with reference to any academic discipline or area of interest) for its annual Vellacott Essay Prize.

Students are asked to choose a topic that you have not previously studied at school from the long list of questions, which include a wide range of historical topics, also touching on a number of other subject areas, such as Classics, Theology, Art, Literature, Music, Politics, Architecture and Sociology. Here are some examples of the questions set:

  • Is race a modern concept?
  • What were the political consequences of the Black Death?
  • Why did early modern people accuse their neighbours of being witches?
  • Why were there so many new inventions in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries?
  • Was there a 'crisis of masculinity' in the late Victorian period?
  • 'Probably there are countries where you can predict a man's opinions from his income, but it is never quite safe to do so in England'. Do you agree with George Orwell?

The full list of questions and details of the competition are available on the Peterhouse website in the Vellacott Prize information pdf, and please also read the details of eligibility and the history of the Peterhouse essay prizes. The deadline is 17 March 2017 .Good luck to those who choose to explore some of these topics, whether just for curiosity or to develop an essay and enter the competition!

Date posted: 

Friday 27 January 2017

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Spies, Trolls, Drones and Polls: Being(s) in Cyberspace

Credit: Hillary

The University of Hull is offering a series of talks about Ethics and Rights in Cyberspace.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, "The Common Good: Ethics and Rights in Cyber Security" project seeks to understand where the balance lies between security and ethics in digital governance.  If the recent controversies surrounding U.S. governmental surveillance and implicated technology companies demonstrated anything, it is the need for proportionate, just and effective cyber security in digital governance that is committed to the common good.

The talks are free, but booking is required. Details and booking can be found on their webpage.

Date posted: 

Tuesday 24 January 2017

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Book recommendation for Geography

Pile of booksCredit: Pam loves pie

Got some time to read over the holidays? Matthew Gandy, the Director of Studies in Geography, recommends the following book for prospective students:

Andrea Wulf,
The invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science
(Hodder & Stoughton, 2016)

In this prize-winning new biography Andrea Wulf describes the life and ideas of Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) who is widely regarded as the founder of modern geography. Humboldt was a decisive influence on Darwin and is also credited as a pioneer of ecological thought.

There's a film clip about the book on Andrea Wulf's website.

For more ideas, see the Geography reading suggestions.

Date posted: 

Thursday 22 December 2016

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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.

Date posted: 

Thursday 15 September 2016

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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.

Date posted: 

Wednesday 14 September 2016

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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.

Date posted: 

Wednesday 14 September 2016

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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!

Date posted: 

Saturday 10 September 2016

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What's it really like to study Geography?

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.

Date posted: 

Tuesday 30 August 2016

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