Cambridge Alumni Magazine Issue 65 Lent 2012
In this issue:
Lost youth The end is nigh. Again Killer fungus Belly of an angel In numbers we trust
CAM Cambridge Alumni Magazine Issue 65 Lent Term 2012
The Bridgeman Art Library
Regulars Letters Donâ€™s diary Update Diary Connect My room, your room The best... In the margins Secret Cambridge
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Review University matters 39 Debate 40 Books 43 Music 45 Sport 47 12 Prize crossword 48 13 14 16
Features Lost youth
Cindi Katz, Visiting Professor at the Centre for Gender Studies, argues that it is time for grown-ups to set childhood free.
In numbers we trust
Codes used to be the business of governments and spies. Today, as Lucy Jolin discovers, they are part of our everyday lives.
The end is nigh
13 CAM is published three times a year, in the Lent, Easter and Michaelmas terms and is sent free to Cambridge alumni. It is available to non-alumni on subscription. For further information contact the Alumni Relations Office. The opinions expressed in CAM are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the University of Cambridge.
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Editor Mira Katbamna Managing Editor Morven Knowles Design and Art Direction Smith www.smithltd.co.uk Print Pindar Publisher The University of Cambridge Development Office 1 Quayside Bridge Street Cambridge CB5 8AB Tel +44 (0)1223 332288 Editorial enquiries Tel +44 (0)1223 760155 firstname.lastname@example.org
In a time of economic and environmental meltdown, Professor Maria Manuel Lisboa explains why the end of the world is almost always with us.
Alumni enquiries Tel +44 (0)1223 760149 email@example.com www.alumni.cam.ac.uk www.facebook.com/ cambridgealumni www.twitter.com/CARO1209
Advertising enquiries Tel +44 (0)20 7520 9474 firstname.lastname@example.org Services offered by advertisers are not specifically endorsed by the editor or the University of Cambridge. The publisher reserves the right to decline or withdraw advertisements. Cover: Professor Cindi Katz. Photograph by Charlie Troman. Copyright ÂŠ 2012 The University of Cambridge.
Paleobiologist Professor Simon Conway Morris says that examination of the fossil evidence demands a radical rewriting of evolution. Gold Award Winner 2010 Robert Sibley Magazine of the Year Award 2010
Are you making the most of what CARO has to offer? Olivia Gordon examines six ways you can benefit.
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elcome to the Lent edition of CAM. In Cambridge, the snow, ice and (non-Ural) freezing winds are beginning to abate. Gloves, hats and scarves are no longer compulsory and there have even been reports of brave souls stopping to admire the snowdrops and crocuses that can be seen in such abundance in the Colleges at this time of year. At CAM, we have been making the most of the turn in the weather to get out and about to bring you cutting-edge research, provocative argument... and the end of the world. On page 26, Professor Maria Manuel Lisboa makes a tour of apocalypse in film, books and art and explains why ideas about the planet’s ultimate destruction continue to fascinate. Professor Cindi Katz argues on page 18 that the grown-ups need to hand back childhood. And on page 32 Professor Simon Conway Morris explains why he believes a general theory of biology may not be an impossibility. Elsewhere, on page 22 Lucy Jolin uncovers the importance of cryptology to modern life. Back at CARO, work has been characterised by a spirit of “Citius, altius, fortius!” as the team delve into the archive to assemble a definitive list of Cambridge Olympians. To see progress so far, visit the website – and if you have any suggestions, please do get in touch.
Mira Katbamna (Caius 1995)
With wind in their hair Mark Stocker wrote to you “appalled” that CAM published photos of cyclists not wearing helmets, when in his own country this would be compulsory. New Zealand’s lawmakers certainly cut cyclist deaths and injuries by half, but they also discouraged cycling, with numbers dropping by 50%. Mark also suggests that cycling without a helmet is as irresponsible as smoking. But I believe that when you take into account pollution, obesity and serious accidents, reverting to a car culture is a far more worrying direction for public health. So bravo to CAM for showing this very socially responsible activity (which of course is also very “Cambridge”) at its most attractive. David Read (Queens’ 1997) About 150 people drown in British inland waters each year, compared with 100 or so cycling fatalities. So let us be consistent: if it’s OK to picture punting without life jackets, it’s OK to show cycling without helmets. Chris Juden (Churchill 1974) Despite decades of debate, there is no consensus on whether helmet wearing, let alone helmet compulsion, is beneficial either overall or in reducing serious head injuries. Even if it were settled, CAM is a magazine about life at Cambridge, and should reflect reality. Julian Bradfield (Christ’s 1982) I’m delighted to inform you I’m appalled by [Mark Stocker] being appalled. As the Clarkson episode demonstrated, there’s nothing our country enjoys more than a bit of faux-outrage. Mr Stocker shows us this nannying Puritanism is alive and well in New Zealand. Alex Deane (Trinity 1997)
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A British study demonstrated that motorists give less space when overtaking cyclists with helmets than when overtaking those who don’t wear them. If we want to legislate to protect people cycling, we should introduce strict liability law, as they have in most of the rest of Europe, to encourage more careful driving. Lucy Taussig Bournemouth Borough Cycling Officer (Corpus 1993) Cambridge cyclists do it with the wind in their hair; long may this continue. Richard Keatinge (Pembroke 1975)
History of a friendship I was particularly moved by the story of Aiyar and Kasuri (both 1961), cabinet ministers in opposing Indian and Pakistani governments. Despite being a self-confessed line-toeing, boat-steadying, yes-ministering “Bernard” of the UK Civil Service, I was made to think again about the policy of tightening the number of visas for foreign students studying in the UK. Although it is self-evident that the system is often abused, surely this tale of two unlikely friends who have remained close since Cambridge despite Partition, war and prison gives strength to the argument that non-British nationals studying at British universities should be a cornerstone of “soft” British foreign policy? Tom Hartley (Robinson 2002)
Alumni vote for new Chancellor Thank you for a well-written summary of the Chancellor vote (CAM 64). I’m writing to express a degree of dismay, not only at the
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way the vote went among alumni, but also and more fundamentally at the fact that Lord Sainsbury was the University’s preferred candidate. I do not doubt his character, but it should surely be a tenet of the first kind that the University’s Chancellor has no party-political history or baggage. Worse and more disturbingly, do we really want to be the University of a supermarket chain in the public mind, mistakenly or not? This role, however nugatory, is important and the University has probably done itself a disservice. Kate Smith (New Hall 1975) I was delighted to read of the outcome to the election of Chancellor. As this was almost certainly a once in a lifetime experience, I felt compelled to participate. I came to Cambridge to vote and found the whole experience very enjoyable and well-organised. In my view Lord Sainsbury will bring a wealth of experience to the role. His pledge to "help the University in any way that I can", was for me the deciding factor. A champion in challenging times is exactly what the University needs. David Clouter (Emmanuel 1978)
Mrs Darwin’s greenhouse I was amused to see the tiles forming the floor described as “stippled floor tiles” in the picture caption. The tiles are, in fact, tiles from a malt kiln. They would have been set as the floor of the kiln and the germinating barley would have been spread over them. The pierced tiles allowed the flue gas to pass through the corn, initially to dry the barley and then to cure it. The bench in my greenhouse is made of the same tiles, which came from the maltings at our brewery in Dorchester in the early 1970s, when Eldridge Pope discontinued its floor malting. Jeremy Pope (Trinity 1962)
Professor Peter Mandler is Professor of Modern Cultural History and Bailey College Lecturer in History at Gonville and Caius College
love the beginning of Michaelmas term. The freshers stream in, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, sometimes only faintly recalled from interviews 10 months ago – but then they have grown up a lot in those 10 months, and even if I don’t remember them very well, they remember me. They have of course other important purposes, but for me interviews also have value in staking out a relationship that will last, often, well over four years.
Melissa Calaresu, my colleague who directs studies in History at Caius for Part I, organises a series of fresher tours of Cambridge’s hidden treasure-houses of historical sources – and I pull the plum assignment of taking them up the University Library tower. For the past five years, Vanessa Lacey and her team have been cataloguing the tower’s contents. It’s a lonely but rewarding job (see www.lib.cam.ac.uk/ deptserv/towerproject) and they welcome occasions to show off their wares. Their “wares” are not pornography, as legend has it, but anything the UL received as a copyright library over the whole course of the 19th and 20th centuries and which it did not, at the time, see fit to put into its academic collection. That’s everything from penny dreadfuls to railway timetables to board-games to religious tracts (and possibly a little soft porn in between). Just the kind of thing historians slaver over nowadays, to capture the breadth and depth of popular experience in the past; but will the freshers appreciate it, or will they spend their time enjoying the view from the 17th floor? Fortunately, all eyes are fixed on what’s inside – it’s like a magic bookshop of the past 200 years, the goods untouched, glistening as if they were printed yesterday. One student with good German helps me decipher a German propaganda poster from the Great War: it tells the soldiers not to waste their bullets on tanks. What is obvious now was not then, which is why such sources are so revealing. Halfway through term, the news we have been anxiously awaiting begins to trickle through. How has the new funding regime affected applications to Cambridge? In numbers overall there has been little change, but there is a sharp swing from arts to sciences – arts down 10%, sciences up 10%. History is down 12%. Is this a long-term effect of the funding regime, which encourages 18-yearolds to think coldly (and, I think, shortsightedly) about the earning power of their education,
a middle-term effect of recession (during which the humanities traditionally do poorly), or a shortterm effect of the bad publicity generated by the debate over the funding changes? We won’t know for a few years. Meanwhile, because I have responsibility for education policy at the Royal Historical Society, I am also concerned about the fate of history at other universities. Even before the new funding regime, newer universities – more affected by the utilitarian turn, less able or willing to crosssubsidise courses – have been shutting down history departments and degrees. We won’t know how the funding regime affects history applications at other universities until their applications close in January, but early returns are sounding grim. We wouldn’t want to find ourselves in a situation where only students with top grades can do history degrees. Before I know it, it’s the end of term and our own applicants are queuing up for interviews. Though it comes after, rather than before, the pressures of term time, I like this phase almost as much as the start-of-term tours. After hours reading through transcripts, references and personal statements, the interview is for me like an Agatha Christie whodunnit. You have half an hour to work out, who is this person, and will they thrive in our high-intensity teaching environment? Somehow Melissa and I (we are interviewing this year in pairs) have to cut through the applicants’ anxiety or over-preparation or both and get to some essential truth about them. And, thanks to the hard efforts of the Caius Admissions Tutor Andy Bell, even in a bad year for History we have to do it 45 times over four days. It’s a bit of a marathon, but almost as exciting for us as it is for them, and we end up with 14 crackers. One complaint about interviews: helicopter parents. It’s bad enough, in my view, that they feel they have to escort their 18-year-olds to Cambridge, even to my office door; but some of them plunk themselves down in the chair I have left out for the candidate until the very moment it is time for the interview to start. Please – allow them to grow up! In 10 months’ time, they will be living on their own, we hope in Cambridge. And I’m not letting any parents come up the tower with us. www.hist.cam.ac.uk CAM 65 03
UPDATE LENT TERM A triumphant campaign
he sum raised by the University’s 800th Anniversary Campaign has passed $2bn (or £1.2bn) – the largest fundraising total ever announced by a European university. Benefactions to the University totalled £650m, with a further £550m donated to the Colleges. In addition to this total, the 800th Anniversary Campaign has generated more than £390m in legacy pledges, creating a pipeline of funds for the future. Alumni participation has been central to the Campaign’s success. Some 45,000 alumni – more than a quarter of us – have contributed.
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The Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz said: “This is a remarkable achievement. The University and the Colleges are immensely grateful to all our donors who have given to this Campaign so generously. “But, paraphrasing Churchill, this is simply the end of the beginning. To be a global leader in education and research requires Cambridge to continue to be a leader in philanthropy. We are beginning immediately to prepare for a new, even more ambitious Campaign.”
Lord Sainsbury of Turville will be installed as Chancellor on Wednesday 21 March, in the traditional ceremony at the Senate House. The event, for which he will wear the robes passed down by his predecessor, the Duke of Edinburgh, will be attended by the heads of the Colleges, leading academics and members of the University. After the installation, the Chancellor will carry out his first official duty, presiding over the annual ceremony for the Guild of Benefactors.
UPDATE LENT TERM
Race revolution For the first time, in 2015 the Women’s Boat Race will join the men’s event at the championship course between Mortlake and Putney, with the two races taking place within an hour of each other and enjoying equal billing. In an unprecedented five-year deal, Bank of New York Mellon will be title sponsor of the Boat Race from 2013 to 2017, with its UK subsidiary Newton Investment Management sponsoring the Women’s Boat Race for the same period. The move from Henley-on-Thames, where the Women’s Boat Race will continue to be held for the next two years, will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club. The 2012 Boat Race will take place on Saturday 7 April. The Women’s Boat Race will be held at the Henley Boat Races on Sunday 25 March.
Cambridge at the Olympics
hat does it take to go from rowing in the May Bumps to representing Team GB at the Olympic Games? How does it feel to win gold in front of a television audience of 4.7 billion? And who are the heroes of today’s up-and-coming champions? You can find the answers at the new Olympics 2012 section of the alumni website. Cambridge has a long history of sporting excellence and of nurturing Olympians. The 2012 Games will see the tradition continue, with an impressive roster of students and alumni hoping to take part. On the website, you can follow Cambridge’s Olympic hopefuls as they train for the biggest event in their sporting lives. The site will include profiles, features and the latest news and more coverage will be added as the Games raw closer. And if you know of any other Cambridge Olympic hopefuls who are not yet featured, please get in touch!
New Professorship for Fluid Mechanics In a £1.4m deal, the industrial engineer and entrepreneur James Dyson is to fund a University professorship to support breakthrough engineering and scientific research over the next decade. The Dyson Professor of Fluid Mechanics will oversee teaching and research in the field of air movement, with a focus on the smaller components such as fans and compressors that are found in domestic, office and light industrial applications. New PhD and MPhil studentships will support the new Professor’s research programme. Dyson already funds postdoctoral research at Cambridge, specialising in airflow, acoustics and carbon nanotubes. CAM 65 05
UPDATE LENT TERM
1 ‘Good Advice for Satan’s Kingdom’: the title-page of Francis Bacon’s Essays Moral, Economical, and Political (London, 1798) annotated by the poet William Blake. From the collection of Sir Geoffrey Keynes. U.4.20.
The Intimate Lives of Books
hat do these items have in common: a velvet-bound sermon book belonging to Queen Elizabeth I; a manuscript of an unpublished Rupert Brooke poem; an 18thcentury Indo-Portuguese playing card; and a hand-coloured copy of the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle? All are to be found in the University Library’s new display – along with countless other treasures – in a major exhibition entitled Shelf Lives: Four Centuries of Collectors and their Books. Star exhibits include Napoleon Bonaparte’s copy of Montaigne’s Essais from his exile on St Helena, an illuminated 9th century Mercian prayer book known as the Book of Cerne, and the second-oldest surviving copy of the Ecclesiastical History of
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the English People by the Venerable Bede. The exhibition celebrates the men and women who have donated their libraries to the University. It presents 10 such collections, containing a diverse set of books, manuscripts, ephemera and other artefacts. John Wells, the exhibition curator, says: “What visitors will experience is 10 mini-exhibitions rolled into one. They can see everything from priceless illuminated manuscripts to German propaganda from the first world war. The central theme drawing these elements together is the allure that books and manuscripts have held for collectors over the centuries – an attraction which thousands of people, from all walks of life, still feel today.”
2 John Pine’s engraved bookplate for the Royal Library, 1737, from John Moore’s copy of Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, De origine sacræ scripturæ libri duodecim, Lyon, 1641. E.2.32. 3 The engraved title-page of Joseph Haydn, A Second Sett of Twelve Ballads (arrangements of Haydn’s instrumental works set to English words), London, 1786. From the collection of Marion Scott. MRS.1.87.
4 A crimson velvet binding, embroidered in silver thread and silks with the arms of Queen Elizabeth I, on a copy of John Udall's Certaine Sermons, Taken out of Severall Places of Scripture, London, 1596. From the collection of Samuel Sandars. SSS.24.32. 5 A Christmas card from the trenches, one of several preserved in the War Reserve Collection assembled by Francis Jenkinson. WRD.46.383.34.
UPDATE LENT TERM
6 The story of Adam and Eve and the Fall, from the Liber Chronicarum (Nuremberg Chronicle), printed in 1493. From the collection of Matthew Parker. Inc.0.A.7.2.
7 Khusraw astonished by the beauty of Shirin, an illustration from a manuscript of Nizami’s poem recounting the love story of the Persian Prince Khusraw and the Armenian Princess Shirin. From the collection of George Lewis. MS Add. 207.
6 The Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College
New Master for Trinity Sir Gregory Winter has been appointed the new Master of Trinity College. Since graduating from the College in 1973, he has won numerous awards for his research work in genetic engineering, and was until recently deputy director at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Sir Gregory has held a Senior Research Fellowship at Trinity since 1991, and will succeed Lord Rees of Ludlow as head of house on 30 June 2012. Newton’s notebooks online Anyone with an internet connection will be able to browse Isaac Newton’s personal notebooks and manuscripts, thanks to a project that aims to make Cambridge a digital library for the world. The Cambridge Digital Library has been launched with more than 4,000 pages of the Newton’s most significant material – including the scientist’s own annotated copy of his Principia Mathematica. Thousands more pages of information are to follow. After the Newton holdings have been digitised, work will move on to some of the University Library’s other world-class collections in the realms of science and faith – including the papers of Charles Darwin.
Shelf Lives runs until 16 June 2012 (except 6–9 April) at the University Library. Admission is free. lib.cam.ac.uk/exhibitions/shelf_lives
New Year Honours Six Cambridge academics and staff members have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list. Professor Patrick Sissons was knighted for services to research and education in clinical medicine, as was Dr Venkatraman Ramakrishnan for services to molecular biology. Professor Geoffrey Hill received a knighthood for services to literature. Professor Trevor Robbins was awarded a CBE, and Peter Carpenter received an MBE. Matthew Moss, private secretary to the Vice-Chancellor, became a member of the Royal Victorian Order. A new economics An innovative research project is to help Cambridge scholars follow in the footsteps of John Maynard Keynes, the hugely influential economist. Launched in response to the financial crisis of 2008, the Keynes Fund for Applied Economics will promote the search for practical solutions to economic problems. Though based in the Faculty of Economics, it will solicit input from other disciplines such as psychology, history, anthropology and biology.
‘The central theme drawing these elements together is the allure that books and manuscripts have held for collectors over the centuries – an attraction which thousands of people, from all walks of life, still feel today.’ CAM 65 07
DIARY Global Alumni Conference Hong Kong
Friday 13 – Sunday 15 April, 2012
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oin the Vice-Chancellor and fellow alumni at the first Cambridge Global Alumni Conference in Hong Kong. The event is in the spirit of Alumni Weekend, and will bring Cambridge thinkers, including Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, all the way from the Fens to the Pacific Rim for a thought-provoking weekend of discussion, lectures and networking. It will be led by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz. The Conference will launch with a drinks reception on Friday 13 April, hosted by one of our thriving local volunteer-led groups, the Friends of Cambridge University in Hong Kong. On Saturday 14 April a day of lectures will showcase the University’s
academic excellence with presentations from some of Cambridge’s finest thinkers and researchers. Finally, on Sunday 15 April, alumni involved in running the global network of alumni groups are invited to attend a Leadership Conference to learn more about volunteer-led groups and share best practice. Tickets for the lecture day on Saturday 14 April cost £75 per person and include lunch and coffee. The drinks reception and Leadership Conference are free to attend. Advance booking is required for all events, as places are limited.
DIARY Contact CARO: firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)1223 332288 alumni.cam.ac.uk Trafalger Night Dinner 2009 © Roger Stevens
In brief Cambridge at the Hay Festival 31 May – 10 June For the second year, the University is bringing cuttingedge thinking to the Welsh borders in the form of the Cambridge Series at the Hay Festival. Speakers will include Professor Lawrence Sherman on modern policing, Professor Stefan Collini on education funding and Dr Wendy Pullan on cities and terror. hayfestival.com
12 May 2012 Celebrate the achievement of Cambridge sporting alumni at a black tie event in the elegant and exclusive surroundings of the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in London. Alumni and their guests will have a once-in-alifetime chance to celebrate the Olympics and meet athletes from a wide range of sports. They will enjoy a drinks reception, a three-course dinner, and a few surprises. More than 35 past and present Cambridge Olympians will be hosting tables, giving alumni and their guests a unique opportunity to meet those who have taken part in the greatest sporting show on earth and to share the excitement of those hoping to compete in this year’s Games. All alumni and their guests are warmly invited to this black tie event. Event generously sponsored by Hill and Savills. Tickets: £212 per person. alumni.cam.ac.uk/events
16 June Turn Lord’s Light Blue and support our cricketers at the annual Varsity Cricket Match on Saturday 16 June 2012. alumni.cam.ac.uk/events
Cambridge in America May Ball 21 June Join fellow alumni at the event of the season, the Cambridge in America May Ball, A Night in Treme – The Musical Majesty of New Orleans on Thursday 21 June 2012 be held at the Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Centre, New York. Invitations will be mailed to all US-based alumni in early March. cantab.org
Gurdon Institute 21st Anniversary Symposium
Treasure houses and power houses 12 – 18 August Join alumni from leading universities in an exclusive programme exploring the collections housed in the University’s museums. ice.cam.ac.uk/iaru-alumni
Department of Genetics Centenary 7 September Friends, all alumni and former members of the Department are invited to a one-day symposium and dinner at Churchill College on Friday 7 September 2012 to mark the centenary of the Arthur Balfour Chair of Genetics. Tickets: £100 per person. alumni.cam.ac.uk/events
Save the Date! Alumni Weekend 2012 21– 23 September The annual Alumni Weekend returns. alumni.cam.ac.uk/events
Cambridge Judge Business Briefings Open to all alumni, Cambridge Judge Business Briefings take place in cities across the world including Paris, New York and London, and are delivered by world-class Cambridge faculty on the key issues faced by business today. cambridgejudgebriefings .com
21– 22 June Join leading academics specialising in cancer research. Speakers include Nobel Laureates Paul Nurse and Eric Wieschaus. From 21-22 June 2012, Cambridge. gurdon.cam.ac.uk CAM 65 09
Meet the Vice-Chancellor
Networking and socialising wherever you are in the world
You don’t have to live in the UK to meet the ViceChancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz. This year, alumni will have the opportunity to meet the Vice-Chancellor in Hong Kong, the USA, China and India. For more information, get in touch with CARO at email@example.com.
Graduates get connected Missing the Cambridge bubble? Wondering about coming back as a graduate and want to learn more from graduate students here now? Or maybe you’re enjoying a brilliant career and have advice to share? If you’re a recent graduate, there's now a new way to connect back to Cambridge: CamSAN, the Cambridge Student Alumni Network. Set up last year in conjunction with the Graduate Union, CamSAN provides a forum for professional and social networking among current graduate students and alumni. CamSAN’s committee (comprising alumni, current graduate students and the Careers Service, and chaired by CARO) organises a range of events in Cambridge, from formal halls to networking drinks. To see some of what CamSAN offers visit www.facebook.com/cambridgeSAN or contact camSAN@admin.cam.ac.uk
A thank you from your Alumni Relations Office
rban? Check. Rural? Check. Mountainous? Desert? Costal? Check, check and check. Wherever you are in the world, you can get in touch with your local alumni group to network and socialise. Our newest group, the Cambridge Alumni Association of the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan, is listed with contact details, alongside the 417 other groups
at www.alumni.cam.ac.uk/groups. Should you visit the Kyrgyz Republic or Kazakhstan, you can contact James Harland (Fitzwilliam 1997) at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also now a Cambridge Society in Shenzhen – for details contact Dr Shiyun Wang (Queens’ 1998) at email@example.com.
Every year, many of you choose to support the work of the University through the purchasing of merchandise, using the University credit card, or travelling the world with the Alumni Travel Programme. The money that is raised in this way – more than £120,000 in 2011 – makes a huge difference to the University through the work of the Alumni Relations Office. If you would like to find out more about our Travel Programme, Unbound, how to apply for a University Credit Card, or any of the other alumni benefits offered by CARO, contact the Alumni Office or visit www.alumni.cam.ac.uk/benefits.
Update your details online Are you moving? Do you have a new email address? More than 4,500 alumni have already visited www.alumni.cam.ac.uk/register to update their details and e-communication preferences. To make the most of your Cambridge connections, visit the website. CAM 65 11
MY ROOM, YOUR ROOM ROOM 304, OLD HALL NEWNHAM
Words Stephen Wilson Photograph David Yeo Mary Beard (Newnham 1973) is Professor of Classics and a Fellow of Newnham College. Her latest television series, Meet the Romans, will be screened this Spring on BBC2.
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Philippa James is a fourth-year linguist who says her reward for a hard-working final year will be a long rest. “Ideally I’d like to have a year or two out. So much careers stuff is geared towards big law firms and banks. That doesn’t appeal to me at all, so some time to think is going to be necessary!”
rofessor Mary Beard may still spend part of most days at Newnham, but she hasn’t climbed the four flights of stairs into the eaves of Old Hall in 20 years – and the return is evocative. “Being here reminds me of the utter pleasure and complete terror of being an undergraduate,” she says. “It was wonderful and scary and joyous.” Philippa James, the current resident of Room 304, nods in agreement at the word “pleasure”. “Everyone says that you appreciate things more after going away, but it’s so true. After coming back from my year abroad, sitting in one of my first supervisions, I thought: ‘Oh yes. This is great. They really make you think. I’d forgotten about this!’ It was so good to be back.” The room may have had a lick of paint and a few new sticks of furniture, but on this bright sunny day in January its charms are just the same. “It’s wonderfully light and it’s far, far away from the porters. But it’s also the girls’ garret – you have to come up all those stairs to get here and so it’s a nice little community,” says Beard.
‘Working hard doesn’t mean you’re some kind of goody-twoshoes in a Laura Ashley dress.’
THE BEST... PUB IN CAMBRIDGE Joseph Bates is reading Music at Caius The pub is central to Cambridge life. Our few clubs are all-or-nothing affairs, their sticky carpets and sweatslick walls unendurable for the even slightly sober. And evenings in College bars, despite the obvious appeal of cheap pints, tend to feel less like a welcome escape from work and more like a house party in your sixthform common room. By contrast, our pubs are numerous, comfortable, and unlike everything else about Cambridge’s nightlife, actually quite good. So while the choice may be a forced one, it is in pubs that I invariably choose to squander my student loan. The most famous among them is the Eagle, with its historic demeanour, good ales and Crick-and-Watson derived intellectualism. Yet, for me, its fame is its downfall: it doesn’t feel like a pub you could get to know. Centuries of history and dozens of tourists lie between you and its real character. Instead, almost every time I venture out I seem to end up in the same place: the Maypole. By many measures, the Maypole is not Cambridge’s best pub. It isn’t its
oldest. It isn’t its cheapest. And it isn’t its prettiest. But the Maypole (the ’Pole to its friends) offers something else. It is the people of the Maypole – its friendly bar staff and its loyal regulars – that make it a grower. I went once in freshers’ week and from there on in my Cambridge experience has been one of increasing Maypole addiction. And like most addictions, going clean just seems like more effort than it’s worth. Most of the people that go to the Maypole rarely go to any other pub. Why would they? Their friends are at the Maypole. Of course, no addiction is complete without substance abuse. And the excellent beers of the Maypole are my substance of choice. Not only do they maintain a wide variety in good condition, they also have Löwenbräu on tap – the highest recommendation for any beer lover. The Maypole has its fair share of detractors, who mock the price of its beer and the pretensions of its clientele. But while it’s expensive, and despite the fact I always seem to end up sitting outside, my heart, my wallet and my liver belong to the Maypole. David Yeo. We are grateful for the help of the Maypole public house.
She remembers a gas fire (“It was before we worried about energy saving and sustainability – so wickedly, on a day like this, the best thing was putting the fire on and then throwing open the windows”), a wardrobe on the landing, lots of books and a very loud sound system. “I was always getting into trouble for playing music too loudly – mostly Janis Joplin,” she says. “I had Burne-Jones’s King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid Blu-Tacked up. Well, it was the Seventies! We all fancied ourselves as Pre-Raphaelite characters. I always imagined myself as the beggar maid, but really I had no idea who they were. It just looked very glam to me.” She may have had a keen eye for fun, but Beard took her work seriously. “I was a real swot,” she says. “I remember being told by my director of studies that the taxpayer was paying us, like a salary, and so we should be working eight hours a day, five days a week. But I never saw a contradiction between being hardworking and being naughty. It’s one of the things that is so liberating about being here: everybody’s a swot, so working hard doesn’t mean you’re some kind of goody-two-shoes in a Laura Ashley dress.” Sadly, Beard declares most of her misdeeds unsuitable for publication, although she does admit to a prank involving cross-dressing with her male peers and then parading around the Classics Faculty (apparently, no one noticed). And while James sensibly declines to be drawn on the subject of naughty behaviour, she too believes in working and playing hard. As well as completing a dissertation on the role of Muslim characters in Conde Lucanor, the medieval Spanish text, she has managed to squeeze in a proliferation of other activities including singing in a choir, playing in an orchestra and at least occasionally, the Union Society. “I’ve decided this year it’s too much!” she says. Both Beard and James agree that Newnham is a very special place to be an undergraduate. “When I came up, there were only three mixed Colleges, and they had very few women in them – very, very few. So Cambridge was really a bloke’s place,” Beard says. “But there was a fantastic feminist thrust to Newnham, every imaginable variety of feminism – all the body politics, ‘know your bits’ evenings, which now seems unbelievably naff, and the rest!” James says that although Newnham continues to have a strong feminist tradition, the very fact of being at a women’s College can – paradoxically – reduce feminism’s relevance to its students’ lives. “Because the hierarchy here is all women, that’s what’s normal for me, and so feminism doesn’t seem so critical. If I were at another College, that might be different.” Beard agrees. “In 100 years’ time, places like Newnham might not be necessary. Right now, Cambridge is a wonderful place to be, but you can’t turn a blokes’ monastery into a 21st-century mixed institution in 50 years. So this is a place for women – it’s about women. It’s brilliant!”
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NOTES IN TH E MARGIN
The case of the killer fungus
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t’s described as one of the world’s largest living organisms: a silent killer, spreading slowly through soil, attacking its victims from below. Many trees and shrubs are powerless against it, gardeners have no chemicals to fight it, and now the most destructive fungal disease in UK gardens has reached Pembroke College. Dr Matt Castle (Pembroke 1999) first heard about Armillaria at a College dinner last spring. “I was sitting next to a Fellow who’s on the gardening committee, Dr Geoffrey Edwards,” Castle remembers. “And he said, ‘you’re a mathematical epidemiologist, perhaps you can help us? We have this horrible disease called honey fungus and it’s killing our trees’.” Knowing nothing about either Armillaria or gardening, Castle – a strong believer that mathematical modelling should have practical applications – accepted the challenge. Working with the Epidemiology and Modelling Group in the Department of Plant Sciences, Castle recently completed his PhD modelling the use of fungicides and other chemical controls on crop pathogens. His postdoctoral research is focused on the Sudden Oak Death disease now affecting forestry crops in the UK. Compared with human or animal diseases, those afflicting plants are, Castle feels, unfairly neglected. Yet they are vital for global food security. “We model the spread of plant diseases – things like Ug99, a horrible strain of wheat rust coming out of Africa,” he says. That disease emerged in Uganda in 1999, spreading on the wind by long-range spore dispersal. It has already reached the Middle East and there are fears that it will reach wheat-growing areas of the subcontinent. Castle says: “Ug99 is potentially devastating – a huge humanitarian crisis if it does make it across to northern India. But nobody seems to care about plant diseases. They’re not sexy.” Taking experimental data from biologists in the field, the Epidemiology and Modelling Group uses mathematics and computer power to make predictive models of how diseases like Ug99 spread – and how to tackle them. By factoring in economic considerations, such as a crop’s value, the models can help shape decisions about how best to allocate resources to control a disease, and where to plant crops to avoid being in the path of new spores. As a researcher dealing with huge numbers at a global scale, Castle found immediate appeal in the chance to work in his own back yard, Pembroke College. “Most of the work I do as a researcher is either very abstract or the effects are over such long times and distances that it’s hard to feel connected to the impact of what I do,” he says. “I walk though the gardens every day, as do many others, and it’s exciting to see the immediate effects and impacts of the science.” After speaking to colleagues and poring over the
‘It’s apparently very tasty. It would make a nice dish for the High Table.’
Words Becky Allen
literature, Castle decided to attack the Armillaria with Trichoderma, another fungus widespread in soil. “We had some Trichoderma in the lab, sitting on the shelf – it comes in powdered form,” he says. “So we asked if the College would be interested in using this biocontrol in the garden, and in exchange allow us to carry out some experiments so we could benefit scientifically.” With help from Pembroke undergraduate Catherine Ainsworth, Castle tested Trichoderma’s efficacy against honey fungus in the lab. “The results were brilliant. It didn’t kill the honey fungus but stopped it in its tracks – nice strong, conclusive results compared with what we’d seen in [previous] papers,” says Castle. They now have two experiments set up in the College gardens from which they hope to discover three things: whether Trichoderma does in soil what it did in the lab; what doses of Trichoderma they need to apply; and whether inoculating areas currently free from honey fungus can buffer its spread. Castle says: “We want to produce an online, interactive map for the College of where the fungus is, so that as they notice the mushrooms they can update it. It would be useful for the gardeners and interesting for us.” The project could help save trees and shrubs in parks and gardens across the country and, if successful, might be celebrated by serving honey fungus at a future college dinner. “It’s apparently very tasty,” says Castle. “It would make a nice dish for the High Table, but we’d test it on a couple of undergraduates first.”
ominating the north end of the College chapel like a giant angel with wings of tin and oak, the modern St Martin organ, completed in 2002, seems an unlikely candidate for one of Girton’s best-kept secrets. The organ is, after all, the largest and loudest instrument in the musical world. Sitting beside me on the organ stool, Dr Martin Ennis, Director of Music at Girton College, says: “When you’re playing a loud piece on the organ you’re moving huge volumes of sound. You’re often also moving the building, and there have been cases of cathedrals boxing in particular stops because some bass stops make the building vibrate and glass windows shatter.” Pressing home his point, he pulls out a stop and plays one of the organ’s four manuals. The immense growl it emits fills the Victorian chapel with sound so deep that it reaches the pit of your stomach. But when Ennis opens the door into the organ’s case – made from Swiss alpine oak seasoned for a decade – he reveals a secret realm. “It’s like walking around a piece of living sculpture,” he says. Words Becky Allen Images Steve Bond
SECRET CAMBRIDGE: GIRTON CHAPEL ORGAN
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Top left Front of the Girton organ looking up
Above The upper part of the organ case, showing a wide range of pipes disposed on different soundboards. Below A selection of pipes from the swell-box.
‘The immense growl fills the Victorian chapel with a sound so deep it reaches into the pit of your stomach.’
Left and below Two images of the organ's mechanical action, and more ranks of pipes.
The instrument’s innards are a hidden world of pine and tin, a bewildering array of levers and pipes linking organist and organ with extraordinary intimacy. “Until the industrial revolution, the organ was the most complex thing in any city,” Ennis says. “In terms of engineering skills, it was the piece of technological wizardry.” This wizardry has been passed down to the 21st century, thanks to the skills of Alain Aeschlimann and Jacques-André Jeanneret, builders of the St Martin organ at Girton. “They work in a small village in the Suisse Romande and do everything themselves. They are quite extraordinary,” he says. “As organ builders they need architectural skills, because drawing an instrument like this is a huge technical challenge. They’ve done wonderful marquetry in the case, and they must be able to bash metal for the pipes and turn their hand to electronics because of course there are computers in an instrument like this. And they obviously need musical skills in abundance, because one of the critical issues is voicing the instrument – fitting it to the space it will fill.” Ennis counts himself lucky to have had the opportunity to commission such a long-lived instrument. “It was the chance of a lifetime,” he says. “Few organists get the chance to commission an organ like this.” It was an opportunity that demanded meticulous research. “When I realised we had the chance to build a new organ, I wrote to friends asking who they thought were the best makers,” he remembers. “Then we decided to do little journeys of discovery to ask individual makers what it would cost to build an instrument to our specification, and also what they could build for our budget of £250,000.” What Ennis sought was an organ of great versatility. “As a recital instrument, the College organ must stand up to the full range of repertoire,” he says. “Though the hearts of many organists lie in the rich corpus of Baroque literature, not all prospective organ scholars have the same sympathies. Our new instrument had to cope with the Romantic warhorses and with French repertoire from Franck to Messiaen and beyond.” Delighted that St Martin could provide such flexibility, they agreed on the project in 2002, overlooking the Swiss Lakes with an excellent bottle of local Neuchâtelois wine. “There are worse places to strike a deal,” Ennis says. The organ was built in St Martin’s workshop, deep in the Swiss countryside, dismantled and re-built in Girton. “It was all done over the summer,” he says. “They arrived on 1 July and had constructed the whole instrument in two weeks. They then spent until September doing the voicing – weeks of adjusting and trying things out. They did some amazing things.” The inaugural recital, in February 2003 by leading Swiss organist Guy Bovet, was a great success. But in September that year, on Ennis’s birthday, he received a call from the builders. “They said they thought there was a problem in one of the compartments,” he remembers. “When I looked, I found that when they built the organ they’d secreted a bottle of wine in the case. A year later, there it was waiting for me – the best Neuchâtel wine!” This was not the last of the Girton organ’s secrets. Castle says: “They told me there were all sorts of things – little bits of carving hidden away in the instrument that no one else will find until the organ is finally taken apart. Which, I hope, will not be for a very long time.” CAM 65 17
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At all points along the social scale, children today are under enormous pressure: to achieve, to behave, to defy low expectation. Professor Cindi Katz argues that it is time the grownups set childhood free.
t was just a year ago that a tiger attacked parents in the United States. In January 2011, the Wall Street Journal published an excerpt from Yale law professor Amy Chua’s narcissistic romp of a memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, releasing a frenzy of media and blogospheric attention across the country and around the Western world. Chua’s now legendary “Chinese” parenting (the stereotypes fly off the pages unencumbered by subtleties of any kind) included dementedly long hours of music practice for her two daughters every day no matter what, even on holiday, and her rejection of anything less than an A on report cards or being first in every academic subject. Chua enforced rigorous study habits, allowing no television, no computer games, and no sleepover dates; actually she insisted upon a complete – almost hysterical – avoidance of play dates, period. Laxity of any kind was not tolerated, and Chua seemed proud to recount her lacerating punishments for failures in accomplishment, sloth, or resistance to her “Chinese” methods in which “mother not only knows best” but child knows nothing of what is good, desirable, or worthy of time. She describes fights that go on for hours and standoffs that last days because she
will not give up, no matter how wilful or hysterical her daughter’s response is. Chua is scathing about what she casts as western practices of over-praise and indulgence of children. Her tough love is tough, she insists, but it is also love, and will lift her children to their highest heights, as premature praise or encouragement will not. She expects that her children will not only be grateful to their pushy tiger mother, but revere her as they embody the highest standards of filial piety. However, what is significant about Battle Hymn is not Chua’s style of child rearing, but the swirl of attention it received. The book is sensationalist and cynical. Chua’s professed recognition of the error of her ways when her younger daughter rebels and scales down her commitment to the violin (she does not quit) does not really happen; it is performed. Parents across the US blogged their horror. Even as Chua made the rounds of talk shows insisting over and over that it was a memoir not a manual, she was pummelled with questions about her harsh parenting tactics, and reviled as abusive. It also provoked an immediate response book, Tiger Mother Son of a Bitch, by 21-year-old Derrick Lin, a former tiger cub in New Jersey. The fact that Lin’s book came out within a month of Chua’s might itself be an advertisement for the success of tiger parenting techniques. And that’s the thing – Chua’s book might have been a flash in the mommy pan, were it not for the way it exposes our current ontological insecurity, and the ways we project it onto children’s performance. Its US sales were no doubt boosted by the publication a month before of statistics showing US students scoring way behind Chinese students in maths and science (487 points versus 600 points in 2010). Even when she is self-conscious about it, Chua renders a sort of “clash of civilisations” come home, her book launched like a mini-Sputnik, exposing the angst-ridden terrain of
‘The middle-class family has become both citadel and hothouse, protecting its position. At the same time, social reproduction is built upon waste: other classes’ and races’ or even one’s own children as waste – the children who are unlikely to find secure footing.’
Photograph Charlie Troman
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contemporary middle-class parenting and provoking its (often defensive) interrogation, while at the same time revealing how these are sutured to racialised anxieties about the future and the nation. I was particularly intrigued by Chua’s 15 minutes of fame because my current project, Childhood as Spectacle, looks at various interconnected figures of the child – as accumulation strategy, commodity, ornament, and as waste – as a way to examine “social reproduction” and the multiple investments in children as a cultural politics ripe for unpacking. Social reproduction entails the messy, fleshy stuff of everyday life (making breakfast, cleaning the house, putting children to bed) as much as the structured practices that make and maintain the means and grounds of production and a labour force with the differentiated knowledge and skills to put them to work. In a time of economic crisis such as the present, its grounds are more fraught and its stakes that much higher as aspirations around children are defined, negotiated, reached, and deferred in and through the family, among other sites – including, most centrally, schools. These modes of aspiration and its management constitute what Raymond Williams called “a structure of feeling” whose drives and effects may illuminate the present as a political moment.
ooking at childhood, then, is a way to gauge some of the broader anxieties around futurity. These come in many forms. As the social wage shrinks and three decades of neoliberal globalism reconfigure people’s expectations of government and business, militarised violence takes on new forms and places, environmental change goes global, and whole lifeworlds seem to be disappearing, long-held assumptions about coming of age alter and ramp up ontological insecurity. Under these conditions, the American middle-class family has become both citadel and hothouse, protecting its class position and cultivating perfectly commodified children for niche marketing in a future that feels increasingly precarious. At the same time, social reproduction is built upon and tethered to waste: other classes’ and races’ or even one’s own children as waste; children who are unlikely to find secure footing – whether education, employment, housing, or social justice – as they come of age. This waste haunts the scramble around children’s futures in ways that provoke intense insecurity for different social groups. One of the places waste and value rub against one another is in schools and around education more generally. The 2010 films Race to Nowhere and Waiting for Superman are illuminating here. Race to Nowhere is a compelling documentary produced and co-directed by Vicki Abeles, a former Wall Street lawyer and current San Francisco Bay Area mother of three. The film takes aim at the pressures put on children, families, and educators by the testing and competitive achievement culture of US public education. The suicide of a high-achieving teen in her community, coupled with her own children’s panic attacks and stress-related illnesses spurred Abeles to make the film, which explores how these plagues affect all groups, no matter what class or colour, but concentrates on middle-class and privileged households struggling with and reproducing this culture. “Unplugging” from the partially self-inflicted tyranny of striving and achievement is a key metaphor in the film and the conversations around it. But when children are an accumulation strategy and the economic future feels so unyielding, the pressured practices scrutinised by Abeles may feel like lifelines. It seems almost impossible to unplug when others are still plugging away (taking “Advanced Placement” classes, studying in high-achievement school tracks, attending sports clinics) and the prize is university admission. Race to Nowhere profiles the suffering of students who are saturated with resources and driven to succeed. Many live in households that spare no expense to provide lessons, tutoring, counselling on the admissions gauntlet, exam coaches, and even diagnoses of learning disabilities to get more time on standardised tests.
In contrast, Davis Guggenheim’s 2010 film, Waiting for Superman, concentrates on an entirely different sort of suffering. It tracks five dedicated students and their families as they struggle to escape their failing and under-resourced public schools and the doom they spell. Championing charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately operated so as to get around sticky issues such as teachers’ unions, the film portrays public schools as a behemoth that fails students, particularly poor brown and black ones who need “us” the most. In my view, this sugar-coats a narrative demonising teachers’ unions and downplaying decades of disinvestment in public education, structural racism, and obdurate poverty. It quite hideously manipulates the audience, showing public lotteries that decide whether children get into an oversubscribed charter school or continue to be churned into waste. What can we make of a society where these productions of waste or the fear of being wasted rub against Amy Chua’s almost parodic performance of fashioning a “hyperpowered” child for the new century, or children who are so saturated with resources that they are suicidal? At a talkback session in Silicon Valley featuring Abeles and two of the young people in the film, a man suggested that students should “take it easy” – maybe skip a class or not do their homework once in a while. While the girls seemed baffled by this, Abeles ventured into the lurch, encouraging parents to support a little slacking off. If young people need a parent to tell them to skip class, they are really in trouble; and if we have lost the art of doing nothing, so are we. Doing nothing is one of the great pleasures of a “good” childhood – perhaps its most endangered aspect, and one of its most important. It is a reservoir for creativity but also a form of “disposable time”, which for Marx was the basis of social wealth because it allows invention and consumption. Reimagining the time-spaces of childhood, children and education can begin to remake the contours and horizons of social reproduction. With something as simple as extended school hours, encompassing the sorts of enrichment programs and oases of creative activity that have been privatised in recent years, we might begin to retreat from the anxious provocations that schedule some children to death as others are passed by. Reshaping disposable time would rework the alchemy between value and waste, opening a field of play in which anything is possible.
Cindi Katz is the Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professor at the Centre for Gender Studies
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he paper was published in 1937 and bore the understated title of ‘On computable numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem’. It posited the idea of a machine – the Universal Turing Machine – which could perform calculations. This entirely theoretical contraption was designed to decide the Entscheidungsproblem – the ‘decision problem’ with which David Hilbert had confounded the mathematical establishment nine years earlier, in 1928. It was a deceptively simple problem. Is it possible to decide, mathematically, if a statement is true or false? Turing’s paper proved that it was not. “This was shocking in the mathematical world,” says Dr James Grime of the University’s Enigma Project. “There are things that are true that you can’t prove to be true. The whole house of cards seemed suddenly to be shaking. It was very unsettling for some people.”
Alan Turing, born a century ago this year, wrote the paper. He liked the unsettling and the unthinkable, and relished uncertainty: all meant problems waiting to be solved. Although he is best known for his incredible feats of codebreaking, his Universal Turing Machine was also one of the first concepts of the computer. Turing had a mind big enough to encompass bombes and biogenesis, pure mathematics and complex feats of engineering. Perhaps he would have relished a world where computers and cryptography – two fields in which he made an extraordinary contribution – underpin vast sections of our lives, yet are highly vulnerable to attack. A world where our reliance on the former could not exist without the latter, and where complex codes and algorithms are intrinsic to everything from banking to phone calls to medical records to food shopping. A world where we may well end up relying on
Words Lucy Jolin
‘Codes used to be the business of governments and spies. Today they are big business and part of our way of life.’
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quantum mechanics – itself a concept based on uncertainty – to keep our systems safe. Yet most of us are barely aware that these cryptographic systems exist, or what the consequences might be if these codes are cracked – if the house of cards falls down. As part of the codebreaking team at Bletchley Park during the second world war, which unpicked the German Enigma machine codes, Turing helped to win the war. A century after his birth, there’s a rather different war going on. It’s a war of Trojans, RSA keys, internet security protocols and algorithms, rather than of U-boats and bombs, but it’s a continuation of a battle that has been going on since Caesar sent coded messages to Cicero: a battle between the codebreakers and the codemakers. Codes used to be the business of governments and spies, and occasionally, gifted amateurs. Today, they are big business and they are part of our way of life. “Cryptography is an industry which wants to sell to the public,” says Simon Singh (Emmanuel 1987), author of The Code Book. “It has a very public face now, and that’s healthy, because people can say: here is my system, can you break it? Because if you can’t break it, then we all know that we’ve got a pretty good system.” Public-key cryptography, in the form of complex algorithms, underpins our email systems and mobile phones, is in our computers, and is deeply embedded in everything that keeps society functioning – transport systems, hospitals, personal records, banks. “We now have an altogether new level of people putting their private lives online,” says Ross Anderson, Professor of Security Engineering at the Cambridge Computer Laboratory. “But it’s not just the personal stake we have – it’s a stake in the infrastructure. “Go back 15 years to 1996, when people
were starting to worry about the millennium bug. We asked people what would happen if the internet fell over. And the answer was: hey, with no email, we’d get some work done. But nowadays, if the internet were to fall over, people would die. Without it, food won’t be delivered to the supermarket, or drugs to the chemist, and hospitals won’t get lab test reports.” In February 2011, Anderson’s team produced a report for the European Network Security Agency detailing threats to the internet. He says: “The sort of thing that we have to worry about is an attack by a nation state, or by an insurgent group, perhaps environmental extremists who want us to go back to a less energy-intensive way of life. The second possibility would be software bugs as we move to IPv6, the next suite of protocols for the internet. There will be all sorts of opportunities for people to get the software wrong.” He tells the cautionary tale of the Buncefield oil depot in Hemel Hempstead, Buckinghamshire. At 6.36am on 11 December 2005, a series of massive explosions at the depot, followed by a raging fire, shut down the area for miles around. “It also meant that Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge lost its admission and discharge system,” says Anderson. “They were kept in a server farm and both the circuits that went from the hospital to the data centre went through Buncefield. Of course, nobody realised that. People had gone and leased one circuit from this firm and another from that firm. Unbeknown to them, they both went through the same place.” Singh likes to begin his encryption talks by asking who among those present uses highquality, unbreakable, world-class encryption. “Obviously, nobody tends to put up their hands,” he says. ‘But actually everybody in the room uses it every day via their cellphone,
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‘Although the protocol for quantum cryptography is unconditionally secure, any deviation of the real device, or how it is operated from the protocol, could allow attack.’
their satellite subscription, their internet account. And in a way it’s a bit of a problem that it all happens below the surface, inside the computer. We don’t really see it, so we don’t really appreciate it.” Public-key cryptography relies on a deceptively simple concept known as an asymmetric key. The key used to encrypt the message is different from the key that you need to read that message. So anyone can send you a message encrypted with your “public key”. But in order to read that message, you use your own, unique “private key”. In The Code Book, Singh uses a padlock analogy. “Anybody can close a padlock simply by clicking it shut but only the person who has the key can open it. Locking (encryption) is easy, something everybody can do; but unlocking (decryption) can be done only by the owner of the key.” Can public-key cryptography be broken? Hard but not impossible, says Dr Andrew Shields, head of the Quantum Information Group at the Toshiba Cambridge Research Laboratory. “Cryptography during Turing’s time was based on mechanical complexity,” he says. “The kind that we use today is based on computational complexity. “Computers are predictable. They use algorithms, which exactly define a mathematical problem. Although it may be very difficult to work out, given enough computing resource you can always solve that algorithm. Public-key cryptography uses very long keys, so it is computationally intensive to derive the private key from the public key. However, since the keys are mathematically related, it is possible to determine the private key given a large enough computer, or a quantum computer. As time progresses and computers get more powerful, we have to lengthen the keys used in public-key cryptography in order to maintain its security. Quantum cryptography, on the other hand,
uses a completely different idea.” Back in 1929, Turing’s letters find him attempting to explain Erwin Schrödinger’s quantum theories to his mother. Ninety years later, quantum theory is still very much alive and well and underpins a completely new kind of cryptography. Quantum cryptography works by encoding each bit of information on a single photon – a particle of light – and sending it through an ordinary optical communication fibre. The bit sequences that this process generates are totally random. Consequently, cryptanalysis can’t break them. In fact, not even a quantum computer can break a quantum cryptography system. “There’s a rule in quantum mechanics called the no-cloning theorem, which says that, in general, it’s not possible to make a copy of a quantum state,” says Dr Shields. “So it’s not possible to learn all the information about a quantum state and make an exact replica of it. Because of that, an eavesdropper is not able to determine all of the information encoded upon the single photons used in quantum cryptography. “In the process of trying to copy the information, the eavesdropper will always make some inadvertent changes that legitimate users can detect. So they would always know if someone had attempted to eavesdrop on their conversation. That’s why it’s so different. That’s why there’s so much excitement around it.” Quantum cryptography sounds futuristic. But it is here now, and it works. Shields’ team recently set up a network for quantum key distribution in Tokyo. Most of the technological problems have been solved, he says, and more quantum systems are likely to be rolled out over the next few years in governmental and financial networks. It’s not impossible that the technology could one day be used in the home. Nonetheless, as it was with Caesar’s ciphers, so it is with public-key and quantum
cryptography: human input is the weakest link. “The work by Turing and his colleagues showed that it is sometimes possible to crack a cryptographic system using errors in how it is operated or made,” Shields points out. “Although the protocol for quantum cryptography is unconditionally secure, any deviation of the real device, or how it is operated from the protocol, could allow attack. We are working on carefully engineering the device to replicate the model system and achieve the highest security possible.” Many German codes were indeed broken at Bletchley Park when enemy operators disobeyed strict key-changing instructions through laziness, or made silly mistakes, and not much has changed. These days, for many of us, only our first names, our birthdates, or even more worryingly, simply the word “password” stand between all our personal information and a dedicated hacker. The physicist Niels Bohr famously said: “Those who are not shocked when they first come across quantum theory cannot possibly have understood it.” The same could be applied to the reach of cryptographic systems as a whole: it’s hard to avoid the sense of the ground shifting slightly when considering just how much of the world relies on “unbreakable” codes, and what the consequences could be if those codes prove vulnerable. The world of cryptography and cryptanalysis has come a long way from the bleak huts of Bletchley Park and the rotors, wire brushes, valves and cables used to build Turing’s code-breaking “bombe” machines, but the war between the best brains on both sides is never likely to be over. As one problem is solved, another takes its place. As quickly as the top card falls down, it is replaced. “Easy problems are of no concern to mathematicians,” says Dr James Grime. “They’ve already been solved. We want problems that nobody else has solved – and we want a unique way, that nobody has tried before.” CAM 65 25
TheEnd is Nigh. (Again)
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© Historical Picture Archive/Corbis
© Prado, Madrid, Spain/ The Bridgeman Art Library
Above 14th century manuscript illumination of the Apocalypse.
© Historical Picture Archive/Corbis
In a time of economic and environmental meltdown, Professor Maria Manuel Lisboa explains why the end of the world is always with us.
he end of the world is – bizarrely, paradoxically – always with us. Whether in Genesis or Harry Potter, The Blob or Hieronymus Bosch (or indeed The Day of the Triffids, Independence Day, Götterdämmerung, Brave New World, The Handmaid’s Tale or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – the list goes on and on), the dread of not individual death but species death stalks the human psyche. Indeed, you could argue that it is one of the most universally shared human phenomena: an obsession which transposes boundaries of time and geography, even erasing, to some extent, cultural difference. What causes near-global destruction? The options are surprisingly limited in number: divine wrath, natural disaster, dangerous scientific advancement (most commonly nuclear power), aliens. But most interestingly, whatever the narrative, the actual end of the world very rarely takes place. In Fail Safe, Stephen Frears’ remarkable film of 2000 (a remake of Sidney Lumet’s 1964 version, released shortly after the Cuban missile crisis) error, not terror, sets in motion a chain of events which quickly go beyond the point of no return. Computer failure causes Opposite page The Triumph of Death, c.1562 (oil on panel) by Bruegel, Pieter the Elder (c.1525-69).
American nuclear bombers under the command of Colonel Jack Grady (George Clooney) to be deployed against Moscow. Standard procedure means that once a predetermined fail-safe point has been passed, Grady, like all fighter bombers, must ignore any order to abort the mission. The only solution is for the presidents of the USA and USSR – in this depiction, men both intelligent and determined to work for the greater good – to agree a pragmatic but ghastly solution to avoid an escalation of conflict. If the bomber gets through, the Americans will drop a similar bomb on New York. In Frears’ apocalyptic vision, Moscow and New York are bombed, the leaders agree that they will tell their nations that “it will never happen again”. On this occasion, at least (the film ends with a long list of countries which, at the time of the film’s release, controlled nuclear weapons) the world does not end. Indeed, until the dawn of the nuclear age, the idea of actual global wipeout was almost unimaginable; and even today, almost 70 years after Hiroshima, true apocalypse is seldom imagined. Nevil Shute’s twice-filmed 1957 novel On the Beach is one of the exceptions. Here,
Above left Woodcut Print with Medieval Depiction of the End Times from Liber Chronicarum.
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© Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Right Album cover art for Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds.
© Sony Pictures Entertainment / The Kobal Collection
Above Death on a Pale Horse by William Blake, c.1800.
Below The Tragic Conversion of Salvador Dali (after John Martin), by Glenn Brown, 1988. © 2012 Glenn Brown. Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery
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the difficulty of comprehending the idea of an absolute end is articulated by the scientists and submarine crew who visit for the last time regions of the world where the radiation that will eventually spread to the entire planet has already put an end to all life: “Did it ever strike you that nobody will ever – ever – see Cairns again? Or Moresby, or Darwin? They stared at him while they turned over the new idea. […]” “That’s so,” Dwight said thoughtfully. […] “We’re the last living people that will ever see those places.” […] Peter stirred uneasily. “That’s historical,” he said. “It ought to go on record somewhere, oughtn’t it? Is anybody writing any kind of history about these times?” John Osborne said, “I haven’t heard of one. I’ll find out about that. After all, there doesn’t seem to be much point in writing stuff that nobody will read.” In Russell Mulcahy’s millennium film of the same novel, the central protagonist Dwight Towers tours the northern hemisphere and confirms the absolute eradication of life, including in his own home (where he finds his family dead in bed). He returns to an Australia in the last stages of demise and in one of the most effective and cruel scenes in the film, seeks refuge in a café from what appears to be a lynch mob. They turn out to be a group of two men and a woman in search of food. All four sit down, share a tin of baked beans, and part, without having exchanged a single word. At the end of the world, clearly, polite mealtime conversation is no longer necessary. More commonly, narratives end not with absolute wipe-out, but with a mere clearing of the decks in anticipation of a new beginning, Armageddon usually leaving enough over to permit a new beginning (at the very least, one man, one woman, some representative animal and plant species and enough resources to sustain them).
© Columbia Pictures / The Kobal Collection
© Art Machine / Trailer Park
© Warner Bros / The Kobal Collection
This is true even in works as extreme in their depiction of end-of-the-world plots as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, recently adapted to the cinema by John Hillcoat. Here, survival at best and extinction at worst remain equally weighted. McCarthy’s novel, a macabre and elegiac combination of a story of companionship, road narrative and adventure of quest, follows a father and son as they journey together for an indeterminate period of time across a desolate, postapocalyptic landscape, in the aftermath of a nuclear cataclysm dating back some 10 years, to a time shortly after the boy’s birth. Civilisation has been destroyed, and most animal and plant species have become extinct: He thought the month was October but he wasn’t sure. He hadn’t kept a calendar for years. They were moving south. There’d be no surviving another winter here. […] He studied what he could see. The segments of road down there among the dead trees. Looking for anything of colour. Any movement. Any trace of standing smoke. […] He just sat there holding the binoculars and watching the ashen daylight congeal over the land. He knew only that the child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God, God never spoke. […] An hour later they were on the road, […] shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire. Amidst “the ashes of the late world”, the only living organisms father and son encounter on their journey are a dog, some edible mushrooms, moss, and some shrivelled apples in an orchard. There is no
© Allied Artists / The Kobal Collection
© Paramount / The Kobal Collection
© Art Machine / Trailer Park
© Art Machine / Trailer Park
Left Film poster for the apocalyptic film 2012.
sun, the atmosphere is suffused with ash, the climate has been radically altered and plants no longer grow. In a mockery of earlier consumerist societies, the remnants of humankind now consist mostly of cannibals – who, in a world where there is nothing left and no means of production, capture and eat their own species, in the form of refugees and travellers, themselves driven to scavenging for food. In due course the father dies, but after a symbolic three days awaiting almost certain death, the boy encounters not the feared stranger-danger but a family of four, including one son and one daughter. They live in a relatively undamaged environment and invite the boy to join them, thus setting up the beginnings of a community. Life goes on. When we imagine apocalypse – the end of the world as we know it – the outcome is seldom the void. If the apocalyptic event divides history into before and after, the tale of what comes after must, by definition, be constructed by those who were present in the time before, and its narrative must therefore presuppose that there is something (and someone) left. At worst, it may be something different, but whatever that may turn out to be, there is still something (some thing) being experienced, and someone experiencing it. In effect, as confirmed by most post-apocalyptic narratives, what tends to follow imagined apocalypse is essentially the past repeated. Even if we attempt to imagine the end, we can only imagine it as something that can be articulated in the vocabulary of what we already know. Adam and Eve lose everything but find CAM 65 29
‘All four sit down, share a tin of baked beans, and part, without having exchanged a single word. At the end of the world, clearly, polite mealtime conversation is no longer necessary.’
a new world in its place. In Milton, Paradise is lost, but even as the first parents are expelled, “The world was all before them.” In Louis MacNeice’s poem Apple Blossom, Adam and Eve are expelled from Eden, Yet when the bitter gates clanged to The sky beyond was just as blue. […] And when from Eden we take our way The morning after is the first day. Nowhere does this find clearer and, entertainingly, more literal expression than in the Book of Revelation, where after the four horsemen of the apocalypse have done their worst, the angel commissioned to rebuild the world for the happy few left behind does so using a detailed builder’s blueprint which includes meticulous earthly measurements: And he […] had a golden reed to measure the city […]. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal […], an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. Faced with the unimaginable, what we are able to articulate in its aftermath must by definition be just another version of what we already know, in measurements we understand. And if what we imagine afterwards must in some way resemble what was there before, it is also true that we – the human inhabitants of a new Eden – also remain unchanged. Hubris still defines humanity and mistakes, especially ones of human origin, tend to repeat themselves. In The Blob (directed by Irvin Yeaworth in 1958), a town otherwise torn by conflict, with rebellious teenagers on the one hand, and the representatives of authority – parents, the police – on the other, becomes united in the joint battle to defeat the eponymous gelatinous monster from outer space. Although at the end of the film, victory does not come with an absolute guarantee (the final frame features a question mark), harmony reigns even where none had prevailed before. Paradoxically, it is this very status quo that had originally in some way resulted in the arrival of the Blob. Another day, another Blob. But what is the alternative? Imagining utopia – perfection, a good place – can prove almost as tricky as imagining no world at all. Moreover, the attempt to imagine perfection threatens instead to lead many of us to Nothing, or at least to moral nothingness. HG Wells, for example, argued in all seriousness that utopia would only be achieved after “the inferior races” – in his view, the entire populations of Africa
and Asia and all Jews – had been exterminated. In Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Hob Gadling, the central character, not unlike the knight in Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film The Seventh Seal, meets Death and her brother Dream in a tavern in London in 1389, and on a whim is granted eternal life by the former. In the course of six episodes taking place over the centuries, Gadling meets Dream several times. As the series progresses, we learn that Gadling is sometimes offered the option of death by Death herself, and on at least one occasion is tempted. Although he never actually takes up the offer, it becomes increasingly clear that eternal life may not after all be as desirable as he had supposed. This admittedly counter-intuitive problem is taken to its logical conclusion in Julian Barnes’s A History of the World in 10½ Chapters. After a few millennia in Heaven, and faced with the prospect of an eternity of instantly gratified desires (perfect sex on demand, total gastronomic satisfaction, unfaltering scratch performance at golf) the protagonist of the final chapter asks to be allowed to die again, but this time without the option of going to heaven. Ultimately, like almost every person since humanity began, he finds that “Heaven’s a very good idea, […] but not for us”. From this perspective, the end of the world seems quite welcome. Which is fortunate, because in real life, in the here and now, we are becoming ever greater experts in DIY apocalypse. Whether through economic meltdown, nuclear proliferation, antibiotic abuse leading to drug-resistant infection, environmental destruction or scientific curiosity run amok, it is beginning to look increasingly unlikely that anything as nebulous as divine wrath or a giant meteor will be necessary to bring about planetary destruction. Indeed, in the doomsday warning issued by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, “The incredible variety of life on Earth that sustains us, is in peril. Species are becoming extinct at the fastest rate ever recorded. Most of these extinctions are tied to human activities.” It might be the end of the world, again.
Maria Manuel Lisboa is Professor of Portuguese Literature and Culture at Cambridge and a Fellow of St John’s College. Her book, The End of the World: Apocalypse and its Aftermath in Western Culture is published by Open Book. CAM 65 31
rofessor Simon Conway Morris has an idea that could radically change our understanding of life, the universe and everything. An idea that could unpick everything we know about evolution and how it works. An idea that could even bring closer the possibility of finding alien life forms. The idea is this: that convergence – the tendency of very different organisms to evolve similar solutions to biological problems – is not just part of evolution, but a driving force. To say this is an unconventional view would be something of an understatement. To start with an example of convergence (itself an astonishing phenomenon), take the “camera eye” – an eye comprising a lens suspended between two fluid-filled chambers, and the kind of eye which you are using to read this feature.
“If you go to the octopus and, if you’re not too squeamish, dissect it, you’ll find that it has a camera eye which is remarkably similar to our own,” says Conway Morris. “And yet we know that the octopus belongs to an invertebrate group called the cephalopod molluscs, evolutionarily very distant indeed from the chordates to which we belong. “The common ancient ancestor of molluscs and chordates could not possibly have possessed a camera eye, so quite clearly they have evolved independently. The solution has been arrived at by completely different routes.” Or, in other words, evolution has converged on a solution. Most biologists agree that convergence is a common occurrence; but Conway Morris goes a step further, believing that evolution converges on the best possible
Rethinking evolution Paleobiologist Professor Simon Conway Morris says that examination of the fossil evidence demands a radical rewriting of evolution. Words Stephen Wilson Photographs Steve Bond
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Simon Conway Morris works in the Department of Earth Sciences. CV 1972 BSc in Geology, University of Bristol 1975 Fellow of St John’s 1987 Walcott Medal, National Academy of Sciences 1998 Lyell Medal, Royal Geological Society 1990 Fellow of the Royal Society 1996 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2008 Honorary DSc, University of Hull 2010 William Bate Hardy Prize, Cambridge Philosophical Society
solution, rather than on a best fit, random solution (leading many commentators to accuse him of being a creationist – something he finds amusing, but says is rubbish). “It all comes down to not whether convergence takes place, but whether it means anything. I think it does, not least because when thinking about the combinatorial possibilities, the numbers of things [biological solutions] that ought to work is ridiculously large, whereas we seem to find that the number of things that actually work is surprisingly small – a very small fraction of all possibilities.” But if evolution is not a random process, what then? First, it means that if you were able to wind the spool of life back to its start and run it again, the outcome – intelligent life – would be the same. Second, it suggests that there may be another principle at work, possibly even something that could be described by a general theory of biology. And third, it suggests that alien life is both likely, and likely to be surprisingly familiar. He says: “A general theory sounds very grandiose, but actually there are a lot of people who are more than happy with a Darwinian explanation [of evolution] but regard it as incomplete – just as Newtonian mechanics work extremely well, but you still need Einstein. “A good part of organic systems rely on self-organisation. You know – that things click together. They do that, from our perspective, almost effortlessly; yet there is no general theory to explain how that happens. “But the other part of it is that we don’t actually know what life is at all. We’re good at studying it and so forth, but we don’t understand how it coheres, how it shows extraordinary homeostasis. Clearly it’s a physical and chemical system, but it’s one that works in a thermodynamic arrangement which would leave any engineer green with envy.” Conway Morris is quick to point out that he is not suggesting anything deeply mysterious at work (“I’m not trying to say we should go back to vitalism or anything like that!”) but simply that “the manner in which life constructs itself must be dealing with some other principle which we’ve failed to identify.” Deeply mysterious or not, sitting in his draughty study at the top of St John’s Great Gate, Conway Morris is amused by the suggestion that he enjoys controversy. “Well, to a certain extent I do,” he says. “I’ve not always liked being misrepresented, but then you could say I simply haven’t explained myself well enough. But what the Burgess Shale taught me was first of all how enjoyable science is, what fun it is; but also how one could be so fabulously wrong, so gloriously wrong.” The Burgess Shale Formation in Canada is one of the world’s richest fossil fields, famous for the exceptional preservation of the soft parts of the fossils it contains, and at 505 million years old, one of the earliest fossil beds of its kind. It is also famous for being the site where two young graduate students, Simon Conway Morris and Derek Briggs, with their supervisor Harry Whittington, overturned everything then believed about the fossil record. “It was great! It was wonderful. It was also slightly absurd because it was so surprising that people hadn’t quite twigged that these riches were there,” he says. “We were coming across things that looked so weird and ridiculous that I thought they must be new phyla. You know – it’s not a brachiopod, or an annelid or
a chordate; it must be something new.” To reflect this belief, they gave their new findings names such as Hallucigenia, which echoed the strange appearance of the fossils. But just as the three were being celebrated by the American evolutionary biologist and science writer Stephen Jay Gould in the book Wonderful Life, Conway Morris began to have doubts that this explosion of new phyla was really what the evidence suggested. “My reconstruction of Hallucigenia had one snag: it was upside down. It was not a new phyla at all,” he says. “And in hindsight, that taught me a lot – in particular, there was one specimen, very poorly preserved, and if I had only had my eyes open, I would never have made that mistake.” Perhaps this is why Conway Morris is so refreshingly relaxed about getting things wrong. “We all have dark nights, thinking, ‘this is all rubbish, I’m wasting my time’,” he says. “And as I’ve worked in this area of convergence for getting on 10 years now, obviously I’ve become convinced. But then other people did exactly the same thing trying to refute plate tectonics – and they were wrong.” Born in Carshalton, Surrey, Conway Morris says he was always obsessed by fossils. “The first fossil I found was in my garden in Wimbledon. It was a sea urchin in a little flint,” he says. “But the real start was when my mum gave me one of these little books for children where you had to tear out these big stamps of dinosaurs and stick them down in the right area. And something about that just triggered my imagination, I suppose, and made me determined to work on fossils.” After taking a First in Geology at Bristol University, Conway Morris wrote to Harry Whittington to see if he would take him on as a graduate student. “I came up for interview and Harry, who had already been put in charge of the Burgess Shale, said that Sidney Sussex had a studentship that had already been given to a chap called Derek Briggs, but that he would see if he could get some money for me, which fortunately he did, thank goodness.” Since then, Conway Morris has worked on fossils all over the world, and won prizes including the Walcott Medal. In 1996, he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. But his willingness to think the unthinkable – and if necessary, be proven wrong – remains undimmed. “I use libraries a lot, and if I get down a volume even from as recently as 10 years ago, nearly everything in it is now useless. It was wonderful at the time, and it got us to where we are now,” he says. Fairly uncontroversial – until he gets to the punch line. “I do sense that biology in particular is running into something of an impasse, especially when it comes to consciousness. We have a whole set of explanations, and I don’t think any of them work at all. Which may mean that these things are beyond our comprehension – we simply won’t know. “But I have a sort of sneaking sense that this is not true, and that means that the world around us is organised in a rather interesting fashion.” He lets the implication hang in the air and then smiles, gleeful at the idea of another opportunity to play the scientific game, and another opportunity to be wrong – or right.
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Graduation isn’t goodbye
1. Have your say
You may not be aware of it, but as far as Cambridge is concerned, we graduates still belong and matter, and will do all our lives. As alumni, we can take part in and make a difference to University life, and there are benefits and entitlements worth knowing about. Receiving CAM and the alumni e-bulletin is only the beginning. “There are more than 200,000 alumni in over 180 countries and a lot of you won’t necessarily know how to tap into the network, or what opportunities are available,” says Nathalie Walker (St John’s 1998), head of Cambridge’s Alumni Relations Office (CARO). “So the 14-strong CARO team is your gateway back to Cambridge, connecting alumni to one another and to the University.” Alumni tend to be aware of Collegiate entitlements, such as formal halls and College accommodation. But by maintaining contact with CARO, says Walker, “you open the doors to the whole University, beyond your subject and College. If you don’t know where to find the information you need, whether it’s your degree transcript or a CAMCard, start with CARO.”
Alumni views can make a solid difference in University affairs. Two recent cases included alumni opposing the proposed fees increase, and voicing disappointment at being unable to cast their vote for the Chancellor electronically. In both cases, alumni views were represented by CARO, and, in the case of the election, processes are currently under review. If you want to contact CARO with any views on the University, you can do so by telephone, email or in person. You can also use CARO as a way of sharing your expertise, like Olympic silver medallist John Pritchard (Robinson 1983), who advises the University on sports fundraising.
2. Stay in touch Each week, hundreds of alumni contact CARO by email or through the website with specific requests – both straightforward and complex. “On one occasion, two alumni from different Colleges hadn’t seen each other for more than 50 years, but we were able to reconnect them,” says alumni relations assistant Eloise Hayes (Newnham 2006).
Take six Are you making the most of all that CARO has to offer? Olivia Gordon explains how to make the most of alumni benefits. Illustration David Semple
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“Cambridge offers a special quality of education and experience,” says Laurence Smy (Selwyn 1961). “It teaches the value of pushing the frontiers of knowledge and of a society in which people are respected. These values are the most important in our world – and as alumni spread out and link back to Cambridge, so these values are reinforced, reawakened and re-energised. That’s the spirit of Cambridge.”
3. Email for life All alumni are entitled to a Cambridge email address for life through www.cantab.net – and around 60,000 of us use it. You can forward mail to it from another email account for free, or for a small charge you can access a full email account with customer service help and a large storage capacity. Donald Graft (King’s 1972) discovered cantab.net three years ago and it has been his main email account ever since. “The main benefit is that I’m not tied to my internet service provider,” he explains. “I could have that with Gmail, but the cantab.net domain is prestigious, and the reliability and support for the service are unmatched, in my experience.”
4. Tickle the little grey cells
5. CAMCard discounts
6. Network and socialise
It’s only after graduation that many of us fully appreciate the education offered at Cambridge. Happily, it’s never too late to return to the University and reconnect with current research. The annual Alumni Weekend isn’t just a chance to meet up with other former students; the lecture programme features top-level Cambridge academics, and you can also do things you wish you’d done as an undergraduate, such as going into the Astronomy Department and checking out the telescopes. CARO also organises lecture-based networking events for graduates and their guests (advertised in CAM, the e-bulletin and on the alumni website, www.alumni.cam .ac.uk). Recent events have included talks at Duxford and Bletchley on a code-breaking theme, and at London’s Cabinet War Rooms on Churchill and the second world war.
Every year, thousands of alumni return to Cambridge and if you’re planning a visit, get hold of a CAMCard to make the most of all that both town and gown have to offer. The CAMCard entitles you to free access to the Colleges for you and your guests as well as discounts from Heffers and the Cambridge University Press bookshop, and on punting, restaurants and hotels. Email in advance, or just pop in to CARO’s Quayside offices during working hours and they can issue you your Card – it takes just five minutes. You don’t even have to be in Cambridge: Heffers, CUP and Cambridge Wine Merchants all accept the CAMCard online.
Cambridge has a massive network of more than 400 alumni groups in over 100 countries, run by volunteers (to find or start one visit www.alumni.cam.ac.uk/networks). These bring together alumni from all over the world, with groups in locations from Afghanistan to Swaziland. Alumni in North America – currently numbering more than 14,900 – benefit from the work of Cambridge in America (www.cantab.org), which runs a wide programme of events and a thriving network of more than 50 University and College alumni groups. There are also groups for alumni with shared interests, ranging from Cambridge Societies’ Tours (www.camsoctours.org.uk), which organises group holidays, to the Cambridge Student Alumni Network (CamSAN), which brings together current graduate students and alumni. Entrepreneur Hanadi Jabado (Sidney Sussex 1995) started the Cambridge Judge Business School London group for alumni with an interest in business. It meets for drinks, hosts seminars, and networks with alumni from other universities. “For me it was life saving,” says Jabado. “I’ve met like- minded people who are now friends, clients, colleagues and suppliers. London can be lonely, but these events lead to strong friendships, romances, jobs, flats, career advice...”
For more information about all of these benefits and services visit www.alumni.cam.ac.uk or contact the CARO office (contact details on page 9).
‘I’ve met like-minded people who are now friends, clients, colleagues and suppliers. London can be lonely, but these events lead to strong friendships, romances, jobs, flats, career advice...’
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Review Our contributors
Julian Allwood is a Reader in Engineering and a Fellow of Gonville and Caius.
Sarah Coakley is Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity and a Fellow of Murray Edwards.
Richard Wigmore is a distinguished musicologist, specialising in the Viennese Classical period and Lieder.
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University Matters PeterAgar Director of Development and Alumni Relations
Debate Dr Julian Allwood goes after the Questing Beast of energy policy
Books Sarah Coakley discusses Simone Weilâ€™s Waiting on God
Music Judith Weir, composer
Prize crossword Mind your Ps & Qs by Ifor
University Matters Philanthropy at Cambridge Peter Agar Director of Development and Alumni Relations Patrick Morgan
he 800th Anniversary Fundraising Campaign drew to a close last November, a year ahead of schedule, and at a total of £1.2bn (or US $2bn). Six hundred and fifty million benefited University institutions; £550m benefited the Colleges. These are big numbers. But while impressive (this is the first time that a European university has reached such a target), they are not an end in themselves. Rather, it is in the real business of the University – education, research and scholarship – where the philanthropy of alumni and others has true significance. A key area of focus, particularly since the introduction of higher fees for undergraduates, has been student support. Since 2006, the Cambridge Bursary Scheme has spent over £20m and has awarded over 10,000 means-tested bursaries, enabling Cambridge to continue to offer one of the most generous support packages in the UK, despite the growing numbers of eligible students. Twenty per cent of that fund has come from donations. Similarly, almost £30m has been given for postgraduate support both to the University and the Colleges but also through the Cambridge Overseas Trust. The educational experience at Cambridge is also about what happens outside the Tripos. Donors have enabled the ADC Theatre to be refurbished and many individual donations have supported sport at both the College and University levels. As I look ahead I believe that this particular focus on the wider educational experience will become even more important; in drama, in sport (where we want to realise the full vision for a major new sports centre for the whole University) and in music, for example. The Campaign has also made a significant difference to the quality and diversity of our academic activities: 34 professorships have been endowed and a further £230m has supported new posts and innovative programmes in areas as diverse as trophoblast research, Islamic studies, governance and human rights, and stem cell biology and medicine. Without the support and vision of donors many of these programmes would not exist. State of the art facilities, whether it is the new English faculty or the Li Ka Shing Centre
‘It is in the real business of the University – education, research and scholarship – where the philanthropy of alumni and others has true significance.’ (cancer research), are key if outstanding students and academics are to have an environment in which they can become the very best that they can be. Over the period of the Campaign there have also been some notable additions to Cambridge’s architectural heritage in the Colleges. I think, for example, of the new Corpus library (complete with its extraordinary clock); the Hawking Building at Caius; Ann’s Court at Selwyn. We should all be hugely grateful to all our philanthropists for enabling our University to maintain its edge of excellence and its collegiate strengths. Philanthropy is not just about large gifts. Alumni often underestimate the
significance of their own regular giving, yet combined with increasing levels of participation, the modest standing order can make a huge difference. Our best performing College annual funds have around 20% participation rate. Last year that translated into an income for one College of almost £1m, an important contribution to meeting the gap between the £9,000 fee income and the £17,100 true cost of a collegiate education. And over the period of the Campaign more than 45,000 alumni have given at least once (about 22% of the known alumni base). All of you who have been kind enough to give – whether financially or in terms of expertise, time or advocacy – are continuing a tradition of philanthropy at Cambridge that starts with the first recorded gift, in 1290, of 100 marks for the use of poor scholars and continues down the centuries. I think of Pepys, who was both a recipient of a much-needed bursary and in later years repaid that generosity by becoming a benefactor; of Cavendish whose vision created the laboratory that bears his name and which has provided a home to 28 Nobel Laureates as well as countless physics students; and of the Rockefeller Foundation without whose generosity the current University Library wouldn’t exist – not to mention the many alumni who have given to their Colleges, to the University or to their departments or student societies. I know from my conversations with my fellow alumni that many remain sceptical or even resentful about approaches from collegiate Cambridge for their support. In CAM 60 I described my own conversion from sceptic to evangelist. I won’t repeat those arguments here but simply say that when you see and experience the impact that donorfunded investments make to the life and contribution of this great institution it is hard to resist the call for support. The need for fundraising has not disappeared with the completion of the 800th Campaign. We are enormously grateful to those who have supported this Campaign and hope that many more will want to join us as we design and launch the next one. Cambridge was built on philanthropy – and philanthropy is key to its future.
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Debate: The Questing Beast of energy policy Words Dr Julian Allwood Illustration Smith/Tim Elcock
Deforestation/ agriculture/ decay, 36%
Energy/ process CO2 emissions, 64%
Global GHG Emissions 44 GtCO 2
• Energy/ Process Emissions 28 GtCO 2
• Industry 35% Plastic 4%
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and the market will find solutions”? Two problems with that – we proved in Copenhagen in 2009 that we’re not all going to agree a global price for carbon, and if we’re short of physical options, as we know is the case for the energy-intensive industries, we can’t use less, regardless of the incentives. If we could bring their gaze back to earth, we could try to point the economists towards some more promising options: product standards, government procurement, possibly even border controls. But for now, their howling blocks their hearing. And the men of business stuck in the thicket of reality? They’re absolutely right: fuel-efficient cars are lightweight, but we – their customers – want cars with more and more features, so each year our cars become heavier. “I’m so concerned about climate change – but I just can’t do without a motorised in-seat back massage.” We ramp up our energy consumption because it lets us fulfil ideas of fun or status or convenience; and so far, as consumers, we’ve given our suppliers no indication that we want to cut down. The politicians? We voters enjoy talking about the environment, but collectively we haven’t shown much interest in change. Opinion poll-itics follows, but it doesn’t lead. Anyway, protecting our bankers is much more important. There aren’t any magic technologies, so we have to face facts. As we stand, an 80% cut in emissions means an 80% cut in energy use and future supplies from renewable sources can only reduce this target by a small fraction. For the three main areas in which we use energy, this target means (1) travel 80% fewer miles than we do today; (2) turn on the heating for 12 minutes of each hour of current use; (3) reduce our purchasing of new materials – such as offices, houses, roads, cars, furniture, clothing and paper – to a fifth. With known technologies (passive buildings, light-weight vehicles) we could greatly soften the first two requirements, but we can’t do much to ease the third. But the good news is that we can live perfectly well while requiring much less new material. We can make lighter products, keep them for longer, and use them more intensively. We can make less scrap in production, and we can re-use components from old products.
A quarter of industrial emissions arise from making steel, and the process is already exceptionally efficient. So an 80% cut in emissions from making steel means using less steel. Here we demonstrate how to get to 20% of current ‘embodied emissions’ for a steel framed office block in five cumulative steps.
f we really want to address the risk of serious harm from climate change, we need a hunt over the whole energy landscape, so we might as well set off with our faces to the sun. “This way!” cry the inventors. “The sun gives us a hundred times what we need and we will harness it!” “Tally Ho!” call the economists. “Set the right incentive and the solutions will follow!” But look out for those thorns. “We’re caught in the thicket of reality – we can’t move!” cry the men of business. “You say you want us to go forwards,” moan the politicians stuck in their peaty bog, “but if it costs anything, you stop us!” And round and round we go. What we find acceptable today won’t help us reach the emissions targets we’ve set into law. What would make enough difference, we wouldn’t accept. Or as King Pellinore, fabled in Arthurian legend for his endless hunt of the Questing Beast, might put it: “Fifteen years since Kyoto and never a sight of the blessed thing. Hey ho.” Can we harness energy from the sun? Yes – we’ve been doing so since time began, but every option for generating electricity from the sun requires a huge commitment of land. If we grew biofuels on the whole surface of the UK, we could supply only a third of our energy needs. And harnessing the sun requires energy-intensive materials: the total output of all photovoltaic cells yet made is probably less than the energy used to make them all. Can we use energy more efficiently? Yes, for buildings and transport: there are 9,000 passive houses – houses which require little energy for space heating or cooling –in northern Europe, and Volkswagen has a credible concept car offering 200mpg; but No for industry. Nearly two thirds of all energy used in industry is needed to make just five key materials: steel, cement, plastic, paper and aluminium. These industries pay heavily for energy, so have always been motivated to improve their efficiency, and now they’re very near the limit. Regardless of how inventive we are, there aren’t any silver-bullet solutions to energy provision or industrial energy use. What about the economists howling to the moon: “Price the carbon emissions correctly
Sustainable steel with both eyes open
Industrial Carbon Emissions 10 GtCO 2
• Steel 25%
• Other 45%
‘Let’s forget about inventing miracle energy supplies, or trying to bury the problem with unfeasibly expensive carbon storage schemes. For the government, standards are the key weapon.’
reduction to 75% of current emissions
We use more steel than we need because contractors exceed safety requirements, and use fewer, bigger beams. We’d use less if we only placed metal where it was needed.
reduction to 70% of current emissions
Steel is cut to shape before use giving about 10% scrap, but with new casting and forming techniques we could avoid this waste.
reduction to 50% of current emissions
We could potentially re-use at least half the steel in old buildings and avoid the high energy-cost of recycling, if we chose deconstruction over demolition.
reduction to 25% of current emissions
Office buildings built today could easily last for 100 years, but on average we replace them after 40. Designs with inbuilt flexibility would allow us to reconfigure old buildings for new uses.
And we can do it without much loss of service, and we don’t need a recession either. The means to bring this about? Let’s forget about inventing miracle energy supplies, or trying to bury the problem with unfeasibly expensive carbon storage schemes. For the government, standards are the key weapon. Building standards are moving in the right direction to support buildings that need little energy in use. Transport policy, which currently promotes a shift to plug-in electric cars (thus increasing emissions) should instead focus on reducing average vehicle mass and increasing occupancy. Product and building standards that promote longer-life, lighter-weight products could reduce our dependency on new material production. For businesses and consumers together, we can develop, promote and support brand values associated with low energy use and longer-lasting embodied energy. For individuals, we need a small social revolution, and at present we’re particularly short of pioneers who can demonstrate that they, at least, are unafraid of the change. In the end, the answer is neither so well hidden, nor so frightening; but if we have any intention to overtake King Pellinore and actually find the beast of a sensible future energy policy, we should at least stop looking in places where we know it can’t be hiding. Cutting emissions means cutting energy use: travel less, heat less and make less.
More intensive use
reduction to 15% of current emissions
Most offices are empty for 120 hours each week – so if we had to, we could also use them for recreation or we could live in them.
Julian Allwood is a Reader in Engineering, and a Fellow of Gonville and Caius. Together with engineer Jonathan Cullen (Fellow of Fitzwilliam), he has just published Sustainable Materials: With Both Eyes Open. www.withbotheyesopen.com.
CAM 65 41
Books Sarah Coakley discusses Waiting on God Words Stephen Wilson Steve Bond
ith its pale blue cover and distinctive typography, the 1959 Fontana edition of Waiting on God by Simone Weil is a magpie find. “I bought it at a church bookstall, All Saints’ Blackheath in London, aged 16,” says Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity, Sarah Coakley. “It cost three and sixpence and I wrote my name – I was Sarah Furber – inside in my adolescent italic hand.” This slim volume of essays made an immediate impact on the then A-level student in Classics. “The first essay I turned to, probably her most famous, is on the ‘right use’ of school studies, and in it she makes two really breathtaking moves.” Weil begins by saying that the key to a Christian approach to study is the realisation that prayer consists of attention. The undertaking of any study at school is therefore a training in the contemplative capacity; study is training you for God. “But then she says that even a Latin prose done wrong may be of great service one day, providing you devote the right kind of attention to it, because it can make you better able to give ‘someone in affliction exactly the help required to save him’,” says Coakley. “At the time, I had begun to feel that what we were doing in these prose exercises was irksome, even pointless, so for someone to suggest that there was something in such study that could lead you to prayer and to God, and from there to help someone else, was just amazing.” But relief that Latin translation wasn’t entirely pointless wasn’t the only reason for Weil’s impact, as Coakley explains. “It was definitely the right moment to discover her. I had conceived a secret desire to be a theologian while being prepared for confirmation. Although the confirmation classes were unimaginative, I could tell that the content of the question being asked was completely captivating,” she says.
‘The year changed my life. Because when you are working with people in a situation of grave distress and despair it is the quality of your attention which is what ministry is about.’
“But as I looked round for models of women theologians, there literally weren’t any. So along with Evelyn Underhill, and in a completely different mode, Dorothy Sayers, Simone Weil was a true discovery.” Weil was a philosopher, trade unionist and Christian mystic. She was also an extremely troubled spirit. “But I wouldn’t call her mad,” says Coakley. “She might today have been called bipolar. She had a terrible self-loathing, she was anorexic, she was Jewish but antisemitic. Reading her now, I am simultaneously
electrified but also appalled – she is an inverse paragon of everything you want to hold up as a model for women’s flourishing.” Happily, the centrality of self-hatred in Weil’s thinking passed the young Coakley by. “I intuitively got that this was a voice of immense originality and I was captivated by it because her animating intellectual force was Plato – that immense erotic longing for God and for truth was what interested me.” Nonetheless, it was Weil’s writing on affliction that made Waiting on God a lifechanging book, rather than a teenage intellectual fling. In 2010, while Mallinckrodt Professor of Divinity at Harvard, Coakley began training for the priesthood (something she admits was considered “very peculiar” by her academic colleagues). In preparation, she spent a year with people “in intense poverty and pain” – teaching silent prayer to young black men in a jail in Boston, and working with patients in a psychiatric ward and with people suffering with acute psychotic Alzheimer’s. “The year changed my life overall and especially my life as a don,” she says. “And during that time I came back with new understanding to Simone Weil and her remarks about attention, study and affliction. Because when you are working with people who can no longer speak, as is often the case with advanced Alzheimer’s, or in a situation of very grave distress and despair in jail, it is the quality of your attention which is what ministry is about. Oddly, this also changes you as a philosophical writer and thinker yourself. “And while Weil remains a deeply paradoxical role model, and I find her in some ways repulsive but alluring and brilliant in others, I realised then that there must have been something sown when I was 16 that had come to fruition.”
God, Sexuality and the Self: An Essay ‘On the Trinity’, by Sarah Coakley will be published by Cambridge University Press in late 2012. She will give the Gifford Lectures in Aberdeen in April 2012 on Evolution, Cooperation and God.
CAM 65 43
Judith Weir on CD Blond Eckbert NMC Ancora NMCD106 The Consolations of Scholarship; King Harald’s Saga; Piano Concerto, etc Albany TROY803
Music Judith Weir
Choral Music (Choir of Gonville & Caius) Delphian DCD 34095
Composer Judith Weir discusses her music and the significance of Fauré’s Requiem.
CAMCard holders receive a 10% discount on all CD purchases at Heffers Sound in Trinity Street, Cambridge.
Words Richard Wigmore Steve Pyke/Getty Images
udith Weir’s (King’s 1973), inventive, impeccably crafted music – tuneful, always lucid, often witty – has a knack of making traditional techniques, from medieval plainchant to lushly romantic harmonies, sound newly minted. Weir seeks to write music that “works”, tailoring each piece precisely to given forces. And though there are plenty of musical challenges en route, effectiveness and singability are the watchwords on a new disc from Gonville and Caius Choir of choral works written over a 25-year span. These range from ‘little tree’ – three simple yet haunting settings of ee cummings composed for a New York youth choir with marimba – via ‘Madrigal’, a riotous party piece for the BBC Singers, to works commissioned by Cambridge choirs. She says: “I’ve always found it creatively interesting to discover what’s special about different choirs and go with that, rather than impose something on them that might be contrary to what they can do. Even the Cambridge chapel choirs are hugely different, as are the acoustics of their buildings.” One of the pieces on the disc is a carol written for King’s choir in 1985, ‘Illuminare, Jerusalem’, to a lusty medieval Scottish text. “The carol has the merest hint of organ shading, using the lowest stop of the King’s chapel organ, which I knew would produce an atmospheric trembling, without actually being audible. Also, the lines I wrote for the King’s trebles are higher than I would ever write for a women’s choir – though the Caius women cope marvellously with the high tessitura.” Though there is never any question of pastiche – Weir’s voice is far too individual for that – various audible influences colour the works on the disc. In ‘Ettrick Banks’, for solo organ, aqueous textures inspired by Debussy’s ‘Reflets dans l’eau’ and Liszt’s ‘Les jeux d’eau à la Villa d’Este’ mingle with half-echoes of a traditional Scottish air. ‘Psalm 148’, with its boldly evocative obbligato trombone, written for the Caius choir as part of the Cambridge 800th anniversary celebrations, throws medieval modality, gospel music and, briefly, Mendelssohnian harmonies into the melting pot, with brilliantly original results. She says: “It’s dedicated to Robin Holloway, who inspired
‘The Requiem shows you can make a big intense statement without shouting your head off. I love its purity and privacy.’
me and so many other Cambridge musicians. I suppose I was half-thinking of Robin’s excavations of 19th-century music. As you fly through the piece in six minutes, you’re taken on a tour of the whole choral tradition!” For many listeners, the earliest and most famous work on the disc, the anthem ‘Ascending into Heaven’, evokes the pungent and mystical sonorities of Olivier Messiaen, whose Tanglewood summer course Weir attended while an undergraduate. “It’s understandable that many people hear a Messiaen connection. But for me the anthem is closer to Gabriel Fauré, and especially his Requiem, a work that’s especially important to me. “I remember hearing my mother play the viola in an amateur performance – it’s a
great piece for the violas! Then I bought the Cluytens recording with De Los Angeles and Fischer-Dieskau. But the Requiem’s gentle, veiled beauty is best expressed in Fauré’s chamber version” – increasingly familiar since John Rutter discovered the composer’s manuscript in the 1980s. Fauré’s pupil Nadia Boulanger described the Requiem as “a sober and somewhat severe expression of grief: no disquiet or agitation disturbs its profound meditation, no doubt tarnishes its unassailable faith, its quiet confidence, its tender and peaceful expectation”. As Weir puts it: “Its modal-influenced melodic and harmonic style is unique in the late 19th century. Even its dynamic range is relatively narrow. It shows you can make a big, intense statement without shouting your head off. I love its purity and privacy – 19th-century Requiems can be bombastic, even, in some performances, the Verdi, which I love. “My favourite Fauréan moment is in the last movement, at the mention of Jerusalem. Because ‘Ascending into Heaven’ is about Sion – Jerusalem – I was unconsciously inspired by Fauré’s beautiful musical picture of that moment, the gorgeous harmonic shading. If any of my music pays a distant tribute to Fauré, it’s here!” CAM 65 45
Sport Chris Haar, Basketball Words Becky Allen
hen PE teacher James Naismith was tasked with finding an “athletic distraction” for a rowdy class of boys during a cold, dark, New England winter, he approached the problem with considerable thought. Seeking something that could be played indoors without special equipment, that was easy to learn, and above all required skill as well fitness, Naismith invented a sport in 1891 that has since become one of the most widely-played in the world. These elements – in particular the marriage of skill and strength – continue to attract players such as Chris Haar, captain of Cambridge University Basketball Club, to the
game. “I think basketball is the ideal sport,” he says. “It’s very physical, but at the same time you have to be technical in the way you understand the game, and you have to have some technical ability with the ball.” At 6ft 2in, Chris is not the kind of player that basketball is most famous for. “There are two kinds of players. One is the purely athletic, the kind that’s 7ft tall and gets all the TV coverage,” he says. “The other type of player is the one who has the balanced skill set – physically very able, but also with a good understanding of the game; the guy who holds the team together and who’s the brain of the game.”
Half Czech and half German, Chris owes his love of basketball to a grandmother who lived in Florida. “As a kid I was exposed to the sport during visits to America to see her. There, it’s a big thing,” he says. Here, too, the men’s game is growing. Together with the Blues and Lions – the University’s second team – the 24 College teams mean there are some 265 basketball players regularly competing at Cambridge. And training is arduous. As well as matches on Wednesdays, there is training on Saturdays and Sundays, topped up with shooting practice twice a week and a circuits session. Putting in the hours is vital if they’re to stand a chance in the Varsity match against Oxford. “We’ve struggled lately, to tell the truth,” Chris admits. “The last two matches I played in we lost, and we lost a couple before then, too.” But with Oxford languishing in the middle of the premier division, and Cambridge at the top of the first division, he fancies their chances: “We’re on track to finish second in our league, so it could be quite a close game this year. That’s what I hope for.” As well as the competition and training, which provide a welcome break from his PhD research, Chris loves the social side of basketball at Cambridge, and in particular its internationalism. “Getting involved is crucial for your time in Cambridge, and clubs and societies are a great way of getting to know people,” he says. “The basketball team is always international. As well as English players, this year’s Blues squad has Welsh, German, Austrian, American and Lithuanian members, and our coach, Nebojša Radic, is Serbian.” The sport also opens up opportunities for undergraduates and graduates to mix, something Chris sees as benefiting both. “I’m a hostel keeper at Darwin, so undergraduates can be quite formal with me; but in basketball we mingle easily, which is nice. It’s good for undergraduates to see that you can be an excellent student without being exclusively academically minded. That’s what’s lovely – the international aspect and postgrad-undergrad mix, which I’m sure is mutually beneficial.” Whatever his future holds, it will include basketball. “There’s a social, summer league here set up by a Post-doc for Blues alumni, Post-docs and lecturers, and I’ve played with them a couple of times. That’s where I see myself in future, because the love for the game doesn’t stop. Watching basketball on TV isn’t enough, so I’ll definitely continue playing.”
CAM 65 47
CAM 65 Prize Crossword
Mind your Ps & Qs by Ifor
All entries to be received by 11 May 2012. Send completed crosswords: • by post to CAM 65 Prize Crossword, CARO, 1 Quayside, Bridge Street, Cambridge CB5 8AB • by email to firstname.lastname@example.org • or enter online at www.alumni.cam.ac.uk/news/cam
The first correct entrant drawn will win a copy of The Cambridge Book of Days, a miscellany of Cambridge connections through the year by Rosemary Zanders (The History Press, £9.99), and £35 to spend on CUP publications. Two runners-up will also receive £35 to spend on C U P publications. Solution and winners will be printed in CAM 66 and posted online on 16 May at www.alumni.cam.ac.uk/news/cam
ACROSS 1 Sensible sorts of questions articulated … (9) 11 ... found no trace, conversely (7, two words) 12 Greetings from almost all of Hawaii’s leading characters (5) 13 Aftermath of success set in stone (6) 14 In Las Vegas enjoy oneself primarily before everything (6) 15 Phone briefly with expression of surprise about objection (4) 16 Turn year to minutes (4) 17 Disinfectant destroyed lice on evacuee’s head (7) 18 Hidden weapons specialist’s informed about submarine destroyer (5 hyphenated) 19 Stop violation of beheaded monarch (6) 22 Memory block putting pressure on mature years (4) 24 Chewed leaves are for one in pain (4) 25 Try the article enclosed (6) 27 Minute left before title’s lost (5) 29 Familiar address for American jumping bail inside foreign city (7) 31 Former captain’s rarely unwell (4) 32 Organised workers’ backing for local fellow held in contempt (4) 35 Weed in ditch interrupting flowing water (6) 37 Language is built up in regular stages (6) 38 Play again, delete from frame (5) 39 Thread of inside information appearing without a phone call (7) 40 Look for men’s backing to follow revolutionary group of Americans (9)
Solution to CAM 64 Crossword King’s Alumnus by Schadenfreude Winner: Richard Holmes (Queens’ 1980) Runners-up: John Widger (St John’s 1963) and Chris De Boer (Trinity 1963).
48 CAM 65
A D R O M R H U M A N E 16
A E R O S T A T A M E B O S
ll clues are normal, but several answers having something in common must be replaced appropriately before entry. Elsewhere the grid contains eight vacant cells, four of which must be filled by moving letters from other cells (appropriately positioned relative to one corner of the grid) in thematic fashion. Numbers in brackets give the space
J A N D A L A E A S Y J E T
available for entry. A thematic phrase (5, 4), which could also be thought of as referring to the replacements, must be written underneath the grid. Ignoring vacant cells, initial and final grids consist entirely of real words; apart from a few proper names and one plural form (in OED) all are in Chambers (2008), which is recommended.
DOWN 2 Playing of African forces out instrument (7) 3 Bird of war missing one afternoon (5) 4 Girl’s last to leave nest, traditionally (4) 5 Stars go after leading parts in artists’ repertoire (4) 6 Play small girl on computer (7) 7 Noise by a ram occasionally? (3) 8 Hancock’s upset after dropping his last cigar (7) 9 Middle of Gandhi torso dressed—in this? (5) 10 Stick around before a meal for savoury snack (6) 11 Herbs acting to eliminate upset (5) 15 Ruin company’s endorsement (5) 18 Start to quote film originally translated for a Gaelic speaker (5 hyphenated) 20 Drivers’ group reflected charge for capacity of vehicle (7) 21 Lights enclosed here, transforming big race (7) 23 Upset for example about apparent failure to meet (7) 24 Tool supports left inside (6) 26 Regret for times past seizing old libertine (4) 28 Coarse cigarettes? Switch to substitute absorbing collection of tars (5) 30 Copy answer to school exercise … (5) 33 … right after exercise? Right after lengthy exercise (4) 34 American press agent reported criticism (4) 36 The crooked letter (3).
A D D O N U S E C T O R R T
L C 25
S L A H C E D E 27
E C E A E O N A N G R E S E 30
N E R V E S A G U E O S L A T
S R O W R E L U C
A T H O S A C R A S H P D S
G R O W H L O S T P S E G O 46
E T P A 51
D L E E 52
N A M A S T E N A N
C R E A T E
N N E R 54
S T E R
C U T I
Y A N K S C R E S E A L E D
John Graham, a King's College alumnus who was ninety earlier this year, is a renowned crossword setter using the pseudonyms ARAUCARIA and CINEPHILE, these being a synonym and anagram of CHILE PINE, respectively. The two appearances of CHILE PINE in the grid were to be replaced by these pseudonyms. Letters omitted from clues spelt out pairs of words synonymous with or examples of MONKEY and PUZZLE, MONKEY PUZZLE being synonymous with CHILE PINE. These were BANDAR/CRUX, SAI/PROBLEM, MAGOT/REBUS, TITI/BEMUSE, DOUC/RIDDLE. Letters removed from across answers before jumbling for grid entry spelt out NONAGENARIAN:— 19 CRESTON, 21 EOLIC, 22 SNAIL, 24 CADEE, 28 EGGERS, 38 ASPER, 41 WRONG, 43 SALTO, 45 SOGER, 51 ANIMATES, 55 ACERATE, 56 LISTENER.