CHURCHILL COLLEGE NEWSLETTER
Premier Issue August 2001
From the Master
A Step Back in Time The Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College Newsletter August 2001
From school reports and childhood letters, to some of the most momentous political speeches of all time, the Churchill Archives Centre is a treasure trove of historical material from the extraordinary life of Sir Winston Churchill. It is also home to the personal papers of leading politicians, diplomats, military men and eminent scientists of the twentieth century, including those of the first Master, Sir John Cockcroft. Sir Winston Churchill was at the heart of national affairs for most of his life and is, to many people, synonymous with leadership and a symbol of Britain in its finest hour. Churchill College is the National and Commonwealth memorial to Sir Winston and the Archives Centre was built to house his priceless collection of papers, thanks largely to the generosity of distinguished Americans. The centre was opened in 1974, but the papers remained in private ownership until April 1995, when they were bought with Heritage Lottery funding, guaranteeing their preservation for the nation’s benefit. Today the centre holds over 570 collections of private papers, filling almost 25,000 acid-free boxes in the fire and flood resistant strongroom. Every paper is meticulously catalogued and documents are microfilmed to reduce wear and tear. Records are now being computerised and the centre is exhibiting more information electronically on the archive’s website. The strong room is kitted out with an impressive filing system, stacked from floor to ceiling with boxes to house this vast wealth of historical information. To make the most of the available space, the shelves are lined up like dominoes and mounted on a ‘windable track’ that allows only one small gap between the shelves at any one time. But filing space is getting scarce as every available nook and cranny of this giant filing cabinet is consumed by historical collections. A highly successful campaign, launched in 1999, has raised over £4.6 million for an extension, securing the centre’s future as a leading repository for documents of national importance. Visitors flock to the centre from all over the world and researchers range from academics and those with a personal interest in Churchill, to children writing school assignments. In 1997, Margaret Thatcher deposited her personal papers with the centre. These papers provide an incomparable insight into the past, including personal messages from world leaders such as President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. They document many momentous occasions particularly the end of the Cold War. Her former sparring partner, Neil Kinnock, an admirer of Churchill, has also provided his papers. On 19 July 2001, Sir Denis Thatcher presided at a turfcutting ceremony for the extension. The new purpose-built wing
will accommodate the Thatcher papers and will be opened by Baroness Thatcher in 2002. Andrew Riley, the archivist charged with administering the Thatcher papers commented, “The archives centre is now an international centre for research into the modern era. The new building will meet the highest professional standards and ensure that this material is protected and preserved for the benefit of future generations.” The archives centre will continue collecting, conserving and cataloguing new material and is committed to disseminating the knowledge to a wide audience. Initial funding from the National lottery supported a five-year programme of exhibitions, national tours and an educational outreach programme, bringing British history into the lives of younger generations around the UK. Building on this momentum, the centre is planning to take the USA by storm with a touring exhibition in 2003. Archivist Allen Packwood said, “Churchill Archives Centre is working hard to build on its wide network of American friends and contacts. Having already lent material to displays at the George Bush Library in Texas, and the Newseum in Arlington, Virginia, the Centre is now keen to cross the Atlantic with a major display drawn from the papers of Sir Winston Churchill. It is hoped that Churchill’s notes for his famous speeches and his correspondence with Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower, will form the centrepiece of this exciting new exhibition. A major venue in Washington DC has expressed strong interest, and a date of 2003 seems likely. In the meantime the centre remains keen to host American visitors and is actively working with the Møller centre on a residential course run by Elderhostel on The Modern Era.” As Churchill said, “History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes.” The Churchill Archives Centre is guarding against this scenario, ensuring that key historical records do not get lost forever, as memories in the annals of time, but that they are preserved as a national treasure for all to enjoy. The Archives Centre is open to all by appointment and provides an exceptional insight into the history of the 20th Century. Keen to cultivate its links with education and young people, the centre is now a valued source of material for the National Curriculum and historical assignments. School parties are regular visitors to the centre and the website www.churchill.nls.ac.uk provides a wealth of educational material. More details are available at www.chu.cam.ac.uk/archives/ and to book an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01223 336087.
Publisher Cockcroft Communications for Churchill College, Cambridge email@example.com Editor Claire Cockcroft Sub Editor Mike Siggins
We never close. The College is, more than ever, a hive of activity. Let me pick out some recent points. Exam results, in particular first year results, were sharply better this year. This is not just the old man banging on. We have played below our strength in recent years, but now, fingers crossed, may be heading back to the excellent position that we occupied historically in these matters. This is important. The college was designed to innovate and deliver excellence. We have invested heavily in teaching resource and strong admissions policies in the last few years and it is highly encouraging to see this year's results. We are closely involved in ensuring the best students are able to attend Churchill, rich or poor, and we are visiting many state and private schools with this message. The Fellowship continues to bring great acclaim to the College. Prizes, promotions, accolades are all part of the scene. It is no surprise to switch on the Radio 4 Today programme and hear some present or recent Fellow speaking crisply about a global issue. We try to make our impact on national educational policy, as we welcome a broad range of young students here, all of whom quickly find their niche. On the cultural front Churchill is as active as ever. Music of all kinds flourishes. The College choir fears nothing and last year saw the mounting of a major Nigerian opera. The Michaelmas Term will see something arguably even more ambitious — a post Vienna School opera on engineering! The John Kinsella and Tracy Ryan Poetry Prize based here has made a real impact in Cambridge. The Fitzwilliam Museum will lend us further modern sculptures during their closedown. We have Warhols in the Fellows' Dining Room. Churchill's traditional strength in sport is maintained. We had a pretty good year, all things considered, on the river — and certainly at the dining table afterwards. We won tennis Cuppers and again put up strong teams for the Chariots of Fire charity race. I recently witnessed an extremely amusing cricket match between Fellows and the MCR. We have played a particular active role in promoting the Japan 2001 festival in Cambridge — a sculpture show, an historic UK / Japanese photographic exhibition, a visit already by the Old Boys' Chorus of Waseda University, and concerts yet to come, by a youth orchestra from Tokyo and, in December, a visit by the London Mozart players with a Japanese conductor. Looking ahead we are building an extension to the Archives Centre, following the acquisition of the Thatcher Papers and a number of other top quality collections. We are about to build new graduate accommodation for which we still seek a sponsor. We are about to modernise the College kitchens. These manoeuvres inflict some present misery on the residents but are, literally, building blocks for the future of the College. Talking of which, nothing is more important than our relationship with you, the Alumni. It is widely agreed that College based teaching brings something special to the British intellectual scene. It is clearly one reason why we get and welcome so many applications, at all levels, and from overseas. The costs of excellence are no longer offset by public provision. If we are to flourish in future, as we are now, we shall need all your ideas, interest and hopefully support. Please think about the areas in which you might like to help. But meanwhile, enjoy this newsletter and give us your feedback. Please keep in touch and visit us regularly. Sir John Boyd
Feature Writer Claire Cockcroft Design & Layout Mike Siggins www.aethereal.com Printing University Printing Services Cambridge University Press Contact Churchill College Storey’s Way Cambridge CB3 0DS United Kingdom T: 01223 336197 F: 01223 336177 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.chu.cam.ac.uk
Picture Credits David Abensour, Allsport, Benetton F1, Lowri Blake, BP, BP Institute, Channel 4, Cambridge University, Churchill Archives Centre, Bill Prentice, Scott Polar Research Institute, Unilever Centre
Contents Page Page Page Page Page
2 3 4 5 6
A Step Back in Time Editorial Endurance Life in the Fast Lane Celebrating Science and Technology: Chemistry Comes of Age Embracing Entrepreneurship Fuelling Innovation Page 7 Hitting the High Notes Page 8 Broadening Horizons Developing Links Notable Events Building Bridges Coming Back to Churchill Events
I was delighted to be asked to produce the first edition of the Churchill Newsletter. This new venture intends to be focused on the future, reporting on the leading roles members, past and present, are playing in all walks of life. It is designed to bring together members, proud of their unique heritage, and encourage renewed interest in college life through music, the arts, science and technology. I soon discovered that Churchill has an impressive number of alumni in prestigious positions and exciting careers, from science and engineering to the arts and music. But, with only five weeks from getting the go-ahead to hitting our printing deadline, time was of the essence. Records of members were limited, so please do update them, but an interesting assortment of goodies soon materialised. Sir Winston Churchill has always been associated with leadership so the filming of Shackleton, documenting the Antarctic expedition of 1914 and starring Rick Warden (U91), was high on our agenda. The picture archive and museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute is a window into man’s attempts to conquer one of the far corners of the world. They kindly provided original photography from the expedition. Direct from the starting grid of the British Grand Prix, Mike Gascoyne (U82, G85) gives an insight into life in the fast lane and Lowri Blake (U76) is a musician with a difference. The Churchill Archives Centre is a unique historical treasure and college asset. Visiting them is an opportunity not to be missed. With the extension underway to house the Thatcher Papers, the Archives are strengthening their position as one of the most important resources of twentieth century history in the country. It is thanks to the generous support of benefactors that the extension is no longer a dream. And also to Baroness Thatcher, who has not only given her personal papers of considerable historical significance, but also provided significant financial support to another Oxbridge project. I look forward to the day when this remarkable figure of our time will receive the recognition she deserves from the institutions she supports. Finally, next time you are in Cambridge don’t forget to visit the museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute and the Archives Centre. Claire Cockcroft
Endurance From early appearances in Cambridge with Sacha Baron Cohen, alias Ali G, to recent adventures with Spielberg and Hanks, Rick Warden (U91) is sharing the spotlight with the brightest names in film. His latest venture, Shackleton, is a major two-part drama about the legendary British explorer. Written and directed by Charles Sturridge, the award-winning director of Longitude, and starring Kenneth Branagh, the scene is set for success. Warden was a prominent player in Cambridge acting circles, even squeezing in a memorable performance as a pantomime dame for the ‘Footlights’, and picked up the Guardian Award at the 1993 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He confesses to having spent more time on stage than studying, but before graduating he had been signed up by the influential acting agency, ICM. Film has always been his passion and having done, “his Bills, Ruth Rendalls and Dalziel and Pascoes,” not to mention regular stints on Harry Enfield and Chums, a flurry of film opportunities soon came his way. To his delight, he has been cast in several real-life historical dramas – “immensely satisfying for a history graduate.” In Band of Brothers, an epic 10-part World War II miniseries, he plays Lt. Harry Welsh. It follows the story of a unit of the US 101st Airborne division, from their training to parachuting into France on D-Day, liberation of concentration camps and the taking of Hitler’s mountain eyrie, Berchtesgarten. “This was a bit of a watershed for me, as I’ve never wanted to work for anyone as much as Spielberg. His passion for filmmaking is unparalleled. Essentially Spielberg took an executive director role on the project, having provided the blueprint for the saga with Saving Private Ryan. In the days following the D-Day landings, Welsh displayed some outrageous courage in forcing the Germans back. Although injured during the Battle of the Bulge, he ended up stealing Hitler’s silverware from the Eagle’s Nest in Berchtesgarten.” From one hero to another, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic expedition is one of remarkable courage, determination and leadership in the face of adversity, a testament to true heroism and endurance. Shackleton intended to lead the first expedition to complete a land crossing of the South Pole. His crew of 28 men and one cat left Southampton on The Endurance, after responding to Shackleton’s foreboding notice: “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success – Ernest Shackleton.” But The Endurance became trapped in the ice-floes of the Weddell Sea in January 1915. After being at the mercy of the icy elements and frozen fast for ten months, the crew finally had to
Life in the Fast Lane
Rick Warden (U91)
abandon ship when it was crushed by the pack ice. Stranded on the ice-floes, with meagre supplies of food and no chance of rescue, they dragged their lifeboats across the seemingly endless icy wastes, reaching the ocean six months later. After a terrifying voyage in three lifeboats, they reached the remote and desolate Elephant Island. Realising waiting was futile, six men, including John Vincent whom Warden portrays, set off on a 650 mile journey to South Georgia, across the most treacherous part of the freezing South Pacific. Strong winds forced them onto the wrong side of the island. With little food or water, Shackleton and two of his crew tackled an unmapped mountainous glacier, using nails as crampons, the whaling station on the other side being their last chance of survival. “The real heart of the shoot was the four week Arctic adventure,” where they filmed the Antarctic scenes on the sea-ice off Eastern Greenland, explained Warden. “The experience was very intense. Like the crew of the Endurance, we soon realised how the Arctic or Antarctic weather shatters any notion of a plan within minutes. Fog comes in very thick, very fast, so scenes have to be grabbed where they can. If the cold conditions improve too rapidly, cracks appear on the floes and on a couple of occasions, we watched our set get split down the middle and literally start floating away. At the end of each day, we were back on board a floating ice fortress. There’s certainly nothing I’ve ever experienced like being in the lower hold of a gargantuan icebreaker as it smashes its way through a field of icebergs.” After two chilly months on the ice, the crew are shooting the really wet scenes at Shepperton Studios. There is a replica of the Endurance’s interior decks, that tilts at 45 degrees and gets flooded, and equipment to simulate the epic crossing to South Georgia. Director Charles Sturridge said, “This is a film about a man, his men and an incredible journey. Shackleton had to fight to get finance for the expedition and it was happening at a time when he was facing desperate problems in his private life. But in the Antarctic, against seemingly hopeless odds, he managed to keep his 28-man crew alive for two terrifying years. He is without doubt one of the great leaders of all time.” Band of Brothers will be shown on BBC1 in the autumn and Shackleton on Channel 4 in January 2002. The footsteps of these intrepid explorers have been retraced by three of the world’s top mountaineers for a new IMAX film, Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure, also featuring original photography and 35mm motion-picture footage from the 1914 expedition’s official photographer, Frank Hurley.
The Scott Polar Research Institute, SPRI, museum is an astounding record of man’s attempt to conquer the poles. Peter Wadhams (U66), Senior Research Fellow of Churchill College, 1983-93, was Director of the Institute from 1987 to 1992. Containing 80,000 images, the picture Library is a little known treasure of archival photography covering every aspect of the history of British exploration in the Arctic and Antarctic. The museum is open, Monday to Friday, 2.30pm to 4.00pm and is an eye-opener into the lives of the pioneering explorers. For information about the picture gallery visit www.spri.cam.ac.uk/lib/pictures.htm or contact Lucy Martin on 01223 336547.
With a global audience estimated at over one billion, Formula 1 captures the imagination like no other sport. Beyond fast cars and loud engines, Formula 1 has become a phenomenon because of its colour, glamour and lifestyle. But technology remains at the centre of the entire spectacle. Since joining the Formula 1 circuit in 1989, Mike Gascoyne (U82,G85) has oscillated between racing teams. In the early days, his speciality was aerodynamics, but during the second half of his career he has moved into general car design, finally taking pole position as Technical Director for Benetton-Renault in 2000. And that’s exactly where Benetton boss Flavio Briatore hopes to see next season’s car, accelerated through the field with Gascoyne’s knowhow, bringing Benetton back with a vengeance. After leaving Churchill in 1989 to write up his PhD in fluid mechanics, Mike joined helicopter manufacturer, Westland Systems. But before long he discovered another rather exciting application for his expertise in aerodynamics. “I started as an aerodynamicist at McLaren at a time when they had only a small team of aerodynamicists. I was the only aerodynamicist but I had a couple of guys working for me as draftsmen. I used to draw on a drawing board myself and run the aerodynamics programme. After two years I went to Tyrrell where I worked as a Chassis Dynamicist, basically on computer modelling of chassis dynamics, with the legendary Harvey Postlethwaite. Six months later I moved to Sauber as Head of Aerodynamics for two years and basically set up the windtunnel programme for them, totally from scratch. I returned to Tyrrell in 1993, as Deputy Technical Director, which was really my first job outside of aerodynamics. I was responsible for the whole design of the car, once again working under Postlethwaite as Technical Director.” When Tyrrell was closing in 1998, Gascoyne migrated to Jordan where, after a few months, he became Technical Director and responsible for the whole project. Last year he transferred to Benetton-Renault. This meant a six-month retreat from the track and a spell of gardening leave imposed by his previous team, Jordan and Honda, who are supplying Jordan’s engines this year. In the secretive world of Formula 1 technology, it is said by some that it is the Technical director who determines a team’s competitiveness more than any driver. Mike spent the time at his rural retreat in Oxford with his family, wife Janine and two children Joel and Connie, getting to grips with farming. “As Technical Director I am responsible for the design of the racing cars, including all research and development and aerodynamic functions. I oversee all the technical aspects of the company and am in charge of racing, testing and production. Now I technically direct and manage, as opposed to actual design. However, I still do spend a large portion of my day talking with the designers and working with them. I think, as a manager, that this is very important now in Formula 1. Ten years ago there might have been a small team of ten to fifteen people designing cars but today there are
Mike Gascoyne (U82, G85)
large teams of fifty or sixty people and they have to be managed. Lines of communication and organisations need to be drawn up and I think that is lacking in a lot of Formula 1 teams.” But despite landing the perfect job, he says he wasn’t originally fascinated by the world of Formula 1. “In fact, other than watching the Grand Prix on telly, I had no real desire to work in the industry. I had always been interested in engineering and aviation, which is why I did aerodynamics and fluids at college, but it was never my dream to work in Formula 1. Although I think as someone who is very competitive, plays a lot of sport, or rather used to play a lot of sport, loves engineering and aerodynamics, I have ended up in a dream job.” Every job has its moment, but in F1 it is on a slightly different scale. “I think ultimately, probably the most exciting moment in Formula 1, was the first time a car I had designed from scratch won a race — Magny Cours 1999 with the Jordan 199. We also won another race that year, finishing third in the championship. That is probably my greatest achievement in motor racing and my most exciting moment.” And he’s pretty nifty behind the wheel himself. He has finished on the podium several times in the BOSS Formula championships driving the Tyrrell 025 that he originally designed for Mika Salo and Jos Verstappen in the 1996 Formula 1 Championship. Life in the fast lane of Formula 1 gets pretty hectic, especially once the season’s racing is underway, but there is time away from the track to unwind. “I live on a farm and at the weekends, or whatever time off I get, you can normally find me in the tractor moving the muckheap or fixing the fences, which gets me outdoors. A bit of physical work is always good and is nothing to do with Formula 1,” he says. So how did he end up in the glamorous world of Formula 1? Apparently it all started with a yellowing advertisement in an old copy of Flight Magazine. “I started working at Westland Systems Assessment, where I was doing computer modelling, but actually wasn’t able to do much as I didn’t have security clearance. While I was reading an old copy of Flight, I saw an advert for an aerodynamicist at McLarens back in 1989. It was an old advert, four months old, but I wrote in anyway. They asked me to come straight for an interview and I got the job. I was the last person to apply but was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.” Now he’s certainly in the right place at the right time as far as Benetton are concerned. There are mountains to be climbed, from close to the back of the grid. Arriving from his six-month exile from Formula 1 in November 2000, there was little time to inject his own influence into the 2001 car before the racing season began in March, so Gascoyne decided to focus on building up new aerodynamic models. Next season’s car will be the true test of Mike’s mettle, when the first Benetton car bearing his design credentials takes to the track.
Celebrating Science and Technology New institutes emphasising an interdisciplinary approach to research are springing up all over Cambridge. From chemistry and earth sciences to entrepreneurship, Churchill Fellows are leading the way, playing prominent roles in three of the best.
Chemistry Comes of Age Information technology is transforming science at a phenomenal rate. Today’s chemists are more likely to be studying molecules twisting and turning in glorious technicolour on a computer screen than creating colourful concoctions at the bench. Chemistry has entered a new era. With enormous quantities of chemical data being generated world-wide, Unilever have invested over £13 million to establish a world-leading research centre for cheminformatics in Cambridge. This facility allows scientists to use molecular informatics to integrate chemical, biological and material science, cultivating a more interdisciplinary approach to research. Churchill Fellow, Dr John Mitchell (U84, G87), works at the interface between biology and chemistry in the Unilever Centre. “There’s a new aspect of computational chemistry, applying methods to a much broader range of problems and phenomena than in the past,” said Mitchell. “Drug design is a key area for the application of cheminformatics.” With millions of chemical substances available for study, the challenge is pulling the information together and developing the right software solutions to make sense of it all to generate new knowledge and accelerate innovation. Cheminformatics has emerged as the discipline that uses computers to study the properties of molecules, handle data associated with them and create models to predict the properties of new molecules. Former Churchill Research Fellow, Dr David Hartley (U64), is now Managing Director of the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre (CCDC) next door. Companies are turning to technologies like data mining and data visualisation to get quicker insights from their data and to increase the probability of identifying targets or promising compounds. “We need to know exactly which molecule will bind in the relevant protein site, to block the progress of disease. Because there are so many possible molecules that could in theory be made, it is not really feasible to do it experimentally,” says Mitchell. But cheminformatics allows multitudes of molecules to be whittled down through ‘in silico’ screening, enabling researchers to focus on the most promising ones in the wet lab leaving the others high and dry.
Embracing Entrepreneurship In 1955, Sir Winston Churchill had a vision. While holidaying in Syracuse, after handing No. 10 over to Sir Anthony Eden, he became interested in the model of technological education adopted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Impressed with what he saw, Churchill returned home, keen to promote a similar model that would raise the number of highly trained technologists in the UK and forge a close link between industry and the Universities. Half a century later his dream has, in part, been realised with the foundation of the Cambridge-MIT-Institute (CMI), creating a bridge of minds across the Atlantic.
Backed by almost 70 million of government funding, from the Department of Trade and Industry, and 16 million raised from private industry, CMI’s mission is to advance productivity and competitiveness in university-industry relationships, as well as cultivating a more entrepreneurial outlook. This will be done by developing research programmes to improve technology and stimulate research spin-offs, developing MIT’s business executive programmes in the UK, and developing common courses in science, technology, engineering and management for students at Cambridge and MIT. Churchill College is closely connected to CMI and Professor John B Vander Sande, the MIT Director of CMI, is a College Fellow. The University Vice-Chancellor and former Master of Churchill, Professor Sir Alec Broers, was active in discussions between the UK government and MIT, an institution that has an enviable record of spin-off companies and is generally considered more business-savvy than its Cambridge counterpart in the fens. Instrumental in securing a number of important industrial partnerships during his time as Vice-Chancellor, Sir Alec was recently awarded one of the highest accolades from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Prince Philip Medal. After initial teething troubles, things are running more smoothly for CMI and success is on the horizon. The first group of Cambridge undergraduates depart for MIT this September, participating in a year-long exchange. Four of the lucky thirty-three are from Churchill. Ben Lishman, last year’s JCR president, will be studying engineering. He will be joined by physicist Richard Doig, natural scientist Kazuki Fukushige and Gillian Hutton, who is embarking on the chemical engineering course. And it is not just undergraduates who are reaping rewards from the MIT relationship. The CMI professional practice programme provides financial support for the design of new courses and research initiatives. Professor David Newbery, Churchill Fellow and Director of Applied Economics, has just secured CMI funding to work with colleagues at MIT on a project to, “promote innovation and productivity in electricity markets.” And the Graduate School of Biological, Medical and Veterinary Sciences has also just received the first phase of funding to develop a Masters in Bioscience Enterprise, a programme designed to educate the bioentrepreneurs of the future.
Fuelling Innovation A generous endowment of £23 million from BP in 1999 has established a stylish new research institute with state of the art facilities, located just beyond the Møller Centre, off Madingley Road. Here at the BP Institute (BPI) for Multiphase Flow, science is highly interdisciplinary, bringing together researchers from Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Earth Sciences. Churchill ByFellow, Dr Peter Smith, is Director of the Institute, where teams are investigating the movement of multiple fluids such as oil and water though rocks and over the earth’s surface, the physics behind flowdriven fractures in porous rock, the geological flows responsible for rock formation and volcanic flows. This multidisciplinary research has wide-reaching applications, from illuminating the processes by which oil is formed to facilitating integrated low-energy building design and ventilation efficiency. With this in mind, the roof of the BP Institute is equipped with the latest in solar panelling, reflecting BP’s commitment to developing alternative energy sources. The theories and models of multiphase flows are also used to study the movement of air around buildings, allowing intelligent ventilation systems to de developed and patterns of smoke dispersal in buildings after explosions to be predicted. The models are even transferable to traffic flow dynamics, for example multi-lane movement on motorways. According to BP Professor Andrew Woods, “The BP investment underlies the belief that it is through fundamental research that major technological breakthroughs occur.” BP certainly put into practice what they preach, having adopted a refreshingly enlightened approach that allows total freedom of academic research. BP is also supporting the UK government-sponsored CambridgeMIT Institute, CMI, and has generously supported the Churchill Archive’s extension.
Hitting the High Notes
Lowri Blake (U76)
With music in her genes, it was only a matter of time until Lowri Blake (U76) discovered her passion for performing. Only four years after first picking up a cello, she was invited to join the National Youth Orchestra, establishing a fine reputation as a performer, and also as a soloist, which preceded her arrival in Cambridge. Since hitting the headlines as a performer of note in Cambridge, Blake has gone from strength to strength, combining a demanding career as a professional musician with teaching, examining and editing music. Although now a busy mother of three, she has still had time to launch her own record label. Lowri Blake has something of a double life as a performer, appearing both as a solo cellist and a singer of contemporary music and cabaret, often simultaneously. Although cello is her greatest love, during her time at Cambridge she developed a taste for twentieth century solo vocal music, somewhat unorthodox in Cambridge choral circles. With an exceptional range and ability to discriminate microtones, she found her niche and developed an extensive repertoire of challenging contemporary works. First performing at the Wigmore Hall aged seventeen, Blake soon came to the attention of the BBC. Since her televised concerto debut with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in 1980, Blake has broadcast over one hundred recitals and concertos on BBC Radio and Television, including a performance of the Dvorak concerto and of Peter Sculthorpe’s Threnody for BBC Wales television in 1998. “It was fantastic to be taken up so early by the BBC as a radio three artist and I have had twenty years of wonderful work and broadcasts with them,” she said. Recordings were her ‘staple diet’ during this time, but more recently have played second fiddle to family life. When she’s not performing, she gives master-classes, nationwide and abroad, and is professor of cello at the Royal College of Music and Trinity College of Music, London. As a child, Lowri regularly competed in music festivals. This autumn she is adjudicating the Sutton Music Festival, hoping to inspire the next generation of young musicians. “Music is a social occupation and it teaches you how to get on with others, whether as part of a vocal ensemble or an orchestra. Competing in festivals gives children a chance to interact and is a tremendous confidence builder.” But she says it is getting more and more difficult for young musicians to get their lucky break. “The whole nature of classical music and the way performers are perceived are changing. The way we present ourselves is more important than ever. Young musicians today need to be multifaceted in their work because securing a position is no longer a certainty.” A highlight of her career was the launch of her record label, Lowri Records, in November 1999, bringing a new dimension to her life as a musician. “It allows me to choose the music, the way I perform it and present it. I also produce and promote the recordings and this has given me the opportunity to bring out the repertoire in a different format.” Her artistic, creative side is clearly evident in the packaging — velvety, matt, highly tactile CD covers with enchanting artwork, desirable for any personal collection. Following the release of Captain Cook’s Cello, a captivating collection of music for cello and voice, Blake was described in the Classical Reviews as, “a musician of the new century, blurring the distinction between ‘classical’ and other genres, and releasing a growing discography of discerning repertoire.” With audio clips on line at www.lowrirecords.com there is the chance to listen before you buy. Her 1997 release, Three for the Price of Two, features Blake as cellist and singer with double bassist Peter Buckoke, otherwise known as A Man, A Woman and a Double Bass. It is an entertaining mix of classics, contemporary and cabaret, and has received wide acclaim. Visible Bass Line is their most recent release and many of their arrangements are by Michael Murray (U75). In 1980, she married Peter Martin (U75) her college ‘daddy’. Peter is the Finance Director at Askonas Holt, a leading company in concert artist management. With an enviable list of some 220 artists covering the entire spectrum of instruments and performance styles, Askonas Holt represent some of the world’s greatest instrumentalists and conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim and John Williams. Peter, a classical guitarist and lutenist, is giving a series of lunchtime lute recitals around London this autumn — see Lowri’s website www.lowrirecords.com for details. It is twenty-five years since Lowri and Peter first met at college as music undergraduates. Twenty-one years of marriage and three children later, music seems to be the key to success for this remarkable duo.
Broadening Horizons: Travelling Fellowships 2001 Two members of the University are spreading their wings and setting off on a chance of a lifetime journey after being awarded prestigious travelling fellowships by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Mrs Paula Halson, Registrar of Churchill College, will be visiting France and Australia to develop overseas links, investigate administrative procedures in other Universities and also to pursue personal study on the French navigator, Lapérouse. Working in a totally different field, Dr Claire Cockcroft, a researcher at the Institute of Biotechnology and science writer for The Guardian, is studying the impact of biotechnology on agriculture in Cuba, Mexico and South America. Established in 1965 as a tribute to Sir Winston Churchill, the fellowships enable men and women from all walks of life to experience the lives and different cultures of people overseas. Around 100 fellowships are awarded annually to British citizens, covering a wide range of topics, from the arts to animal welfare or social studies to sport and science. So if you fancy a chance to broaden your cultural horizons, visit www.wcmt.org.uk for further details. The categories for 2002 have now been announced and include projects for musicians, teachers and technicians, as well as categories for sport, exploration and young people under twenty five. The closing date is 24 October 2001.
Notable Events Music in college is flourishing with a Visiting Performers series drawing names from all over the world. A Japanese ensemble performed recently and the London Mozart Players will be giving a concert in December. Opera is also enjoying something of a revival in Churchill. Akin Euba, a musicologist and Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh, spent the 2000-1 academic year as an overseas fellow at Churchill. A well-known composer of African Art music, Euba is a leading authority on African music, especially from his native Yoruba in Nigeria. On 19 November 2000, his opera Chaka was performed before an international audience that included distinguished fellows and members of the University. The peace and harmony of Churchill College provided the perfect environment for musical creativity. During his visit, Euba composed a new orchestral work, Orunmila’s Voices: Songs from the Beginning of Time, which explores aspects of African culture. Requiring a substantial number of performers, including soloists, chanters, chorus, dancers and symphony orchestra, the world premiere of this highly dramatic piece will be given by the Jefferson Performing Arts Society of New Orleans, on 23 February 2002 in New Orleans. If you would like details of other musical events, to advise us of any forthcoming concerts, or would like to give a concert at an alumni event, please contact the Development Office.
Developing Links In March 2001, the Development Office was strengthened to reflect its greater role in College life by the appointment of Mr Tony Bannard-Smith, formerly of the University Development Office and also the Corporate Liaison Office. As the first full-time Development Fellow, he brings a wealth of experience from industry and the University. Tony said on taking up office, “Churchill College will not be able to exist through the 21st century without it actively seeking new sources of funding in support of it progressive educational and research activities. Those who have benefited from College life are by far the most compelling protagonists of the benefits of College life and its future. Forward looking plans, plus the need to sustain existing activities that government funding once met, suggest we now need to be innovative in our approach, clear in our communication, and do everything possible to contact and strengthen the relationship with anyone who is interested in the future of Churchill College.” Annette Tattersall joined the College in November last year as Alumni Officer and is here to help with any questions about the College and your continuing relationship with it. The Development Office will be delighted to receive your news and please keep us up to date with address and e-mail address changes.
With sparse information about some members and no information about the majority, the newly established development office decided it was time for action. The Churchill newsletter is designed to bring alumni closer into touch with college life and to provide an insight into the lives of current and former members. If you have any comments about this edition, suggestions for future publications, or would like to contribute material, please email email@example.com or use the envelope provided to contact the development office.
Building Bridges through Year Representatives You remain a Member of the College for your lifetime and Churchill values the continuing links with its alumni, and the contribution they make, in various ways, to the work of the College. With your help we aim to expand these links in the future and to offer events and membership benefits which reflect the interests and expectations of College Members. We plan to develop a network of Year Group Representatives, who will bring a more focused touch to the alumni programme and provide a route for members wanting to voice their ideas or concerns to the college. For details of this programme please contact Annette on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01223 336083.
Benefits of Churchill College Alumni Association Details of the benefits (such as Dining Rights and accommodation in College) available to active Members are on the web site.
Come Back to Churchill We look forward to meeting Members when they visit Churchill so please ask the Porters to direct you to the Development Office and drop in for coffee and a chat. We will always be keen to hear about what you have been doing or any ideas you may have for a more effective Development Office.
Annette Tattersall and Tony Bannard-Smith There are many reasons and opportunities to come back to Churchill. All members of College are automatically members of the Churchill College Alumni Association, which each year holds two main events — a dinner, usually in College over the University alumni weekend, and one or more spring or summer events.
Dates and Event List Regular events in the Alumni calendar are the decennial Reunion in July, and the Churchill College Association Dinner in September. In 2002 the Reunion will be held on July 20th and everyone who matriculated in the years 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981 is invited. If you belong to one of these years and do not receive your invitation by the end of April 2002, please contact the Alumni Officer. The Association Dinner will be held on Saturday 22nd September, to coincide with the University’s Alumni Weekend. All non-resident Members are invited and may bring a guest. There is a charge for the dinner, but whatever College accommodation is available will be provided free of charge. We hope to include winter and summer sports days in the programme for 2002, and at least one other event out of Cambridge. Details will appear on the College website as they develop.
Museums Don’t forget to pop into the Scott Polar Research Institute Museum and the Churchill Archives Centre on your next visit to Cambridge.