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March 18th 2017 At home in Georgian England

We’re pleased to announce that this year’s Ramsay Murray lecture at Selwyn will be given by the historian Professor Amanda Vickery. Her title will be ‘No Happy Ending? At Home with Miss Bates in Georgian England’ and it will bring to life England in the time of Jane Austen.

Amanda Vickery is professor in early modern history at Queen Mary University of London, and she is also known for her television and radio work. On her website she describes her background: “I was born and raised in Preston, Lancashire. Growing up in a matriarchal mill town where wives historically worked out of the house as well as in, fostered my love of social and economic history, and fascination with the warp and woof of work and family, power and emotion.”

The lecture will take place at the West Road Concert Hall on Friday May 19th and all are welcome.


Photo credit: Andrew Hayes Watkins

March 13th 2017 Good Sports

It’s the end of the season for many university-wide sports – and Selwyn has had some notable successes.

Our women’s football team, which includes players from Selwyn and Robinson colleges, finished top of division one after a tough 2-1 victory over Pembroke in their final match. Our senior tutor, Mike Sewell, offers this brief match report:

“The win was built on the footballing virtues of a solid and well organised back five, a dominant midfield and ability on the counter attack, and the stronger determination to succeed. After a tense first half hour ‘Selwynson’ made a period of pressure pay through a well worked move that ended with a powerful shot from woman of the match Bays-Muchmore.

"A dominant start to the second half saw the second goal come from a well struck penalty by the same player after the pressure had told on Pembroke's defenders and led to a handball during a goalmouth scramble. Pembroke came back into the game and scored a fortunate goal after a harsh award of a free kick near the edge of the penalty area. After that one could only admire the game management of the winners as they saw out a tense few minutes, well marshalled by their captain and impressive centre half Emma Altman-Richer, to obtain a deserved triumph."


 

At the same time as the women were winning the league, our men’s team won the Cuppers Plate. It was the second time in three seasons that they’d won this silverware, and it came through a 1-0 victory over Robinson. The goalscorer was second-year MML undergraduate Tom Higgins Toon.


 

Meanwhile, there’s been a transformation in our women’s badminton team – which has progressed from being in the bottom division 2 years ago to now being “one of the best teams in Cambridge” according to a rival captain. As proof of this, our women made the final of Cuppers where they were narrowly beaten by Jesus College – but deserve much credit as tournament runners-up.


 

Congratulations to all these teams.

March 6th 2017 Events – Home and Away

The college is entering a particularly busy period of events for alumni and friends, which will include reunions in Cambridge and the North of England – but also in New York, Hong Kong and Australia.  

Later this month, Roger Mosey (Master) and Mike Nicholson (development director) will be attending a reception in Hong Kong – kindly hosted by our alumnus Sir David Li. They then go on to Melbourne for a similar event laid on by another honorary Fellow, Robert Cripps. The college is also working with Cambridge in America on an event in New York City to mark the colleges that are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the admission of women.

Back home and into April, there’s a year-group reunion at Selwyn for those who matriculated in 1967 and 1977. And at the end of the month, we’re hosting a reception for alumni and friends from across northern England – which will take place in Salford’s MediaCityUK (pictured) and will include a chance to tour the BBC studios there.

Full details of these events and more, and details of how to book a place, can be found on our alumni events page: https://www.selwynalumni.com/eventscalendar

February 26th 2017 The stars of Selwyn

Some of the college’s students have been capturing the beauties of Selwyn in a series of photographs that are proving to be very popular. They have been viewed and ‘liked’ tens of thousands of times on our social media platforms, and they offer some different perspectives on familiar scenes.

Our homepage photo, also below, was taken by third-year engineering student Laurence Moscrop in the early hours of Sunday February 19th. He explained on Facebook how the image of the chapel and the stars was captured:

“A few people have been asking me how I took the photo, so here is the procedure. Camera settings: aperture f/2.8, ISO 200, 30s exposure time. Set camera to take photos continuously for however long (e.g. 1 hour) on a tripod, then superimpose all the images on a computer and correct the colours.”


 

Laurence was also responsible for a lovely shot of the rooftops of the college as the sun was setting on a February evening. It was taken from the top of F staircase.

 

Meanwhile, Andrew Robertson – a 2nd year veterinary student – submitted a view of the front of the college in Grange Road as the Spring flowers were emerging; and a less conventional image of Old Court by night, taken from ground level.

            

 

February 19th 2017 Disruption forecast

Selwyn alumna Jessi Baker has been featured as a digital disruptor by the BBC. Jessi, who studied manufacturing engineering at the college, has set up a company – Provenance – that helps consumers identify precisely where their food comes from. It is now operating in four countries, and has signed up the Co-op in the UK as a commercial partner.

"The ultimate goal of Provenance is that one day it will be impossible to buy a product that compromises your health and morals”, she says. “Businesses that have very opaque supply chains and are not taking active steps to make them transparent should really fear us… We are disruptive and we're trying to disrupt the industry for good."

Watch the BBC’s report, and read more, at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38773878

February 6th 2017 Seeing Life 500,000,000 years ago

Two Selwynites have discovered a new species of fossil that will shed light on early animal ecosystems.

Dr Tom Harvey, a Selwyn alumnus now at Leicester's Department of Geology, together with our Fellow Professor Nick Butterfield, discovered the new species while conducting a survey of microfossils in mudstones from western Canada.

Here Nick sets out four reasons why the discovery matters:

1) it's the only convincing loriciferan in the fossil record (loriciferans are a phylum of microscopic animals that live between sand grains, only discovered in 1980s), and now we know that they extend all the way back to the Cambrian period (500 million years, surprisingly close to the origin of animals themselves).

2) it's exquisitely well preserved and surprisingly modern in its construction. Though different from any living forms in detail, there is no question that there is a direct lineage leading from the fossil to modern forms.

3) it's tiny; the adults are less than a third of a millimetre long. This puts it fully in the category of 'meiofauna' which is recognized as a special category in terms of adaptation and behaviour. In terms of the famous 'Cambrian explosion' around 530 million years ago, it demonstrates that animals were madly diversifying in all directions at this time – experimenting with miniaturization as well as all the large and more obvious habits of the conventional fossil record

4) more generally, these 'small carbonaceous fossils' constitute a whole category of (previously overlooked) palaeontological information that is making substantial changes to how we view evolutionary patterns through deep time.

You can read more in the University of Leicester news release here: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2017/january/chance-discovery-of-new-fossil-from-half-billion-yearsd-ago-sheds-light-on-life-on-earth

   

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