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Churchill College, Cambridge

Churchill College was founded in 1960 as the national and commonwealth memorial to Winston Churchill.

Winston Churchill was very impressed by MIT and wanted a British version, but the plans evolved to the more modest proposal of creating a Scientific and Technological based college within Cambridge University. Churchill wanted a mix of non-Scientists to ensure a well rounded education and environment for scholars and fellows. The bias to science and engineering remains as policy to the current day, with a general aim of a ratio of 3 technology to 1 arts amongst the college population.

Churchill is situated on the outskirts of the town away from the tradition centre of old-Cambridge, but closely placed the University's main new development zone. It's 40 acres of grounds make it the largest of all the colleges. It was also the first major work of modern architecture in Cambridge University, whilst retaining the traditional layout of staircases and courtyards.

Churchill was the first men's college to admit women - within 20 years all others had followed suit.

In the centre of the college is the Churchill Archive Centre opened in 1974 to provide a home to Sir Winston's papers, and also more recently endowed with papers from former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

At the farthest end of the college is Churchill College Chapel, now fully incorporated into the College organisation as was originally intended. However, the idea of a having a religious building within a modern, scientifically-oriented, academic institution deeply annoyed some of the original fellows, reputedly leading to the resignation of Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick in protest. Eventually a compromise was found: the chapel was sited away from the other buildings, and funded and managed separately from the rest of the College itself, being tactfully referred to for many years as merely "the Chapel at Churchill College".

The Mastership of the College is a Crown appointment. To date the College has had five Masters:

  • Sir John Cockroft, (Master 1959-67), Nobel Laureate in Physics, who split the atom.
  • Sir William Hawthorne (Master 1968-83), who helped develop the jet engine.
  • Sir Hermann Bondi (Master 1983-90), cosmologist who helped develop the Steady State theory of the universe.
  • Professor Sir Alec Broers (Master 1990-96), nanotechnologist and current Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge.
  • Sir John Boyd (Master 1996-), formerly British ambassador to Japan

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