Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Views around Cambridge

It's been a while since our last post, during which we made a trip back to the U.S. to hear our daughter perform at her senior vocal recital. Since then, we've had some opportunities to snap photos around town. Here is a helping of some of them.

You'll recall that Cambridge University contains 31 separate colleges united under one umbrella. The two pictures below show the courtyard inside the main gate to Trinity College. Inside the chapel are numerous plaques commemorating many of the well-known people who went to Trinity, most famously Isaac Newton.

Remember the legendary apple tree under which Newton was said to have come up with the idea of universal gravitation? Well, there are three descendants of this tree: two of them are here in Cambridge (one stands outside the gate at Trinity and the other is at the Botanical Gardens). The third one is at the Newton estate in Woolsthorpe. The Britons say that the tree at MIT which is claimed to be a descendant of Newton's apple is actually not (DNA testing proved this).
Here's yet another picture of Trinity's Chapel.

The pictures below are of the different courtyards within St. John's College. This is certainly one of the most beautiful of the Cambridge University colleges.

St. John's College First Court, dating from the 1500s.

St. John's College Second Court (dating from the 1600s).

St. John's College Third Court (dating from the 1700s).

This is the Master's Lodge at St. John's College.

This beautiful, 12th century stone building is known as the School of Pythagoras, even though it has nothing to do with Pythagoras. In fact, Pythagoras never came to England! It is known as one of the oldest surviving houses in all of England and is on the grounds of St. John's College.

The Garrett Hostel Bridge, pictured here, spans the River Cam from Clare College. It was designed by a young man in the 1940s who won an architectural competition for this project and, sadly, died shortly after the bridge was built.

These two pictures(of the Kitchen Bridge) were taken from the Bridge of Sighs, named after the more famous bridge in Venice. (Notice the hardy souls engaged in some mid-winter punting!)

Castle Mound. Here, at the foot of this mound, is the site of the oldest settlement in Cambridge with archaeological evidence, from Saxon times. (Still, it is known that the city was built even earlier by Romans, who gave it the name Durovigutum.) The Saxons called the river Granta, meaning 'muddy', and by the Norman era, the name Grantabrigge ('the bridge over the river Granta') had morphed into Cantabrigge. By the 14th century, the name had further elided to become Caumbrige, and the river was thereafter known as the Cam.

View from Castle Hill looking into the city of Cambridge. That's King's College Chapel in the distance on the right, and the tower of Great St. Mary's Church on the left.

This view of the Shire Hall was taken from the top of Castle Mound. Shire Hall houses the county government offices. It stands on the site of a fortress that occupied this spot and defended the city from Norman times until the early 20th century.

The Grafton Center is the big shopping 'mall' in Cambridge. People come in from all over to shop there. If you have ever been to Northgate Mall in Cincinnati, Grafton Center is about the size of one of the three wings of that mall, from the Dillards to the JC Penney!

These are photos of the buildings at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, where the university's Department of Mathematics is housed. The complex was finished in 2001 and is one of the more successful contemporary architectural projects I have ever encountered. It looks like a landscape from a Myst video game, but is quite functional. The pagodas that ring the complex are the faculty office buildings; on the ground floor of each is a seminar room with a small coffee kitchen. These seminar rooms open into the central pavilion (the low building in the center of the picture), which is a vast hall of tables and chairs, where students, tutors, and other researchers can gather to work and discuss -- what else -- mathematics.

This is the Moore Library, where the current mathematics collection is stored. To give a sense of direction, the library sits off to the right in the last photo above. This photo was taken from the door of the Isaac Newton Institute, a research institute that shares the grounds with the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences.

This is the back door of the Isaac Newton Institute, with an attractive mathematical sculpture (one of many)in front. This sculpture is called 'Intuition.'

Jesus Green is the largest 'park' in the city of Cambridge. The River Cam runs in front of it. Notice the houseboats in the picture. People live in them all year round.

This is another close-up picture of the Cam and Jesus Green.

The River Cam is filled with swans, birds, and punts.

This is the church where we usually worship (on the second floor). It is the chapel at the Dominican Priory of St. Michael the Archangel (or simply, Blackfriars Chapel). After Mass on Sunday, tea, coffee and cookies are always offered, a testament to the nice sense of fellowship here. Danny attends Dominican Lay Fraternity meetings here once a month as well.

Here is the interior of the chapel at the Priory. It comfortably seats approximately 50 people. We love the intimate setting. We also like their practice of incorporating Gregorian chant into their worship. It's quite beautiful.


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