One of the oldest buildings in Cambridge, dating from circa 1130, is the Round Church opposite St John’s College. Round churches are often associated with the Knights Templar (as with the Temple Church in London), but this one seems to have been built by a lesser known order, active at the same time, called the “Fraternity of the Holy Sepulchre”.
Isaac Newton and me, I spent my undergraduate years at Trinity College – as did Newton himself. Standing outside his old rooms in Great Court is an apple tree, pictured below. There probably wasn’t an apple tree there in Newton’s time (it’s clear from his account of the falling apple that it took place at his home in Lincolnshire), but Newton did keep a small private garden on this plot of land. He also had a large wooden shed which he used as a laboratory for his alchemical experiments – it may have been here, or inside Great Court itself.
(For more about Newton and alchemy, see my book Isaac Newton: Pocket Giants).
Mathematical Bridge at the back of Queens’ College. The present bridge is the third to occupy this site, all using same timber-framed design. The first was built in 1748; this one dates from 1905. The mathematical nature of the bridge lies in the ingenious way the wooden ribs are arranged so that “each member is in compression with little or no bending moment”.
DNA Double Helix 1953: “The Secret of Life”. For decades the Eagle was the local pub for scientists from the nearby Cavendish Laboratory. It was here on February 28th 1953 that Francis Crick and James Watson first announced their discovery of how DNA carries genetic information.Corpus Clock, dating from 2008 and belonging to Corpus Christi College. It stands at the end of Bene’t Street right opposite King’s College, giving it one of the highest tourist footfalls in England. The clock is unusual for several reasons: it has circles of LEDs instead of hands, and it only tells the correct time every five minutes (the rest of the time it runs erratically fast or slow). It also has a monstrous, animated insect called a Chronophage squatting on top of it.
official blurb), while in After “the man’s unbuttoned breeches reveal a tuft of pubic hair and his penis, chafed red from its exertions”. Sleazy stuff for the genteel 18th century!