Study in Cambridge, The United Kingdom



Study in Cambridge, The United Kingdom

Cambridge is synonymous with higher education. This has been true ever since 1209 A.D. when the University of Cambridge was founded by a group of scholars who had left Oxford under mysterious circumstances (tradition states that they riled up the townsfolk and were forcibly ejected). Ever since then, Cambridge has been among the top universities in the world, rivaled in the UK only by Oxford University. Today, it is ranked as the 5th best university in the world by numerous publications (behind Oxford, Harvard, and typically 2 or 3 other American institutions).
 
In many ways the history of Cambridge is the history of scholarship in higher education in Britain. It was here that Sir Francis Bacon worked out the system of investigation that would one day be known as the scientific method. Cambridge was the academic home of Charles Darwin and the later biologists (such as Francis Crick, James Watson, Richard Dawkins, and Jane Goodall) who would expand on his ingenious theory of natural selection. Cambridge mathematicians Charles Babbage and Alan Turing are widely credited with the invention of the computer, while its physicists have reinvented both the atom (Niels Bohr) and the black hole (Stephen Hawking). Perhaps most famously of all, Cambridge produced Sir Isaac Newton, whose theories of gravity, thermodynamics, and mechanical motion would dominate the scientific world for centuries after his death.
 
Today, Cambridge remains a global leader in science and technology, and has earned the nickname “silicon fen" in recognition of its role as the British equivalent of Silicon Valley in California. It is particularly well known for its research programs in computer science, physics, astronomy, and mathematics. Its admissions process, as might be expected given its towering prestige, is intensely competitive. While grades and examination scores are important, Cambridge is unusual among top research institutions in that it emphasizes face-to-face interviews in the admission process.
 
Although Cambridge University is the most prestigious school in the town of Cambridge by a wide margin, it is not the only institution of higher learning to be found here. Several smaller colleges and private language academies are packed in amongst the imposing Gothic buildings of medieval Cambridge. All these students, professors, and educational administrators give Cambridge and unmistakable (and entirely unsurprising) intellectual atmosphere. Sit down at any of the local pubs and you'll likely hear a pair of students arguing about Wittgenstein's influence on logical positivism to your left while a physicist holds forth on supersymmetry and the standard model to your right.
 
All of this furious scholarly activity takes place, appropriately enough, in some of the most tranquil countryside in Europe. The River Cam (from which Cam-bridge takes its name) flows quietly through the city center in between banks thick with verdure. College students, when not in the library, relax by taking boats on the water or lounging in the park with a good book. In recent years, modest form of nightlife has found its way into Cambridge, although it still hardly comes close to the constant thump and buzz of London or even Oxford. The typical Cambridge resident opts for quieter pursuits, preferring bird songs and sunlight filtering through high leaves over pounding bass and strobe lights.