A student at St John's has created a model that is 100 times smaller than the College's original First Court Phil Hearing/UNSPLASH

Bitsize St John’s 

Alexander Kusztyk, a second year History of Art PhD student at St John’s, has created a 3D model replicating the appearance of the College’s First Court in the 16th century.

The model, which is 100 times smaller than the original court, will reside in the College Library until it is put on permanent display for use in talks and exhibitions.

The model illustrates architectural developments that took place between 1516 and 1533, a period which Kusztyk called “exciting” as “it marks the first steps taken to incorporate the pre-foundation buildings into the fabric of the College.” The old chapel, built in 1280, was the first building in this court which was modified upon the College’s foundation at the beginning of the 1600s.

Dr Mark Nicholls, Kusztyk’s supervisor, commented on the similarities between the College’s past and present appearance: “While much is familiar, look carefully and you will see the differences. The original Master's Lodge [was] so convenient for both Hall and Chapel, the walled garden between College and street, the ancient 'Labyrinth' named after the convoluted access route and home to many of our earliest students. It lacks only the tiny figures of our forebears emerging from staircases and striding through the Court, to bring this wonderful concept to life.”

Digging into the past 

Researchers at the University have found evidence of a time when the Earth, early in its formation, was primarily molten. This discovery will “increase scientists’ limited knowledge of this crucial period in Earth’s evolution.” The cooling and crystallisation process is thought to have contributed to the forming of the earth’s structure and atmosphere.

The findings, published in the journal Science Advances, state that remnants of a sea of magma have been preserved in 3.6 billion year-old ancient rocks found in the south-west of Greenland. 

In response to the new evidence, Helen Williams from the Department of Earth Sciences said: “There are few opportunities to get geological constraints on the events in the first billion years of Earth’s history. It’s astonishing that we can even hold these rocks in our hands – let alone get so much detail about the early history of our planet.” 

Local restaurateur crowned ‘best chef’ 

Chef Julal Syed has added the ‘Best Chef’ award from the Asian Restaurant Owners Network (ARON) to the awards recognising his work. Last month, he was also awarded The Mayor’s Volunteer for Cambridge Award after his restaurant Taj Tandoori provided hot meals to NHS workers and vulnerable community members. 

ARON, according to Syed, is known for its work “celebrating people doing things a bit differently.” 

Syed, who, after working at the local restaurant for 16 years, won the fiercely contested competition for best chef last week, expressed his disbelief at the “absolutely amazing” award.

Inspired by A&E: One Year On

Cambridge local Prue van der Hoorn has sold over 800 copies of her NHS 2021 calendars, advertised on Ebay following her experience at and recovery from two A&E visits in March 2020. Twenty-five percent of the income from the calendars is given to NHS Charities Together’s Covid-19 appeal.

She designed and illustrated the calendar for NHS Charities, using a mixture of mediums from watercolour to crayons, at the beginning of the first national lockdown one year ago. The illustrations, based on her enjoyment of painting wildlife, reflect the time of year, ranging from winter forests to beach huts in July.

Prue also has an exhibition planned for September in the village hall in Grantchester: “we do it every other year in Grantchester because it’s such a touristy venue and we do very well.”