Cambridge top again

Cambridge is the best university in the country, according to the Sunday Times. The University has topped the University Guide every year since its inception a decade ago. The Guide is based on a variety of factors such as teaching quality, student satisfaction, peer assessment and research quality. Oxford came second, followed by Imperial and LSE. A Cambridge spokesman welcomed the achievement: “While all league tables oversimplify the range of any university’s achievements, this is an indication of both the excellence and efforts of our academic staff.” Cambridge tied with Oxford for second place in last year’s THES-QS World University Rankings, the latest results of which are announced next week.

Paedophile don sentenced

A Caius don has been given a twelve-month suspended prison sentence, after detectives found more than 1,000 indecent images of children on his computer - some featuring babies of two days old. A modern French theatre specialist, Nicholas Hammond, 45, pleaded guilty to twelve charges of making indecent images, one charge of possession, and two of distributing. Police found thirty level five images and 151 level four images among the photos on his laptop and memory stick. Level five refers to images featuring bestiality and sadism. Hammond said that he never intended to view level five images, only images of teenage boys. He also said that he had never acted on any of his urges. Michelle Elliot of Kidscape called the sentence a “sickening betrayal of justice.” She said: “Had he been a ordinary working man he would’ve been sent straight to prison.”

Brian Pippard dies aged 88

The first President of Clare Hall has died. Sir Brian Pippard, Cavendish Professor of Physics during the 1970s, was 88. Pippard was born in 1920 and educated at Clifton College, going on to graduate from Clare in 1941. The majority of his work was concerned with superconductors, a phenomenon observed in some metals at extremely low temperatures. He was made Clare Hall’s President on its foundation in 1966, and served for seven years. One of his lasting contributions to the College was to insist that the President’s apartment should incorporate a concert room and grand piano. He was knighted in 1974.

New exhibitions at the Fitz

Two new exhibitions opened yesterday at the Fitzwilliam Museum. From the Land of the Golden Fleece: Tomb Treasures of Ancient Georgia is on an international tour organised by institutions in New York and Tbilisi. The exhibition shows jewellery and sculpture from the ancient kingdom of Colchis and dating back to the fifth century BC. Colchis is known in mythology as the home of Jason, who set out with his Argonauts to find the Golden Fleece. Complementing the main exhibition is Bordering the Black Sea: Greeks, Barbarians and Their Coins, drawn from the Museum’s numismatic collection. Both exhibitions run until January 4. Admission is free.

Dojo shut down over summer

A police raid on the noodle bar Dojo discovered seven illegal immigrants working on the premises. Police surrounded the building while immigration officers checked staff documents. They found seven of the staff were failed asylum seekers - six men and one woman aged between 17 and 45. Dojo now have to provide evidence that the correct checks were carried out before they were employed. If not they will be fined £10,000 per illegal worker by the UK Boarder Agency. “As long as there are illegal jobs, the UK will be an attractive place for illegal immigrants. That’s why we have to put a stop to employers who don’t play by the rules,” said Gail Adams at the UK Border Agency. Dojo was temporarily closed following the incident in July due to “maintenance problems”.

Regius Professor appointed

Richard J. Evans has been appointed Regius Professor of Modern History. He succeeds Quentin Skinner, who had held the Chair since 1996. Professor Evans is renowned for his work on modern German history and on historiography. He was educated at Oxford, and taught at Birkbeck College before becoming a Fellow of Caius in 1998. He came to public attention as an expert witness defending historian Deborah Lipstadt against controversial writer David Irving. The Regius Chair was inaugurated in 1724 by George I, and its incumbent is still appointed by the Queen. Previous Regius Professors include Thomas Gray and G.M. Trevelyan.

Illegal immigrants escape

Seven illegal immigrants have escaped from a nearby detention centre. Four Vietnamese men are reported to have left the building by the air conditioning system; it is not known how the other three men escaped. Oakington Immigration Removal Centre, near Girton, has long been controversial: in January it was named as the country’s second-worst detention centre by the Border and Immigration Agency. In March, 150 detainees went on hunger strike. The Home Office has said “There is no long-term future for the centre.” Authorities believe that the escapees pose no threat to the public.