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Science Scholarships at Cambridge

    Naturevolume 52pages271272 (1895) | Download Citation



    WITHIN the past academical year an attempt has been made by the college tutors at Cambridge, in consultation with representatives from Oxford, to come to an understanding as to the times at which examinations for entrance scholarships shall be held. Headmasters have frequently complained of the interruption to school work caused by the present somewhat haphazard arrangements, and have suggested the grouping of colleges and other expedients in mitigation of the difficulty. Some of the colleges, notably Caius, Jesus, Christ's, and Emmanuel, Pembroke with King's, and Clare with Trinity Hall, have agreed to group their examinations, candidates entering for the combined examination being required to indicate the colleges, in the order of their preference, which they desire to join if successful. The larger colleges, Trinity and St. John's, have for various reasons found it impracticable to form such combinations; but they have agreed at least to avoid clashing by fixing their examinations about a month apart. Nine of the colleges offer scholarships and exhibitions for natural science, the rest confining the competition to the old-established subjects of classics and mathematics. In the ensuing academical year, examinations in natural science for these awards will be held as follows: at Trinity, November 5; at Peterhouse (physical sciences only), November 19; at the group—Caius, Jesus, Christ's, Emmanuel—November 26; at the group—Pembroke, King's—and also at St. John's College, December 3; at Sidney, Sussex, December 12; at the group—Clare, Trinity Hall—January 1; and at Downing, about March 17. The value of the scholarships varies from, £80 to £40. a year, of the exhibitions from £50 to £20. They are usually tenable for three or four years, with a condition that by the end of the second year the scholar shall have approved himself sufficiently in the college examinations. Scholars are practically required to become candidates for honours in the natural sciences tripos, though the new mechanical sciences tripos will no doubt attract some. The new Salamon scholarships at Caius are, indeed, specially intended for students of engineering. It should be added that candidates for scholarships, who are not yet members of the university, must be under nineteen years of age; there is no restriction of age in respect of the science exhibitions. Though only nine colleges specifically offer entrance scholarships in science, an examination of the awards to the first, second, and third year students shows that in many more good work in science, as tested by university or inter-collegiate examinations, does not go unrecognised. The large body of medical students, now approaching five hundred in number, is distributed over all the colleges, and their presence has apparently brought home, even to the most conservative, the fact that intellectual ability, high-minded devotion to study, and social energy are not confined to students of classics and mathematics alone. Thus, though something remains to be done in certain quarters in the direction of placing science on an equal footing with the older subjects as a fit object of college recognition and reward, it must be owned that a great advance has been made within the last ten years. The natural sciences tripos now attracts a larger number of candidates than any other, and this notwithstanding that its standard has steadily been raised. In the majority of the colleges, distinguished eminence in this tripos has been admitted as a qualification for a fellowship, and in not a few instances governing bodies have felt the need of strengthening themselves on the side of science, and have departed from Cambridge custom by selecting scientific members of other colleges for this honour.

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