Cambridge Trip #2: Finding My Way

Friday, July 10, 2009

Once in Cambridge, I found my room in Downing College and took a shower. That was necessary.

Downing College, University of Cambridge

Downing College, University of Cambridge

I decided then to just walk around, to familiarize myself with the area. Here are some shots from that walk:

Parkers Piece, Cambridge, England

Parker's Piece, Cambridge, England

Downing Street, Cambridge

Downing Street, Cambridge

Sign for directions to various museums, Cambridge

Sign for directions to various museums, Cambridge

The Eagle Pub is famed for being the place where geneticists James Watson and Francis Crick announced that they had discovered the secret of life (determined the structure of DNA):

The Eagle Pub, Cambridge

The Eagle Pub, Cambridge

All Saints Church from Christs Pieces, Cambridge

All Saints Church from Christ's Pieces, Cambridge

Walking around I kept my eyes open for places with free wireless access, but couldn’t find any besides a McDonald’s near an outdoor market.

Outdoor Market, Cambridge

Outdoor Market, Cambridge

Karen James (of NHM and The HMS Beagle Project), who was in Cambridge for the entirety of the Darwin Festival (listen to a podcast about her, mine, and Richard Carter’s time at the festival), met me at McDonald’s (we did not eat there), and we embarked to see a few sites around the university. It was a pleasure to meet Karen, having been online friends for a while now – in fact, this was just my second time meeting a fellow science blogger (the first was Anne-Marie while at UNCW back in March).

First up, Christ’s College, where Darwin attended. His room has been restored (the room was closed, but I saw it another day, photos in a later post) and the grounds of the college is now home to a Darwin garden, centered ’round a stunning sculpture of a young Darwin by Anthony Smith:

Young Darwin sculpture by Anthony Smith, Christs College, University of Cambridge

Young Darwin sculpture by Anthony Smith, Christ's College, University of Cambridge

Karen James with young Darwin

Karen James with young Darwin

I really liked the attention to detail in the sculpture (mainly titles on the books – Herschel, Paley, Humboldt) and the addition of a beetle:

An inordinate fondness for beetles

An inordinate fondness for beetles

Christ’s College boasts a variety of all things bearded-Darwin: a plaque at the porter’s lodge entrance, a stained glass window, and an 1883 copy of an 1875 portrait Walter William Ouless:

Darwin plaque at Christs College

Darwin plaque at Christ's College

Darwin stained glass window at Christs College

Darwin stained glass window at Christ's College

Darwin portrait by Walter William Ouless

Darwin portrait by Walter William Ouless

After Christ’s, Karen and I walked through King’s College (we bumped into Daniel Dennett!) and over the River Cam:

Kings College, University of Cambridge

King's College, University of Cambridge

with Daniel Dennett (notice the Darwin fish pin on his jacket!)

with Daniel Dennett (notice the Darwin fish pin on his jacket!)

Punting Boats, the River Cam, University of Cambridge

Punting Boats, the River Cam, University of Cambridge

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), the River Cam, University of Cambridge

Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), the River Cam, University of Cambridge

After lunch for Karen and coffee for me, we went our own ways. I walked around a bit more, then headed back to room to start making sure I was ready to present my paper at the conference.

Pembroke Street, Cambridge

Pembroke Street, Cambridge

Christs College, University of Cambridge

Christ's College, University of Cambridge

Look familiar? This illustration usually accompanies the image section in Darwin biographies:

Engraving of Christ's College, by J. Le Keux after I. A. Bell. Published April 1838.

Engraving of Christ's College, by J. Le Keux after I. A. Bell. Published April 1838.

St. Johns College, University of Cambridge

St. John's College, University of Cambridge

Later I went to see Re:Design at the ADC Theatre, the play commissioned by the Darwin Correspondence Project about the exchanges between Darwin and Asa Gray. Wonderful play, wonderful acting. Dennett was sitting behind me. You can view a performance of it from 2008 here.

Stage for Re:Design at the ADC Theatre, University of Cambridge

Stage for Re:Design at the ADC Theatre, University of Cambridge

The ADC Theatres Bars Featured Cocktail

The ADC Theatre's Bar's Featured Cocktail

That all made for a very long day (even if I hadn’t flown all the previous day). It was time for sleep. I needed to be awake for the first day of the conference on Saturday. And like Karen said in the podcast, this visit was like Darwin Mecca for me. Friday’s tour through Cambridge barely scratched the surface for all the Darwin it had to offer.

You can view all the photos from my trip here, if you feel so inclined.

PREVIOUS: Cambridge Trip #1: Traveling

3 thoughts on “Cambridge Trip #2: Finding My Way

  1. Pingback: Cambridge Trip #3: « The Dispersal of Darwin

  2. Pingback: Cambridge Trip #9: Darwin’s Room at Christ’s College « The Dispersal of Darwin

  3. Pingback: London Trip – Royal Institution « Transcribing Tyndall

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s