Monday, July 10, 2017

Guru Purnima walk in Cambridge

Guru Purnima Walk in Cambridge 

With the grace of DoPT, we are walking in the streets of Cambridge, the campus full of colleges and surrounded by thoughts. It has produced 96 Nobel Laureates, 32 of them from Trinity College alone. It has given Five PM to UK and three PM to India. 

On Guru Purnima day, while 'Cambridge Walk', we have paid respects to the Great Teachers of mankind. The word ‘guru’ has its roots in the Sanskrit language, where ‘gu’ means darkness and ‘ru’ stands for the removal of darkness. They have removed many darkness of our life and directed us the right way. 

Sir Isaac Newton, one of the greatest scientists of all time, was a product of Trinity College, Cambridge. He discovered gravity when he saw a falling apple from apple tree at his house garden at Woolsthorpe Manor, his birthplace in Lincolnshire. The Trinity College has planted an apple tree in front of it's gate to remember it's great student. Brain power has nothing to do with richness or poverty, nothing to do with happiness or sorrow. His father died 3 months before his birth. His birth was premature. When he was only 3 years old, his mother remarried and went to live with her new husband, leaving Newton in the care of her mother. He was removed from the school and his mother widowed again tried to make him a farmer, rejoined school education and became a top class student of exceptional ability. He joined Trinity College in 1661, and in the first year, his teacher announced that he was better then him in mathematics. Newton was the youngest Fellow of Cambridge at 25. The dominance of studies of philosophy of Aristotle was replaced by new algebra, analytical geometry of Newton. Crisis came in his life as opportunities. When plague came in Cambridge in 1665 closing the university, he went to his mother's home and within 18 months discovered the binomial theorem and differential calculus. He expounded his laws of gravity in 1685 and published his greatest work 'Philosophiae Nuturalis Principia Mathematia'. Poverty and adversity of life didn't stop him to becoming one of the greatest scientists of all time.

Charles Darwin was another student of Cambridge from Christ's college. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He took two three breaks in his study and finally started his degree course in natural history. He spent great amount of time in the company of his teacher Henslow, botanising in and around Cambridge, finally came out with his famous work 'Origin of Species' in 1859. 

The evening ended with a three course welcome Dinner at Peterhouse, the oldest college of Cambridge, was established in 1284. A big list of colleges: Peterhouse (1284), Clare (1326), Pembroke (1347),  Gonville and Caius (1348), Corpus Christy (1352), Christ's (1439), King's (1440), St Catherine (1473), Queen's (1448), Jesus (1496), St John's (1511), Magdalene (1542), Trinity (1546), Emmanuel (1548), Sidney Sussex (1596), Girton (1866), Hughes Hall 1885), St Edmund's (1896), Darwin (1964), etc. One has to take admission first with the college, then University accepts you. Results of the graduates were published on the notice board. And when they receive the degree wearing gowns, they walk through the street making the event memorable. Each college has different gown, tie, base, jacket, etc, carrying their unique identity.

Cambridge has produced as many as 96 Nobel Laureates and many big personalities. But their research or discovery or invention came out from meeting and sittings at some corner. In 1897, at old Cavendish Laboratory JJ Thomson discovered the electron subsequently recognised as first fundamental particle of physics and the basis of chemical bonding electronics and computing. 
 For decades, Eagle is the pub for the scientist of Cavendish Laboratory. It was here on 28 February 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson first announced their discovery of how DNA carries genetic information by using stick and ball method. The table and corner they have used for long hours sitting and discussion on 'secrets of life', is visited by many tourists.

There are many stories of the adventures and challenges taken by the students. A team of 11 students place the car on the parapet of the college by a genius work. Somebody put a paper plastic into the lightening rod at the top of the stiff building. The administrators always ask, why? And the students always reply, why not?

The Corpus Clock made of Gold at Corpus Christi College Library is an attraction point for the tourists. On the hour, the clock reminds us of our mortality with the sound of a chain dropping into a wooden coffin. It has the largest Grasshopper escapement of any clock in the world. 

The 45 minutes Punting tour on river passing through the colleges and campuses and crossing the small small bridges of engineering skill was a memorable tour. The route is lush green with the beauty of maple and other trees. Our day concluded with a three course dinner at the oldest building Peterhouse with the Ex Cabinet Secretary of UK Mr. Richard Wilson. He gave us lessons on leadership and strategic thinking. 

Guru Purnima Vandan to all the Gurus of Cambridge and the Gurus in all fields of life. 

9 July 2017

NB: Rajiv Gandhi, late ex PM of India found his love Sonia Gandhi from Cambridge when he was a student here. He was studying mechanical engineering from Trinity College. Dr. Manmohan Singh had studied economics (first) from Sr. John's College. Jawaharlal Nehru had studied natural science from Trinity College.


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