The Mastership of Trinity is a Crown appointment, made by the monarch on the recommendation of the College. The Master is responsible for superintending the running of the College, and chairs meetings of the College Council and Governing Body. The executive powers of the office, however, are limited.
He or she must hold a degree from Cambridge, and has in the past usually been a member of Trinity College. The Master holds office until the age of seventy, although there is provision in the Statutes for him or her to be continued by the Fellowship until the age of seventy-five. The Master resides in the Master’s Lodge. In modern times Masters have been of high academic distinction.
The present Master of Trinity, Sir Gregory Winter, is a genetic engineer and is best known for his research and inventions relating to humanised and human therapeutic antibodies. Sir Gregory is a graduate of Trinity College and was a Senior Research Fellow before becoming Master.
His research career was based almost entirely in Cambridge at the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology and the Centre for Protein Engineering, and during this time he also founded three Cambridge biotech companies based on his inventions: Cambridge Antibody Technology (acquired by AstraZeneca), Domantis (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline) and Bicycle Therapeutics.
Sir Gregory is a non-executive Director of Bicycle Therapeutics, and a Trustee of the Newton Trust and the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research.
The Master of Trinity may be contacted through the Master’s Secretary.
Until he retired at the end of June, 2012, the Master of Trinity was Professor Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, O.M., F.R.S., who was installed on 15 January 2004. Professor Rees was appointed to the House of Lords as a non-party-political peer, sitting on the Cross Benches in 2005, in which year he also became President of the Royal Society, a post he held until 2010. He is also Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics in the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge. Among other academic distinctions he holds the honorary title of Astronomer Royal. He is a graduate of Trinity and was previously an Honorary Fellow of the College. Lord Rees remains a Fellow of the College.
Between 1998 and January 2004 the Master of Trinity was Professor Amartya Sen, C.H., F.B.A. Professor Sen remains a Fellow of Trinity, and also holds an appointment at Harvard University. Further information about Professor Sen may be obtained from his autobiography, written for the Nobel Foundation on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1998.
Sir Michael Atiyah, O.M., F.R.S., who served as Master between 1990 and 1997 and was formerly also President of the Royal Society, similarly remains a Fellow of the College.
Masters of Trinity College
- John Redman (1546–1551)
- William Bill (1551–1553)
- John Christopherson (1553–1558)
- William Bill (1558–1561)
- Robert Beaumont (1561–1567)
- John Whitgift (1567–1577)
- John Still (1577–1593)
- Thomas Nevile (1593–1615)
- John Richardson (1615–1625)
- Leonard Mawe (1625–1629)
- Samuel Brooke (1629–1631)
- Thomas Comber (1631–1645)
- Thomas Hill (1645–1653)
- John Arrowsmith (1653–1659)
- John Wilkins (1659–1660)
- Henry Ferne (1660–1662)
- John Pearson (1662–1672)
- Isaac Barrow (1672–1677)
- John North (1677–1683)
- John Montagu (1683–1699)
- Richard Bentley (1700–1742)
- Robert Smith (1742–1768)
- John Hinchliffe (1768–1789)
- Thomas Postlethwaite (1789–1798)
- William Lort Mansel (1798–1820)
- Christopher Wordsworth (1820–1841)
- William Whewell (1841–1866)
- William Hepworth Thompson (1866–1886)
- Henry Montagu Butler (1886–1918)
- Joseph John Thomson (1918–1940)
- George Macaulay Trevelyan (1940–1951)
- Edgar Adrian (1951–1965)
- Richard Austen Butler (1965–1978)
- Alan Hodgkin (1978–1984)
- Andrew Huxley (1984–1990)
- Michael Atiyah (1990–1997)
- Amartya Sen (1998–2004)
- Martin Rees (2004–2012)
- Gregory Winter (2012– )