April enewsletter 2020

Many congratulations to Trinity Fellows Professor Marian Holness (e2000), Professor Hugh Osborn (e1971) and Professor Didier Queloz (e2013), who have been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society 2020. Read.

On 23 April, the Wren Library turned blue in a stunning show of support for all the NHS staff and key workers across the UK who are working tirelessly in the fight against COVID-19. Read.

Read about the Trinity Fellows who are helping to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. Their work ranges from harnessing the computing and modelling expertise of scientists nationwide, overseeing the reorganisation of Royal Papworth and Addenbrooke’s Hospitals, and preparing for clinical trials, to analysing national and international data to advise the UK government on its pandemic strategy. Read.

Sunday 26 April 2020 marked the centenary of the death of Srinisava Ramanujan [1887-1920], the brilliant mathematician who came to Trinity from India during the First World War (1914). Read the Library’s special blog in celebration of the remarkable Ramanujan, whose life and work was captured in the 2015 film The Man Who Knew Infinity, directed by Matt Brown, with scenes shot in Great Court and Nevile’s Court. Read.


Sadly, we have had to postpone this year’s Annual Gatherings, on Saturday 11 July for alumni who matriculated in 1997, 1998 and 1999, and on Wednesday 15 July for those who matriculated in 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971. Emails have been sent to all alumni for whom we have an email address, advising of the postponement. We know that it is disappointing news, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. We are hoping to reschedule the events for similar dates in 2021 and we will keep everyone informed of the plans as they develop. If you have any questions, please contact the Alumni Events team by email at annual-gathering@trin.cam.ac.uk.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, the College Facebook page, and by checking our website. And if you want to get in touch, please email us.

Do read the latest in our Reflections series, a selection of ruminations and recommendations by College members.

  • Professor Adrian Poole (1967) – Vaccines and a grandfather. Read.
  • Professor Huw Price (2011) – Lockdown down under. Read.
  • Professor John Rallison (1970) – Will the economic consequences of COVID-19 change university teaching forever? Read.
  • Dr Clare Walker Gore (e2016) – Victorian novels to get you through lockdown. Read.
  • Sir Gregory Winter (1970) – Antibodies and the fight against coronavirus. Read.

Two Trinity alumni are involved in Cambridge initiatives to supply, distribute and develop personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers in the East of England who are battling the coronavirus pandemic.

The University has established a logistics centre to process donations of PPE and make it readily available to NHS medics and staff tackling the COVID-19 outbreak. Alongside equipment collected at the University itself, extra supplies are being sourced from around the globe by University departments, a network of University partners, and Cambridge alumni, to make them accessible to local GP surgeries, clinics and hospitals. Professor Yang Xia (2003), Deputy Chairman at Shandong Yingcai University in China, and Co-Founder of Trinity in China, has personally donated a shipment of face masks. Read.

Professor Sadaf Farooqi (1997), Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow and Professor of Metabolism and Medicine at the University of Cambridge, is at the forefront of the Cambridge China COVID-19 Collaboration, a major initiative to ensure that high-grade PPE is available for health and social care professionals in Cambridge and the East of England who are caring for patients with COVID-19.The Collaboration’s focus is twofold. Through the University’s links to China, where it has established the Cambridge University Nanjing Centre of Technology and Innovation, it is sourcing high quality PPE for doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in Cambridge and the East of England, to address the immediate need to protect both frontline staff and patients.

Alongside sourcing the equipment, work is also underway in the UK on the development of new types of PPE, (for example, respirator masks), in partnership with local industry, materials and engineering companies. Professor Farooqi said: ‘We are uniquely placed to ensure that clinical needs and requirements inform the development process at every stage, maximising efficiencies. This is an urgent, global problem and our aim is to contribute to the solution.’ To discover more about the Cambridge China COVID-19 Collaboration, and how you can support their work, please visit the University web page.

Law student Maaz Shahz (2017) has shared his tried and tested tips to meet the challenges of studying during Ramadan. Watch.

Join the #Trinitea party! A daily lockdown ritual that we all share, wherever we are in the world, is the tea or coffee break. Every afternoon, the College is celebrating this small moment of pleasure by posting on our social media channels an image or two of the favourite mugs or cups of the College’s students, staff, Fellows and alumni during their coffee or tea breaks. Captions will explain the significance of the mug and where the drinker is, plus any message for friends or colleagues.

So please do contribute to #TriniTea – we’d love to see what you’re sipping from, and where, and it’s up to you whether to include yourself in your ‘mugshot’. Read.

If you missed Sir Antony Gormley (1968) in conversation with Mary Beard on the importance of nature in art and writing on Front Row Late on Thursday 23 April, you can catch up with the episode on BBC iPlayer. Watch.

Dr Pradipta Biswas’ (2006) team at the Indian Institute of Science has created an app that shows the rate of spread of COVID-19 in different regions of India. Read.


We may not be able to bring you our usual range of events and opportunities to meet up with your fellow Trinity alumni in person right now, but one way that you can stay in touch is via Trinity Members Online (TMO).

TMO is an online platform, exclusively for Trinity alumni, where you can search a directory of fellow alumni, send messages, or take part in e-networking and e-mentoring. Over the coming weeks, we will be uploading plenty of new content – such as the Master’s weekly letter, alumni stories, digital event information, and how-to guides on mentoring – to the platform on the ‘digital library’. We also hope to be sharing some photo galleries of past Trinity events.

Simply visit www.trincam.aluminate.net to log back in (if you’ve forgotten your password, please use the ‘Forgot Password?’ link). If you’re not one of our near-2000 members, you can sign up by visiting the same page and following the joining instructions. We look forward to welcoming you to TMO!


Although the International Summer Programme has been cancelled for 2020, in its place ICE is hosting an online Summer Festival of Learning. The full programme is still being finalised but Cambridge alumni and current students will be eligible for a discounted rate on courses,  and there will be a series of free plenary lectures. Full details will be released via the ICE website in the next few weeks. Read.


  • Adrian Poole (1967)The Princess Casamassima, Editor, Cambridge University Press. Part of The Cambridge Edition of the Complete Fiction of Henry James series.

If you have a recent or forthcoming book and you haven’t shared the details with us yet, please get in touch.

We want to hear from you! Do keep us up-to-date with your latest achievements and activities for our Global Alumni News pages in The Fountain and the Alumni Achievements section in the Annual Record. Please send your news, appointments, and publications to: alumni-comms@trin.cam.ac.uk.

Please send your address updates to alumni@trin.cam.ac.uk.

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