Cambridge Branch spring event, 4 May 2019

Dr Jessica Gardner (left) with alumni

Alison Wilson (BA 1966)

Cambridge is celebrating a significant event this year, the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Cambridge Philosophical Society.  Among its members were some of the most famous scientists in the world, many of them Nobel Prize-winners. CBBA’s spring event this year was a visit to an exhibition at the University Library entitled ‘Discovery’ showcasing books, papers and equipment to illustrate the achievements of these Cambridge scientists. We were hosted by the Librarian, Dr Jessica Gardner, who formerly held the same post at the University of Bristol. She began with a lecture, which was in three parts; first some information about the proposed new Main Library in Bristol with slides showing the situation and concept, then an introduction to Cambridge University Library and the many initiatives which are making it a more open and interactive place and thirdly an introduction to the exhibition and its treasures. After a short break for refreshments she mingled with the group as they viewed the items: Newton’s annotated copy of ‘Principia’, Darwin’s own copy of his ‘Origin of the Species’, Lord Rayleigh’s home-made equipment for studying waves, Bell-Burnell’s chart from which she deduced pulsars, and much more. Jess made us feel very welcome and we are most grateful to her for the private view.

We then adjourned to nearby Clare College for a delicious ‘champagne tea’. Sitting at round tables 44 people greeted old friends and got to know new members. We all enjoyed this stimulating afternoon, connecting us back to Bristol.

Alison will be standing down as Chair of the Cambridge Branch at the AGM in October. Alumni interested in the role are asked to please email

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