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Cambridge 800 in Pembroke College
800 years in the making; 18 months in the planning. Welcome to the University of Cambridge's 800th anniversary celebrations - Cambridge 800 is a year-long event showcasing the very best of its past, present and future...
Happy birthday to our fine University!
Over the coming year, the University of Cambridge will be opening its doors as never before in celebration of 800 years of the kind of education and innovation that has helped secure its reputation as one of the finest universities in the world.
Bell ringing at Cambridge University
You may have noticed the banners festooning streetlights around the city, across bridges and on The Backs, advertising the 800 celebrations. There are 200 of these banners, so if you haven't spotted them yet, you soon will - and they'll stay in place for the entire year.
Ringing in the 800th year of the University
The celebrations have already kicked off in style, with a lightshow featuring projections including artwork specially commissioned for the event by the illustrator Quentin Blake (he of Roald Dahl fame), and an ex-Downing College student.
Copyright Quentin Blake 2008
The show, projected onto the walls of the Senate House and Old Schools was a stunning sight accompanied by bells from many of the city's churches and college chapels ringing out touches of 800 changes especially composed for the occasion by Clare College alumnus Phil Earis.
Bells joined in with this new composition from churches across the world, including Canada, the USA and Australia, marking the start of this very special year.
Quentin Blake talks about the lightshow
Artist Quentin Blake spoke to BBC Look East presenter about the lightshow, the artwork he created for it, and his memories of being a student at the University of Cambridge. "It's a great memory for me," he says. "A huge step forward in my education. It altered my whole attitude to education and reading."
Watch Quentin Blake talking to Susie Fowler-Watt by clicking on the link below:
We also spoke to Professor Jeremy Sanders, who knows everything there is to know about the University's history, achievements, students and its place within the city - not because he's 800 years old himself, but because he's in charge of making sure that Year 800 goes with a bang!
He explains to our Breakfast Show presenter, Jeremy Sallis, why this is such an important landmark for the University of Cambridge and what they're hoping to achieve during the coming year.
Banner - copyright H Rice
The slogan for this anniversary is "Transforming Tomorrow". Professor Sanders explains that the University has been transforming the world through the ideas and innovations of its students and staff - from Darwin and Newton, to the development of test tube babies - not to mention the actors, writers and performers who have honed their craft here in Cambridge.
"The University is more than the stereotyped images of punting and May Balls," he says.
And that's exactly what the 800th anniversary year is setting out to prove to us all.
You can listen to the full interview with Professor Sanders by clicking on the link below:
More information on the history of the University and its 800th anniversary
Watch BBC Look East presenter Kim Riley's report on the importance of the University within the city, as well as the academic community - including the global influence of its 31 colleges, on this link:
And Susie Fowler-Watt looks at the history of the University and its effects on all of our lives from the discovery of DNA to football rules. "You're very aware that you're standing on the shoulders of giants," says the University's Dr Andrew Lacey...
last updated: 19/01/2009 at 13:09
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