Activities and Events June 16, 2022 by St Giles

Five Amazing Discoveries That Happened in Cambridge

Cambridge is undeniably well-known for its legendary University, ranked the 4th best university in the world. You might also have heard that Cambridge is notable for its scientists.

The city is proud of being the home of famous thinkers for the last 500 years, including the discovery of the structure of DNA, Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the Black Hole, and many more! Let’s look at five of the most important ones that have changed our lives forever but which you might never have heard of before!


Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash

DISCOVERY 1 – The Reflecting Telescope in 1688

Isaac Newton (also known for the Gravity Theory in 1687) developed the first practical reflecting telescope, also called “The Newtonian.” Thanks to this telescope, we have been able to identify that white light is composed of a spectrum of colors. It has later renamed the Science of Color. Visit the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge for more discoveries!

Photo by Pavlo Kochan on Unsplash

DISCOVERY 2 – The Rules of Football in 1848

Football is probably THE most popular sport in the world. This game was officially invented by the British in 1863, but, did you know that the rules were created in Cambridge before that? The first-ever record of the game was in 1579, but it was not until 1848 that the rules of the game were officially written down. There is a sculpture on Parker’s Piece inscribed with the original rules in 7 languages .

Photo by Karen Cann on Unsplash

DISCOVERY 3 – The Thermo Flask in 1892

Sir James Dewar, a professor of chemistry at Cambridge, invented the Vacuum Flask. Initially researching the liquefaction of gases at low temperatures, he was the first person to liquefy then solidify hydrogens. These experiments led him to the Thermos idea. After creating the first idea of a vacuum, adding two walls and silvering on the inner wall helped reflect heat and keep the liquid warm for a long time. 

Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash

DISCOVERY 4 – Artificial Intelligence in 1936

The Cambridge University mathematician, Alan Turing, is well-known for computer science and artificial intelligence. His question “can a machine think?” let to the creation of the “Turing Test” to determine whether a computer can think like a human or not. He mentioned that a computer could possess artificial intelligence if it can mimic human behavior under certain conditions.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

DISCOVERY 5 – The Hole in the Ozone Layer in 1985

The environment and the wellness of our planet are more urgent than ever. But did you know that it was scientists in Cambridge who first discovered the hole in the Ozone Layer? The Ozone layer is a shield in the sky protecting us from solar radiation. Jonathan Shanklin, Brian Gardiner, and Joe Farman were part of the British Antarctic Survey team. They detected abnormal low levels in the ozone layer in Antarctica; it is where it all started. This discovery has certainly impacted our current lives.

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

These fantastic discoveries and many others make Cambridge a fascinating hub of discovery, with scientific and technological and we hope to see you soon at St Giles Cambridge. Have a look below at our amazing social programme! https://www.instagram.com/stgiles_cambridge/