Mathematical Modelling in Sport: Competition Results

Following the pair of Pre-GCSE Inspire talks delivered by Dr Tom Crawford on Mathematical Modelling in Sport – ‘How to take the perfect penalty’ and ‘Maths and the Marathon’ – we’re delighted to announce the winners of the two competitions following these classes! Both competitions were about how we can use Maths to help make…

Competition AH3: winning entries

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition AH3, based on Professor Nicholas Jones’s lecture ‘How Do People Persist Through Time?’. Below you can read some of the winning entries, as selected by our team of markers. The challenge: Imagine that scientists have created a “Teletransporter” machine. It works by scanning your body,…

Competition S3: winning entries

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition S3, based on Professor Charles Newton’s Going Further challenge on the topic ‘Meandering Through Medicine’. Below you can read the winning entry, selected by our team of markers. Kuba’s winning entry Why autism may have increased in the past few decades Autism doesn’t…

Competition 4.12 Results 2021

hank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition 12: Leisure and Technological Change! You can see some of the winning entries below. 1st place (Year 10): Fatima I. Fatima’s winning entry Rise of the Planet of Tech. Wake up, Twitter. School, Teams. Free time, Netflix. Today’s generation is like no other for…

Competition 4.11 Results 2021

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition 11: Poetry! You can see some of the winning entries below. 1st place (Year 10): May F. May’s winning entry Circa 750 to 650, Hesiod, an ancient Greek poet, wrote poetry. He focused on humanity and its autochthony (The Oxford English Dictionary describes this…

Competition 4.10 Results 2021

Thank you very much to those who submitted an entry to Competition 10: Greek & Roman Thinking! For this competition, we are delighted to award a Special Commendation Prize to Tia-Lana C. for an exceptional contribution. Tia-Lana submitted an extremely creative animated video entry which really impressed the judges – you can view the video below!…

Class 4 Competition Results 2021

Well done to everyone who submitted an entry to Class 4 of the Inspire Programme for Years 10 & 11 – the final class of this year’s programme. We received some excellent entries, and selecting winners proved tricky as always! You can click on the links below to read some of the fantastic prize-winning entries for…

St John’s Access & Admissions: Spring Update

Even though schools were closed for much of last term, the work of the St John’ Access & Admissions team continued throughout, with a wide range of virtual activities for pupils from Years 10 to 12, including the launch of a number of new programmes and initiatives, allowing hundreds of pupils to benefit from our…

‘The Magic Number’: Competition results

Following the Pre-GCSE Inspire talk delivered by Sammy Wright on ‘Why poems are like spells’, we’re delighted to announce the winners of the ‘Magic Number’ competition! This challenge was all about numbers in literature. If you look closely, there are certain numbers – such as two, three, seven, nine – which you will find recurring…

Competition S2: winning entries

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition S2, based on Professor Alan Grafen’s article on The Mathematics of Natural Selection. Given the nature of maths, it’s easy to make a minor mistake and miss out on a perfect answer; each submission was given our full consideration, and evaluated based on the overall quality of the…

Competition AH2: winning entries

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition AH2, based on Dr Samuel Derbyshire’s article on Documenting Endangered Knowledge. Below you can read some of the winning entries, as selected by our team of markers. Lauren’s winning entry Sukkot or ‘the feast of tabernacles’ was my favourite festival when I was growing up….

Class 3 Competition Results 2021

Well done to everyone who submitted an entry to Class 3 of the Inspire Programme for Years 10 & 11! We’ve been hard at work reading through all of the fantastic entries we’ve received, and are delighted to announce this month’s winners, runners-up and finalists. You can click on the links below to read some of…

Competition 3.9 Results 2021

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition 9: Mathematics of Natural Selection! Given the nature of maths, it’s easy to make a minor mistake and miss out on a perfect answer; each submission was given our full consideration, and prizes have still been awarded based on the overall quality of the entries…

Competition 3.8 Results 2021

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition 8: Evolution Puzzles! There’s more than one way of interpreting the questions – we gave each submission our full consideration. We’ve uploaded our example answers for you to see how we interpreted and tackled the questions. You can check out some of the winning entries below….

Competition 3.7 Results 2021

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition 7: Artificial Intelligence! We really enjoyed reading all of the entries that we received. Below you can see the winners, and read some of the winning entries. 1st place (Year 10): Michelle M. Michelle’s winning entry How would an AGI system react to being…

Competition AH1: winning entries

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition AH1, based on Professor Hannah Skoda’s lecture on Medieval Crime and Punishment. Below you can read some of the winning entries, as selected by our team of markers. Lily’s winning entry Crime and Punishment in the Middle Ages What was the purpose of punishment? The purpose of…

Competition S1: winning entries

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition S1, based on Dr Keno Juchems’ lecture on Artificial Intelligence. Below you can read some of the winning entries, as selected by our team of markers. Kuba’s winning entry Should a multi-national company use AI in their factories? I think the company would need to consider ethical,…

Maths Study Day

On Monday the 22nd of March, Professor Stuart White (Tutorial Fellow in Mathematics), along with the Access team, hosted a virtual Maths Study Day for high-achieving Year 12 students from non-selective state schools across the UK. 39 students logged on to hear our Access Officer Dr Maryanne Saunders present a talk on life at Oxford…

St John’s Inspire Programme for Years 10 & 11: Class 4

It’s now time for Class 4, the final class of our Inspire Programme for Years 10 & 11: you’ll find the new class at the Year 11 webpage. For this final class of the year, we examine culture and history through the lens of evolution. We will begin by looking at how theories of evolution…

Evolution in Greek and Roman thinking about human society

The philosophers of the ancient world were fascinated with the environment and how it affected the development of human society. Dr Georgy Kantor discusses the merits and problems of their thoughts – and whether any similar assumptions can be found in modern political thought. Is my title paradoxical? Darwin’s theory of evolution was of course…

Biblical evidence does not support creationism

How did the world come into being? How did life originate on Earth? Opposing theories of evolution and creationism have sparked large debates on the topic. In this article, Professor Katherine Southwood looks at Biblical evidence for theories other than creationism. Biblical scholars engage with Biblical texts. This primary evidence exists in multiple copies and…

Ancient poetry and evolution

We don’t often think of art and poetry as historical evidence – but they often give us a view into the ideas held at the time. In this article, Dr Emma Greensmith discusses three poems which describe different creation myths. When one thinks of ancient evidence for ideas about evolution, what examples come to mind?…

Year 12 Inspire Programme Update

We are pleased to announce that the Year 12 Inspire programme had almost 100 applications this year! We will be letting applicants know very soon. Join the ongoing programme! Places are still available to join our ongoing programme. If you are interested in applying or finding out more, click here to view the Year 12…

Class 2 Competition Results 2021

Well done to everyone who submitted an entry to Class 2 of the Inspire Programme for Years 10 & 11! Once again, we received lots of very high-quality entries, and our markers had a tough time choosing the winners, runners up, and finalists – so congratulations to everybody who has won a prize! You can click…

Competition 2.6 Results 2021

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition 6: Carolingian Minuscule! We really enjoyed looking through some of the very creative responses to deciphering this very old text – here you can see some of the winning entries, as selected by the St John’s College Librarian, Dr Petra Hoffman, who wrote this…

Competition 2.5 Results 2021

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition 5: What even are words any more? – we received lots of really interesting and insightful pieces of writing, some of which you can see below, as selected by our team of markers! 1st place (Year 10): Jacob W. Jacob’s winning entry The American…

Competition 2.4 Results 2021

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition 4: Language evolution! We really enjoyed reading all of the entries that we received. Below you can read some of the winning entries, as selected by Professor Carolyne Larrington, who wrote this class’s article on the evolution of language! 1st place (Year 10): Amy…

Choosing Oxford

Are you thinking of applying for undergraduate study at Oxford or supporting someone who is? Choosing Oxford is the new newsletter from Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach. Sign up for all the latest information about applying to Oxford, news on undergraduate admissions, events and other opportunities from Oxford University.

Year 10 Class 7: Competition results

We’re delighted to announce the winners of the latest set of Pre-GCSE Inspire competitions for the term! In Class 7, Adaptation and the Human Mind, we returned to evolution in science, looking again at some of the themes we first explored earlier in the course. We discussed what is meant by terms such as ‘genetics’,…

The Mathematics of Natural Selection

How do we use mathematics to study natural selection? In this article, we will derive equations that will help us to calculate the probability of a gene being passed down in a population. You’ll even get the chance to try these equations out for yourself! Professor Alan Grafen, Tutorial Fellow in Quantitative Biology

The Evolution of Gas Turbines

A gas turbine is a type of combustion engine that can convert fuel into energy. How does this work, and how did this manner of producing energy come about? Read on to learn about how gas turbines evolved, and what role they play in our lives now… The Basic Principles Gas turbines use the possibility…

How did brain development evolve to produce the human brain?

How could evolution produce a highly complex, efficient and still-evolving structure such as the human brain? In this article we look at the evolution of the brain across humans as well as other creatures to begin solving this mystery. Charles Darwin stated, “community in embryonic structure reveals community of descent.” Thus, to understand how the…

Addiction

In previous articles in this class, we have learned about some of the many mysteries around the workings of the human brain. In this article we will examine a slightly more well-understood change that can happen in the brain: addiction. Addiction, when a behaviour becomes compulsive despite negative consequences, is a chronic disease which involves…

Class 1 Competition Results 2021

Well done to everyone who submitted an entry to Class 1 of the Inspire Programme for Years 10 & 11! The quality of entries we received was extremely high – so high in fact that we ended up awarding even more prizes than we had planned! You can click on the links below to read some…

Competition 1.3 Results 2021

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition 3: Evolution of flight! Here you can see some of the winning entries, as selected by our team of markers. 1st place (Year 10): Lili S Lili’s winning entry 1st place (Year 11): Melanie H. Melanie’s winning entry The evolution of birds, and their…

Competition 1.2 Results 2021

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition 2: Create your own organism. We had great fun looking through the very creative inventions of our programme participants! Below you can see some of the winning entries, as selected by our team of markers. 1st place (Year 10): Amy A. & Jessica T….

Competition 1.1 Results 2021

Thank you very much to everyone who submitted an entry to Competition 1: The fossil record! Below you can read some of the winning entries, as selected by our team of markers. 1st place (Year 10): Vienna D. & Eleanor G. Vienna’s winning entry Palaeontologists estimate that only around 1% of all animals to have ever…

Year 10 Class 6: Competition results

We’re delighted to announce the winners of the latest set of Pre-GCSE Inspire competitions for 2021! In Class 6, Books, Literature & Leisure, we looked again at evolution through a cultural lens, exploring how books and novels have evolved through different formats, styles and practices that reflect the societies producing them. We then turned to…

Human Consciousness

What is consciousness? The notion of consciousness is one of science’s big mysteries, and in this article we will begin to explore what we do know about what consciousness is, how it evolves and how it affects our daily realities. The mystery of human consciousness has plagued the minds of scientists and philosophers alike for…

St John’s Inspire Programme for Years 10 & 11: Class 2

It’s now time to move on to Class 2 of our Inspire Programme for Years 10 & 11: you’ll find the new class at the Year 11 webpage. In the previous class, we learned about evolution as a driver of biological change. But other kinds of change function in quite similar ways, and today we…

Year 10 Class 5: Competition results

We’re delighted to announce the winners of the first set of Pre-GCSE Inspire competitions for 2021! Class 5, Evolution and Volcanoes in review, was a little different from previous classes: we looked back at some of the topics we’ve covered over our last two themes stretching back to the summer school – ‘What is the…

Leisure and technological change

As culture has evolved, so has the way we spend our leisure time. Dr Severine Toussaert investigates how the evolution of technology has impacted our leisure time – and how the digital economy affects the leisure economy.

The evolution of the book: A brief history

For over 1,600 years, the book has existed as a collection of rectangular sheets of parchment or paper with text and/or illustrations, folded into pages, bound together, and covered by a binding.

St John’s Inspire Programme for Years 10 & 11: Class 1

Dear Year 10 and 11 pupils, We hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season and New Year’s! We’re excited to welcome you back to the Year 10 and 11 Inspire Programme with the first class materials. Today we are excited to release the first class materials for our Year 10 and 11 Inspire Programme. This…

Adaptation

Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection states that the adaptations of an organism to its environment arise because of the greater chance of survival of those offspring that have a favourable variation caused by random mutation, which they then pass on to their offspring.

Sex and evolution

What role does sexual reproduction play in evolution? In this article, we will consider how recombination and genetic variation drive evolution.

Viral immunity

In the past year, our lives have all been disrupted because of the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus. But what is it that actually happens within our bodies and immune systems when we encounter such a virus?