Science Summer Programme2016 Science SPL 200x155 72dpi

Term I: 3 – 16 July 2016
Term II: 17 – 30 July 2016
Programme Directors: Dr Ed Turner, Dr Judith Croston,
Dr Lisa Jardine-Wright and Dr James Grime

We draw on the expertise of senior academics at Cambridge, to offer courses in a variety of scientific fields. This programme is suitable for undergraduates and graduates in sciences, as well as teachers and other professionals. The programme also welcomes those with a strong interest, but with little formal science training.

Academic programme

  • One special subject course per week
  • Plenary course P01:
    Life at the Limits
  • Practical sessions
  • Evening talks

Special subject courses

Each course meets five times. You may choose to follow a particular track by selecting courses in related subject fields, but an interdisciplinary approach is also encouraged.

Term I:

Week 1: 11.00am – 12.45pm

P02 - Conservation biology
P03 - An introduction to social psychology 
P04 - Sustainable fluid dynamics
P05 - Manufacturing: making ideas work

Week 2: 11.00am – 12.45pm

P06 - Celestial physics: laws of nature on the grandest scale
P07 - Spectroscopy: light and matter
P08 - Autism: a modern epidemic?
P09 - How does your immune system work?

Term II:

Week 1: 11.00am – 12.45pm

P10 - Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases
P11 - Geological disasters: earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis and megafloods
P12 - An introduction to animal behaviour
P13 - Curious physics: problem-solving with physics and maths

Week 2: 11.00am – 12.45pm

P14 - Codes, ciphers and secrets: an introduction to cryptography
P15 - The physics of optical illusions
P16 - Unveiling the universe   
P17 - Fossils, evolution and the history of life

Plenary lectures

All participants are registered for a course of plenary lectures entitled Life at the Limits. Lectures from specialists will cover such topics as: the physiology of exploration, evolution, life in extreme situations, extinctions, stem cell research, and many more. Invited speakers include:

Bryan Lintott: Antarctica: living in a hostile environment
Dr Andrew Murray: Life at the limits: the physiology of exploration
Dr Andrew Murray: Man in the mountains
Professor Jim Haseloff: Plants for Mars
Professor Lloyd Peck: Life in extremes: adaptations of Antarctic marine mammals
Dr Michael Ramage: Super-tall timber: impossibly high wooden skyscrapers

Practical sessions

Practical sessions take place on three afternoons each week, and are likely to include ecological, geological, and botanical 'trails' along with visits to institutes, collections and laboratories in Cambridge.

Evening science-related and general talks

These provide introductions to additional aspects of science and to subjects of general interest. Invited speakers include:

Dr James Grime: The Enigma code-breaking machine
Dr Lucilla Burn: Celebrating 200 years: the Fitzwilliam Museum, 1816-2016
Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill: New light on Rome
Michael Wood: Travels on the Silk Road
Professor Paul Cartledge: The roots of democracy

A typical day

On each weekday morning you attend a plenary lecture, followed by a class from your special subject course. Workshops take place on some afternoons. Subject specific and joint lectures are offered in the evenings.

College accommodation

Accommodation is available for participants who want to stay in a Cambridge College. Please see the accommodation options and accommodation fees available for this programme.

Non-residential attendance is also available if participants prefer to find their own lodgings.

Information for applicants

Programme calendar (pdf version, 32KB)
Who can apply
How to apply (pdf version, 90KB)
What happens next?
Tuition and accommodation fees (pdf versions, 46KB and 42KB)
Language requirements
Visa guidance
Booking terms and conditions


The quickest way to apply is by using our secure online booking system. You can also apply by downloading an application form (pdf) and sending it by post or fax.