When we think about the University of Oxford and Cambridge, one of the most common thoughts we get is just how intimidating and exciting both universities are! Intimidating because it definitely is hard to get into them and the expectations are usually quite high. But also exciting because these universities are everything every college going student dreams of starting from the academics and courses to the extracurriculars and ambiance! But these universities are much more than all this. They are constant reminders of the great people they’ve educated- people who have made revolutionary changes to our world, made it simpler and much more interesting, and have become brave, influential leaders and role models. This blog looks into a few of these notable, remarkable alumni to help motivate you further and make you understand just why these universities are so prestigious.
1. HM King Abdullah II of Jordan (Oxford University)- Abdullah was a constitutional monarch who liberalized the economy. His reforms led to an economic boom that lasted until 2008. In 2011, huge scope fights requesting change ejected in the Bedouin world. Although many of the protests resulted in civil wars in other nations, Abdullah swiftly reacted to domestic unrest by overthrowing the government and enacting changes to the constitution and laws governing elections and public freedoms. Abdullah is known for promoting interfaith dialogue and a moderate understanding of Islam, and he is popular both locally and internationally for preserving Jordanian stability. The longest-serving current Middle Easterner pioneer, he was respected by the Regal Islamic Key Examinations Community as the most compelling Muslim on the planet in 2016 and positioned fifth in 2022 and 2023
2. David Attenborough (University of Cambridge)- Sir David Frederick Attenborough An English broadcaster, naturalist, biologist, and author. He is best known for writing and presenting the nine natural history documentaries that make up the Life collection, an in-depth look at all of Earth’s animals and plants, in collaboration with the BBC Natural History Unit.
Attenborough was a senior manager at the BBC. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was director of programming for BBC Television and controller of BBC Two. His filmography as a writer, presenter, and narrator spans eight decades, beginning in 1954 with his role as host of Zoo Quest. Natural World, Wildlife on One, the Planet Earth series, The Blue Planet, and its sequel are all included. He is the only person to have won BAFTA Awards in high definition, 3D, 4K, black and white, and color. He has received numerous honorary degrees and awards throughout his life, including three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Narration.
In contrast to his earlier works, which were more concerned with the wonders of nature, his later works have been more vocal in their support of environmental causes.
3. Monica Ali, author (Oxford University)- British author Monica Ali FRSL was born on October 20, 1967, and she is of English and Bangladeshi descent. Using her unpublished manuscript, Granta magazine named her one of the “Best of Young British Novelists” in 2003; Brick Lane, her debut novel, was published later that year. It made the Man Booker Prize shortlist. The 2007 film of the same name was based on it. She has also written three more books. Love Marriage, her fifth novel, was released by Virago Press in February 2022 and became a Sunday Times bestseller right away.
4. Charles Darwin (University of Cambridge)- Darwin completed the Copernican Revolution by introducing biology to the concept of nature as a system of matter in motion governed by natural laws, which was his greatest contribution to science. The science of organisms’ origins and adaptations was made possible by Darwin’s discovery of natural selection. Without relying on an Intelligent Designer, the adaptive characteristics of organisms could now be explained by natural processes, just like the phenomena of the inanimate world. The “design” of organisms and their amazing diversity are explained by Darwin’s theory of natural selection, which also helps us understand the complex world we live in.
5. Rajiv Gandhi (University of Cambridge)- At the age of 40, Bharat Ratna Rajiv Gandhi was India’s youngest prime minister. The young leader made sincere efforts to bring the country into the 21st century during his five years as president, from 1984 to 1989.
Rajiv Gandhi laid the groundwork for today’s India upon his return from the United Kingdom following his graduation from the University of Cambridge. He left behind a modern mark. The “Father of Information Technology and Telecom Revolution of India” is Rajiv Gandhi. He is legitimately known as the engineer of computerized India.
Under his administration he improved and developed a good communication system in Indian towns and even villages where they were connected to the outside world. Rajiv Gandhi wanted to empower young people. To that end, the Constitution’s 61st Amendment Act of 1989 lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years old. Youths were able to participate in the selection of state Lok Sabha MPs and MLAs thanks to this action. Rajiv Gandhi as state head reported Public Strategy on Schooling (NPE) in 1986 to modernize and extend advanced education programs the nation over.
6. Zeinab Badawi, journalist and broadcaster (Oxford University)- After graduating from Oxford University, Badawi worked as a researcher and broadcast journalist for Yorkshire TV from 1982 to 1986. She then joined Channel 4 News in 1988, where she co-presented until she joined the BBC in 1998. At the BBC, Badawi worked as a presenter and reporter for Westminster live political programs for five years. She also presented The World Tonight on Radio 4 on a regular basis and Newshour on the BBC World Service. Badawi became the new host of BBC Four’s The World in 2005. This was the first daily news program in the United Kingdom that primarily covered international news. The program was renamed World News Today in May 2007 and can also be seen on the BBC World News channel. In the Annual Media Awards, which are the international media excellence awards that are organized by the Association for International Broadcasting, Badawi was named International TV Personality of the Year in November 2009. Since 2010, she has presented on BBC World News, BBC News Channel, and BBC News at Five. In July 2011, Badawi was given an honorary doctorate by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). In August 2018, she was given the President’s Medal of the British Academy “for her contributions to international political journalism”.
7. Isaac Newton (University of Cambridge)- His discovery of the composition of white light laid the groundwork for modern physical optics and integrated color phenomena into the science of light. The universal gravitation law was derived from his three laws of motion in mechanics, which serve as the foundation of contemporary physics. He was the first person to discover the infinitesimal calculus in mathematics. One of modern science’s most significant single works was Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, 1687)
8. Kate Barker, economist (Oxford University)- British economist Dame Katharine Mary Barker, DBE FAcSS, was born in 1957. She is most well-known for her work at the Bank of England and for providing social policy advice to the British government on housing and health care.
Between the years 1981 and 1985, she worked as a research officer at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. From 1985 to 1994, she was the chief European economist at the Ford Motor Company in Brentwood. She served as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s chief economic adviser from 1994 to 2001. She was also a member of the HM Treasury’s Panel of Independent Economic Advisers from 1996 to 1997. Barker was also a non-executive director of the Yorkshire Building Society from 1999 to April 2001. On June 1, 2001, he was made an external member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee. In order to achieve the government’s inflation target, the MPC is in charge of setting interest rates. She is the only outside member of the MPC to have served three terms.
9. Dame Josephine Barnes, first female President of the British Medical Association (Oxford University)- She was given a job at the Samaritan Hospital when the Second World War started. She led a mobile obstetric team from University College Hospital beginning in 1947. Barnes was the first woman to become a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist at Charing Cross Hospital in 1954 and the first woman to serve as President of the British Medical Association from 1979 to 1980.
She also served as President of the Royal British Nurses’ Association, Chairman of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital Appeal Trust, and President of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Obstetrics and Gynecology (now known as the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women’s Health) from 1977 to 1995. She was an active participant in the public debate regarding the Abortion Act of 1967. In 1988, she was elected president of the Osler Club of London. In 1994, she gave the Hunterian Oration at the Hunterian Society. Somewhere in the range of 1995 and 1996, Barnes was leader of the Historical backdrop of Medication Society at the Imperial Society of Medicine.
10. Stephen Hawking (University of Cambridge)- After graduating, Hawking continued his education at Cambridge, first as a professional fellow and then as a research fellow. He was elected to the Royal Society, a worldwide organization for scientists, in 1974. He was given the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics position at Cambridge in 1979, which is the most well-known academic chair in the world. Sir Isaac Newton, who is also a member of the Royal Society, holds the position in second place. After it had been assumed that nothing could be known about black holes, theoretical efforts to define their characteristics were greatly sparked by Hawking’s work. His work was also significant because it demonstrated the connection between these properties and the principles of quantum mechanics and classical thermodynamics.
11. Sir Lennox Berkeley, composer (Oxford University)- Rich melodies and an aptitude for orchestral texture distinguish Berkeley’s works. The Divertimento (1943), a highly polished orchestral work, and the Piano Sonata (1945), which demonstrates his subtle use of harmony, are among his more notable compositions. Additionally, he is well-known for his vocal music, much of it religious in nature, such as the 1947 Stabat Mater, composed for Britten’s English Opera Group. He composed music for specific performers like oboist Janet Craxton and guitarist Julian Bream. Nelson (1954) and Ruth (1956) are two of his operas.
12. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web (Oxford University)- The World Wide Web’s inventor is English computer scientist Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee. Berners-Lee is a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a professorial research fellow at the University of Oxford. He proposed an information management system on March 12, 1989, and he implemented the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the Internet in mid-November. Berners-Lee is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is in charge of the Web’s ongoing development. The World Wide Web Foundation was co-founded by him. He is a senior researcher at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and holds the 3Com founder’s chair. He is also a director of the Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI) and a member of the advisory board of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. He was appointed to the board of trustees of the Ford Foundation in 2011. He is the founder and president of the Open Data Institute, and he is currently an advisor.
He was honored as the “Inventor of the World Wide Web” during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, in which he was seen working with a vintage NeXT Computer. Berners-Lee was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 for his pioneering work.He was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.
13. Alan Turing (University of Cambridge)- Even though Turing is best known for breaking codes at Bletchley Park, his legacy extends far beyond his wartime contributions. Perceived by a larger number of people as an early trailblazer of present day registering, his work on calculations, processing hardware and man-made reasoning have impacted the manner in which we live today. He was able to demonstrate the value of data collection and the significance of statistics to making informed decisions at Bletchley Park and beyond. This frame of mind; The manner in which governments around the world have utilized data to combat the coronavirus pandemic has been significantly influenced by calculating probabilities and employing plausible reasoning when making decisions. During the second world war, Alan Turing was credited with developing the first modern computers, deciphering the encryption of German Enigma machines, and outlining a procedure known as the Turing Test that served as the foundation for artificial intelligence.
14. Dr Ian Bostridge, opera singer (Oxford University)- He was honored as the “Inventor of the World Wide Web” during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, in which he was seen working with a vintage NeXT Computer. Berners-Lee was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 for his pioneering work. He was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.
In conclusion, Oxford and Cambridge have been the origin stories of some of the world’s best leaders and they’ve helped these people realize their interests and passions. Oxford and Cambridge are much more than academics- they inculcate several other skills (as demonstrated by the diversity in the professions of these alumni) and give them as much importance as academics. These universities encourage a diverse range of interests and passions and make it a point to turn these dreams into realities.