Of Schemes and Memes Blog

Mapping Science: Cambridge, UK

The sixth map in our series shows the city of Cambridge, one of Europe’s powerhouses of science. At the heart of this small city is one of the world’s oldest and most eminent universities. Indeed, the University of Cambridge can lay claim to more Nobel Prizes than any other institution, with 87 affiliates receiving a prize (74 of them for scientific endeavours).

View Cambridge Map of Science in a larger map

The roll-call of famous Cambridge scientists is also peerless. Isaac Newton, of course, performed many of his world-changing experiments and theoretical leaps while affiliated to the University, and held the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics from 1669 to 1702. That position has since been held by the likes of Charles Babbage, Paul Dirac and Stephen Hawking.

But the list just keeps going and going. This is the city where isotopes and the electron was discovered, both courtesy of J. J. Thompson. It is the home of the Cavendish Laboratory, where such luminaries as James Clerk Maxwell, Lord Rayleigh, Ernest Rutherford, Max Perutz and Dortothy Hodgkin made their mark. And, most famously of all, the double-helical structure of DNA was first elucidated by James Watson and Francis Crick. Throw in John Herschel, Charles Darwin, Niels Bohr, Alan Turing, Florey and Chain, Hans Krebs and Frederick Sanger, and it seems like almost every important scientist in history passed through Cambridge at one time.

The map, created by Michelle Brook, does a good job of representing the scientific topology of Cambridge. Michelle has picked out all the scientific departments of the university, as well as the cloud of important institutes and organisations who cluster in the city. She’s also highlighted (in blue) a large number of museums and cultural institutions concerned with the sciences. And, of course, any visitor to Cambridge should seek out the Eagle pub (marked on the map), where Watson and Crick announced that they’d discovered ‘the secret of life’.

Although this map is packed with detail, we welcome additions (and any scientific trivia concerning Cambridge) in the comments.

If you’d like to put together a map of science in your own city or region, please contact Matt Brown (i.am.mattbrown – at – gmail.com) for assistance.

Previous maps




New York

San Francisco


  1. Report this comment

    Eva Amsen said:

    The BRCA2 cycle path isn’t on there! =D

    (I already discussed this GRAVE OMISSION with Michelle yesterday, heh.)

    The start marker is right along the train tracks, just south-west of Addenbrooke’s, and the path then follows the train tracks all the way to where the train meets Graham’s Road in Great Shelford.

  2. Report this comment

    Eva Amsen said:

    Oh, and now people can see how far out of the action my office is! I’m in one of the far-away yellow markers. [waves]

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