Education: Ancient & Adaptable

Every morning at Cambridge University, 3,401 budding scientists peer into electron microscopes or ponder the dynamics of rocket propulsion in air-conditioned labs that gleam with ultramodern glass and aluminum. Then, with medieval black gowns flapping, they ride off on rusty bicycles to another world: lunch with 3,751 arts undergraduates (never "students") fresh from reading Sophocles and Shakespeare in a library built by Christopher Wren. Soon scientists and classicists are sunk in shabby armchairs before gasping gas heaters, sipping sherry with their tutors. All around them is a happy blend of past and future:...

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