Elephants rarely get cancer: less than 5% of captive elephants die of cancer, compared to 20% of humans. Elephant genomes have at least 20 copies of the tumour suppressor, p53, which may explain their low cancer rates relative to humans, who have only one copy.
My name is Helen and I’m about to start studying Natural Sciences (Physical) at Murray Edwards College. Never thinking I stood a chance of getting a place, I honestly can’t believe I’m only a few weeks away from going to Cambridge. Studying natural sciences will give me a broad understanding before specialising in the third year; my current plan is to choose astrophysics and hopefully continue into research. A range of modules in the first year allows me to pick topics that interest me and perhaps focus on those most beneficial for studying astrophysics. Murray Edwards runs an offer holder overnight stay where I was able to sleep in student accommodation, attend lectures, go to a formal hall and meet other students as well as my Director of Studies. This was a wonderful opportunity to soak in the atmosphere of the college and get to know the other offer holders. It was a comfort to find that I was not the only person who was worried they might struggle with their course!
Discovering that Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who first detected radio pulsars, attended Murray Edwards is a huge motivation for me. It will be incredible to study and live at the same college as such brilliant woman as her.
Nothing is more fascinating than science and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to study it throughout my degree. Science stretches your imagination to the limit. Let’s take an example that is right there in front of all of us to see. Go out on a clear night and you will see stars. One of the stars you might know is the Pole Star, or Polaris, which is a whopping 3,784,211,360,000,000 kilometres away. What a ridiculous distance! Due to the immense scale of space the lightyear is used as a unit of distance measurement and is equivalent to 9,460,528,400,000 kilometres.
One step further, with a small telescope you can even see objects that are a billion lightyears away. You need to have a strong imagination to even have a chance of comprehending these enormous distances. The excitement for me is that this generates so many questions, plus the laboratory is out there in front of us all and easily accessible.
Providing a beautiful backdrop for my studies, Cambridge’s great facilities and support from my college and peers will, I’m sure, bring out my best. Small group tutorials will really help me get to grips with course content. Becoming much more independent and stretching myself further is a part of college life to which I’m really looking forward.