Famous Cambridge people

From Cambridge University to the World.

When people think about Cambridge, the first thing that will come to mind is its University and the value that it has for both scientific discoveries and businesses in the world. So when visiting Cambridge, most will take a tour to find out more about its history and why Cambridge and its university is so renowned. By taking a 50 minutes guided punting tour in Cambridge, you will discover the history of Cambridge University and it’s significance throughout time. Passing by seven colleges, nine bridges and some of the most famous sights along the way. Your punt guide will delight you with facts and stories about the University and the famous alumni that once walked its corridors. The tour covers a stretch of the river called the ‘Backs’ which will take you through various points in time for both Cambridge and its University. You could also take a walking tour of the city centre to learn more about how Cambridge has become the city it is today. During a guided walking tour you will visit notable town sights such as Great St. Mary’s church, the  11th century St Benet’s Church, the historic Eagle pub and Cavendish Laboratory, where 29 Nobel prizes were earned to name but a few. Regardless if you join both tours or just a guided Cambridge punting tour you will learn about the many famous, and infamous, people that have lived, studied or worked in Cambridge, and there is quite a cast, ranging from Sir Isaac Newton, through to Alan Turing.

Cambridge University

Built in 1209, Cambridge University has a total of 31 colleges spread all around town, with their students occupying a vast swathes of the city. This iconic institution, has been responsible for some of the greatest scientific discoveries of the world. Which leads to an impressive list of Nobel Prize winners.

Sir Isaac Newton (Trinity College, 1700)

Trinity College, Famous Cambridge Person

Sir Isaac Newton was a student of advanced mathematics at Trinity College. Although, one of his most iconic discovery started the day an apple fell on top of his head, making him scream ‘EUREKA’! This unfortunate event, made Sir Isaac Newton into the founder of the universal theory of gravity. Notably, his theory is still taught in the majority of school around the word. So this theory states that the gravitational force between two bodies is proportional to the product of their masses. Yet, inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. During a guided punting tour you’ll pass by Trinity College and find out more about his studious days at the college and where the legendary apple tree once or is still standing.

Alan Turing (King’s College, 1934)

Kings College, Famous Cambridge Person

Alan Turing graduated from King’s College with a first-class honours degree on mathematics. Besides, at the age of 22 years old, he was elected as a Fellow of his college. In fact, Alan Turing was also a pioneer of theoretical computer science, as well as of artificial intelligence. Nowadays, Turing is one of the most famous alumni of King’s College. Hence, apart from what was previously mention, Turing as a fundamental piece during the WW2. As a result of is impressive knowledge, he decoded the German enigma code during the second world war. Which lead to an allied victory over Nazi Germany. As in the ‘Imitation Games’, a movie that portrays this moment, it is possible to see how he broke the code as well as the impact during the war. Kings College is also passed during a Cambridge punting tour, including the chapel, the Gibbs building and its student accommodation. During this section of the tour, your punter will inform you about Alan Turing and his importance during the WW2.

Rosalind Franklin (Newham College, 1938)

Famous Cambridge Person, DNA

Rosalind was a chemist and an x-ray crystallographer. In fact, her remarkable work is reflected over the discvery of the fine structure of coal and graphite as well as the virus structure. Although her work, was praised to an international recognition level, one of her most important discoveries, didn’t gave her the deserved recognition. Hence she was the first one to find out that DNA molecule’s had a double helix structure, over an x-ray crystallography photo of a DNA segment. However, her discovery arrived to James Watson and Francis Crick, before she had the chance to proclaim it as her own discovery. Therefore, Watson and Crick took her progress as the final proof to proclaim their own discovery. As revealed by their statement at the Eagle Pub, announcing that they had unveiled the secret of life. The Eagle pub is one of the iconic sights visited during a guided walking tour passing by the exact place where the concept of DNA was first discussed.

Stephen Hawking (Trinity Hall College, 1965)

Trinity Hall College, Famous Cambridge Person

Notably a graduate student from Trinity Hall college, who also received a research fellowship at Gonville and Caius College. During his studies, Stephen Hawking was the first one to explain the theory of cosmology by a combination of the general theory of relativity with quantum mechanics. Although he had a PhD degree in mathematics and theoretical physics, his specialisation was general relativity and cosmology. Therefore, this legendary hero of the cosmos, returned as a post graduate lecturer position, (a position previously occupied by Sir Isaac Newton) lecturing for about 30 years, at Gonville and Caius College. Trinity Hall is another college that is sighted during a punting tour, where you’ll pass the Jerwood Library.


Cambridge has produced some of the most influential people in the scientific field and it is clear to see why the Unviersity holds such a reputable status in academia. If you are visiting Cambridge and want to find out more about this historic city and its famous University then definitely book a guided punting tour or a city centre walking tour to discover, from highly trained tour guides, all about this remarkable city.

Posted on January 18th, 2020, by the Traditional Punting Company