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Serpentarius contains important information about what is happening in the Department and staff news. It is published fortnightly on Wednesdays during term-time.

Wednesday 19th November 2014

In this issue

Department News


University News


Department News

Newcomers' Welcome Party and Professor's Award for Outstanding Contribution

Over 90 members of staff attended this year's newcomers' welcome party, held in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology on November 13th. As well as welcoming new staff and students to the Department, Michael also took the opportunity to congratulate various people on the achievements of the past year. These can be found in the Pensioners' Newsletter that we send to retired staff each year.

The award for going that extra mile for the Department in the past year was shared by Bob Carter, maintenance man extraordinaire, and Julian Jacobs, our indefatigable Departmental Administrator, who has been consistently nominated for this award year after year.

Their nominees wrote:

Bob MEANov14“Bob is always in a cheery mood …... and is always extremely helpful.   You can always contact Bob if you are stuck with a maintenance issue and he is happy to help. This last month he has had a particularly grotty job in removing the flooring in the gent’s toilets on the 1st floor.   As usual Bob just got on with it and joked about it not being very pleasant. ……  I think it would be nice if he could be recognised for all the hard work he does in the form of this award.”   

Since I arrived here in Zoology, Bob has been the most helpful person, when you need help with anything.  He never says no and always gets jobs done.”

Julian MEANov14Julian is always helpful, sympathetic, approachable, professional and actually cares about what my colleagues and I think and feel about every aspect of the Department. I never feel as if I am a burden when I ask him for help or advice; he always goes out of his way to fix any problem everyone approaches him with and he does so happily, efficiently and with our best interests at heart. Julian is a real asset and is super nice to boot!”

I'd like to nominate Julian Jacobs - for his warmth in dealing with each of us, for his integrity in wanting to make life in the Dept better for everyone, for the modesty with which he does such an important job in the Dept, and for his utter dedication to doing his job well. We are fantastically lucky to have him as our Dept Administrator.” 


The Janet Moore Prize for supervising in Zoology

In memory of Janet, we would like to fund a modest annual prize in her name to recognize an outstanding contribution to undergraduate supervision by a non-UTO. This seems appropriate since Janet herself made an enormous contribution to supervising in the Department and a prize would help us to acknowledge how much we rely on the skills and enthusiasm of non-UTOs, like Janet, who do this work for us.

In practice, the prize would be for Part II supervising, since this is really the only area of supervision over which the Department has some control. Janet's family and Murray Edwards College are fully supportive of this idea. Murray Edwards is also establishing a Janet Moore Fund to support Natural Sciences students at the College.

Contributions are now invited as cash or cheques in envelopes marked "Janet Moore Prize" and sent to Julian Jacobs or left in Zoology Reception. Cheques should be made payable to "The University of Cambridge".

William Foster, Helen Skaer, Andrew Balmford


Department Christmas Party

It is time to start marking the date in your diaries and planning your prize-winning fancy dress costume for this major social event…

The party will be held on Friday 12th December in the Elementary Lab, from 12:30pm. The theme is ARCTIC EXPEDITION. So come prepared to have a really cool time (sorry, bad pun…) with themed food, drink and games.

There will also be a quiz and raffle!

Tickets are now on sale. These can be purchased from the main Zoology reception and from Madingley. Tickets are “early bird” £5 until 5th December, then £6 in the week before the party.

We hope to see you there!

Your party organisers, the first year graduate students.


Postdocs' Staff Review and Development challenge

Our postdoc committee recognises the benefit to postdocs' career development of having a formal review with your PI, and therefore urges all postdocs in the Department to arrange for yours to take place by the Christmas Party, i.e. 12th December. 

Senior staff have been made aware of this, and will be expecting to hear from you soon to arrange a meeting!


Christmas and New Year departmental closure

Wednesday 24 December will be a working day.  The Department will be closed 25 December – 1 January 2015 inclusive.  The Department will re-open on Friday 2 January 2015.  Staff should be aware, however, that not all department services and functions will operate normally on 2 January (Reception, for example, will be closed).  Staff intending to work on 2 January may be reassured that the heating will have been switched on 24 hours beforehand.


Library News

There is a new rare book on display in the Library. For further information, see the Current Display link on the Special Collections page of the Library website.










Museum News

Ocean Song project

Finback Whales by Angela M. Wade
As part of the Museum’s redevelopment, we are reaching out and engaging with new audiences. 15th November saw the launch of one of our major outreach projects: Ocean Song. Through a series of workshops we will be collecting voices from communities across Cambridge and beyond. Award-winning sound recorder and artist Chris Watson (who you may know from his work on David Attenborough’s “Life” series) will be combining these with recordings of natural sounds to create an atmospheric sound installation to accompany the Finback Whale skeleton in its new home. We have an Ocean Song blog, where you can follow the progress of the project and see how you can get involved too:

If you would like to know more, do get in touch.

This project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and by the Arts Council England through a Grant for the Arts.


University News

Graduate Barometer student survey

Calling all students! Please fill out this quick careers survey to input your views to graduate recruiters, and win £500 Amazon vouchers, tea for two at Fitzbillies or a year's Spotify Premium subscription in the process:


Cambridge University Assistants’ Contributory Pension Scheme Annual Members’ Meeting

The annual meeting of the Members of the Cambridge University Assistants’ Contributory Pension Scheme has been arranged for Friday 5 December 2014 at 12.30pm in Mill Lane Lecture Room 3 and will last for approximately one hour.

Any members of the Scheme who wish to attend this meeting are encouraged to do so.