Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is the oldest of three universities in the English city of Birmingham. It was founded in 1900 as a successor to Mason Science College, and is thus the earliest of the "Redbrick" universities. A major research-led institution, it currently has over 15,000 undergraduate and 7,000 postgraduate students.
About the university
Its main campus, in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham, is arranged around the 100m-high Chamberlain clock tower (known affectionately by students as "Old Joe"), commemorating Joseph Chamberlain, the University's first Chancellor. The Great Hall of the University is in the domed Aston Webb Building, which is named after one of its architects (the other was Ingress Bell).
The University's Selly Oak campus is a short distance to the south of the main campus. It was the home of a federation of nine higher education colleges, mainly focused on theology and education, which were integrated into the University for teaching purposes in 1999. Among these was Westhill College (later the University of Birmingham, Westhill) which merged with the University's School of Education in 2001. The University also operates on several other sites in the city.
Due to Birmingham's role as a centre of light engineering, the University traditionally had a special focus on science, engineering and commerce. It now teaches a full range of academic subjects and has five-star rating for teaching and research in several departments; additionally, it is widely regarded as making a prominent contribution to cancer studies. It is also considered as one of the best universities in the country for its sports teams.
Principal officers of the university
- The Queen holds the title of Visitor to the University.
- The Chancellor of the University, the ceremonial figurehead, is Sir Dominic Cadbury.
- The Pro-Chancellor is Lord Hannay of Chiswick.
- The Vice-Chancellor and Principal is Professor Michael Sterling
History of the university
On 23 February 1875, Sir Josiah Mason, the Birmingham industrialist and philanthropist, who made his fortune in making key rings, pens, pen nibs and electroplating, founded Mason Science College. It was this institution that would eventually form the nucleus of the University of Birmingham. In 1882 their Departments of Chemistry, Botany and Physiology were transferred to Mason Science College, soon followed by the Departments of Physics and Comparative Anatomy. The transfer of the Medical School to Mason Science College gave considerable impetus to the growing importance of that College, and in 1896, a move to incorporate it as a University College was made. As the result of the Mason University College Act 1897 it became incorporated as Mason University College on 1st January 1898, with the Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain MP becoming the President of its Court of Governors. It was largely due to Chamberlain's tireless enthusiasm that the University was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria on 24 March 1900. The Calthorpe family offered twenty-five acres (100,000 m²) of land on the Bournbrook side of their estate in July. The Court of Governors received the Birmingham University Act 1900, which put the Royal Charter into effect, on 31 May. The transfer of Mason University College to the new University of Birmingham, with Chamberlain as its first Chancellor and Sir Oliver Lodge as the first Principal, was complete.
Chancellors of the University
- 1st Rt Hon Joseph Chamberlain 1900-1914
- 2nd Rt Hon Robert Cecil 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood 1918-1944
- 3rd Rt Hon Sir Anthony Eden, Earl of Avon 1945-1973
- 4th Sir Peter Scott 1973-1983
- 5th Sir Alex Jarratt 1983-2002
- 6th Sir Dominic Cadbury 2002-present
- The Shakespeare Institute, in Stratford-upon-Avon
- The Raymond Priestley Outdoor Pursuits Centre, near Coniston in the Lake District
Other items of interest
- Birmingham is a member of the Russell Group of Universities and a founder member of Universitas 21.
- Birmingham business school is accredited by AMBA
- Birmingham University is one of the top five most popular universities in the UK.
- The University ranks in the top 100 in the world, according to the Times Higher Education Supplement (October 2004).
- The University is home to the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.
- Birmingham today produces more medical doctors than any other university in Britain
- Birmingham was the first 'campus' university
- The University has the oldest business school in England.
- Birmingham was the first civic university in England.
- Joseph Chamberlain became the first commoner in 240 years to hold the post of chancellor, and the first chancellor ever not to have been a member of the Established Church.
- The University of Birmingham Botanic Garden is a 24,000 square metree Edwardian Arts and Crafts style garden on the University's Edgbaston campus.
- The Birmingham University Guild of Students was the first purpose-built Students' Union in the country when it was built in 1930, and was a founding member of the National Unions of Students.
- Birmingham is the only university in Britain with its own train station. University (Birmingham) railway station , situated on the main campus, is on the Cross-City Line.
A full list can be seen under Category:University of Birmingham alumni.
- Walter Allen - novelist and literary critic
- The Rt Hon Baroness Amos - first black woman to sit in the British Cabinet
- Kenny Anthony - Prime Minister of St. Lucia
- The Rt Hon Hilary Armstrong MP - Chief Whip for the Government and Parliamentary Secretary at the Treasury
- Francis Aston - Nobel Prize winner
- Madeleine Carroll - film star
- Lisa Clayton - first British woman to sail single-handed around the world
- Tim Curry - actor and musician
- Spencer Davis - 1960s Pop Star
- Alex Deakin - BBC weatherman
- Roy Fisher - poet
- Dr Richard Hu - Singapore Minister of Finance from 1985-2001
- General Sir Mike Jackson KCB CBE - Chief of the General Staff, the most senior officer in the British Army.
- David Kelly - UN weapons inspector
- David Lodge - novelist
- Captain Adrian Nance OBE - Commanding Officer, HMS Ark Royal
- Sir Paul Nurse - Nobel Prize winner
- C. J. Sansom - crime novelist
- Chris Tarrant - TV presenter
- Sir Ernest Titterton - nuclear physicist involved in the development of the atomic bomb
- Henry Treece - poet and novelist
- Sir John Vane, FRS - Nobel Prize winner
- Rodolfo Neri Vela - Mexican astronaut
- The Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe MP - former cabinet minister
- Victoria Wood - comedian
- Francis Brett Young - novelist and poet
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