N Ireland School Visits 2015

In February representatives from the University of Oxford will be visiting schools in N Ireland with the aim of encouraging students to consider applying to Oxford.

Each event involves a presentation covering all aspects of student life and the admissions process in Oxford, focusing on our distinctive features such as the college system, admissions interviews and our tutorial-based teaching system.

Kathryn Thompson from St Catherine's College will be giving presentations at the schools listed below.

To book a place for your students, please fill in the form.

Oscar Win for Catz Alum

Tim Webber (1984, Physics) has received an Oscar for his work on the film Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón’s space drama starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Tim was the Visual Effects Supervisor on the film, which took home the Oscar for Best Visual Effects among others. The film won 7 Oscars in total, including Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón) and Best Cinematographer (Emmanuel Lubezki).

Chloe Potter

Chloe Potter (2000, Modern History), Journalist, Presenter & Producer

Chloe Potter is a freelance broadcaster and journalist who has worked as a presenter and reporter for Sky, Five, Monocle24 and others. She studied Modern History at St Catherine’s College.

Chloe began her career as an actress, and then worked at Condé Nast on Vogue (UK) before making the move to television with the ITV show The Dimbleby Programme.

Chloe established Middle Table, a London-based production company, with former members of the Five News Team in 2012. Middle Table specialises in creating high quality broadcast productions for commercial networks.

Photo © Chloe Potter.

Joseph Heller

1949, English


Joseph Heller was born in 1923 in Brooklyn, New York. He served as a bombardier in the Second World War and then attended New York University and Columbia University. He came to Oxford as a Fulbright Scholar and spent a post-graduate year at St Catherine’s.

He taught for two years at Pennsylvania State University, before returning to New York where he began a successful career in the magazine advertising. It was during this time that he had the idea for Catch-22 which was published in 1961. He went on to write several more books, including Something Happened in 1974, Good As Gold in 1979, and Closing Time in 1994. He is also the author of the play We Bombed in New Haven.

Joseph was a Christensen Fellow and an Honorary Fellow of St Catherine’s.

John Cornforth

1939, Chemistry


Professor Sir John Warcup Cornforth was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1975 for his research into the ‘stereochemistry of enzyme-catalysed reactions’. John was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1917. After graduating from the University of Sydney in 1938, he moved to Oxford to study Chemistry at St Catherine’s.

During the Second World War, he was part of the Oxford laboratory which pioneered penicillin, helping to author The Chemistry of Penicillin – the official record of the international research effort which pioneered the drug. He was knighted in 1977, and received the prestigious Copley Medal from the Royal Society of London in 1982. He remained active in research as a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Sussex until he was almost 90 years old.

John Cornforth was the College’s first alumnus to be awarded a Nobel Prize and he was an Honorary Fellow of St Catherine’s.

Photo: Sir John Cornforth receiving the Nobel Prize for Chemistry © AP.

Joshua Silver

1964, Physics

Director of the Centre for Vision in the Developing World

Professor Joshua Silver is currently the Director of the Centre for Vision in the Developing World, based at St Catherine’s College. The Centre is devoted to research to improve methods of vision correction in the developing world.

Professor Silver has created several generations of self-adjustable eyeglasses, including the world’s first fluid-filled universal eyeglasses named ‘Adspecs'. This, significantly, has enabled the low-cost manufacture of corrective lenses and there are now over 50,000 pairs of ‘Adspecs’ in use in around 20 countries worldwide.

The Centre for Vision in the Developing World's Child ViSion™ glasses, designed to help 12-18 year olds, were recently awarded an Icon Award in the Socially Responsible Design category at Icon Magazine's 2013 annual awards ceremony. They are about to go into clinical trials in several countries.

You can watch Professor Silver's lecture at the Bodleian Library, entitled How to make your own eyeglasses for about one pound: an Oxford technology created to benefit the developing World, here. This lecture was part of the exhibition Great Medical Discoveries: 800 Years of Oxford Innovation.

Notable Alumni

Throughout its history, St Catherine's has produced many gifted men and women who have achieved great success in their chosen walk of life. This page lists just a selection of our Notable Alumni. If you have a suggestion for inclusion, please email us.

Chris Anderson (1975, PPE)
Entrepreneur, owner of TED

Jason Bell (1987, PPE)
Fashion photographer

Benazir Bhutto (1976, Foreign Service Programme)
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan

Michael Billington OBE (1958, English)
Author and arts critic

John Cornforth (1939, Chemistry)
Nobel Prize winning chemist

Vivienne Cox CBE (1977, Chemistry)
Businesswoman, Executive vice President, Alternative Energy for BP

Philip de Glanville (1990, Politics and Sociology)
Former England rugby captain

Alice Eve (2001, English Language and Literature)

Emilia Fox (1993, English)

Peter Galbraith (1973, PPE)
Diplomat and author

MG Harris (1984, Biochemistry)
Children's author

Joseph Heller (1949, English)
Novelist and playwright

David Hemery CBE (1969, Education)
Olympic and Commonwealth athlete

Peter Mandelson  (1973, PPE)
Former MP and European Commissioner

Mark Miodownik (1988, Metallurgy)
Materials scientist and engineer

Matthew Pinsent CBE (1989, Geography)
Olympic rower and broadcaster

Jane Platt CBE (1975, Modern Languages)
Businesswoman, Chief Executive of NS&I

Alex Polizzi (1990, English)
Hotelier and broadcaster

Chloe Potter (2000, Modern History)
Journalist, producer and broadcaster

Harriet Sergeant (1974, English)
Journalist and author

Mark Simpson (2008, Music)
Composer and clarinettist

Joshua Silver (1964, Physics)
Physicist and academic

Andy Triggs Hodge OBE (2004, Geography)
Olympic rower

Sir John Walker (1960, Chemistry)
Nobel Prize winning chemist

Maxine Williams (1992, Law)
Global Director of Diversity at Facebook

Eric Williams (1932, Modern History)
Former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago

Simon Winchester OBE (1963, Geology)
Author and journalist

Wilfred Wong (1976)
Entrepreneur and philanthropist

Catz features in new TV Show ‘Chokepoint’

Chokepoint is an independently produced British spy drama, written and directed by SG Smith. Starring Tim Dutton of Death in Paradise, the fast-paced thriller was partly filmed at Catz and premieres online from March 1 2014 here.

Shot entirely on location, the show features Catz SCR and Bernard Sunley Building, with Arne Jacobsen’s iconic architecture clearly visible in the background.

Stephen Fry Lecture Podcast

Stephen Fry delivered his Inaugural Lecture as the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre on Thursday 20 February at St Catherine's College.


Stephen’s Inaugural Lecture, entitled 'Put on Your Red Shoes: Performance and Destiny' is now available as a Podcast for all to enjoy. (Contains strong language.)


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