Poetry, Science and Music Collide at St Catharine's

On September 26, St Catharine’s College hosted an awards evening for its national STEM in Song competition. Spearheaded by St Catharine’s Fellow and newly appointed astronaut for Canada Dr Jenni Sidey, alongside the College’s Director of Music Dr Edward Wickham, the competition was open to girls in school years 7-11. The entrants were required to write song lyrics about science, with the winning entry receiving the honour of being set to music by composer Gwyneth Herbert.

The competition received nearly 70 entries, and the nine shortlisted writers were invited to the College to read their work in front of an audience made up of scientists, musicians and the four judges: medical historian Dr Mary Dobson, novelist Sophie Kinsella, actor Stephen McGann and physicist Lady Welland. 

During the course of the awards evening the audience were treated to some exciting and colourful live science demonstrations, music by the St Catharine’s College Girls’ Choir, and recordings from Gwyneth Herbert and Dr Jenni Sidey, who sent her video from Houston where she is currently undergoing astronaut training with NASA. The honour of announcing the winner was given to Lady Welland, who was delighted to give the trophy to 14-year old Isabella Bridge from Caedmon College in Whitby, whose poem entitled “There In Front Of Me” impressed all of the judges both with its dreamlike quality and scientific content.

Isabella’s poem will be performed by the St Catharine’s College Girls’ Choir at the 2018 Cambridge Science Festival.