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Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge

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Gonville & Caius College (often referred to simply as Caius /ˈkiːz/ KEEZ) is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. The college is the fourth-oldest college at the University of Cambridge and one of the wealthiest. The college has been attended by many students who have gone on to significant accomplishment, including thirteen Nobel Prize winners, the second-most of any Oxbridge college (after Trinity College, Cambridge).

The college has long historical associations with medical teaching, especially due to its alumni physicians: John Caius (who gave the college the caduceus in its insignia) and William Harvey. Other famous alumni in the sciences include Francis Crick (joint discoverer, along with James Watson, of the structure of DNA), Sir James Chadwick (discoverer of the neutron) and Sir Howard Florey (developer of penicillin). Stephen Hawking, previously Cambridge's Lucasian Chair of Mathematics Emeritus, is a current fellow of the college. The college also maintains world-class academic programmes in many other disciplines, including economics, English literature and history.

Gonville and Caius is said to own or have rights to much of the land in Cambridge. Several streets in the city, such as Harvey Road, Glisson Road and Gresham Road, are named after alumni of the College

The college was first founded, as Gonville Hall, by Edmund Gonville, Rector of Terrington St Clement in Norfolk in 1348, making it the fourth-oldest surviving college. When Gonville died three years later, he left a struggling institution with almost no money. The executor of his will, William Bateman, Bishop of Norwich, stepped in, transferring the college to the land close to the college he had just founded, Trinity Hall, and renamed it The Hall of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, endowing it with its first buildings.

By the sixteenth century, the college had fallen into disrepair, and in 1557 it was refounded by Royal Charter as Gonville and Caius College by the physician John Caius. John Caius was master of the college from 1559 until shortly before his death in 1573. He provided the college with significant funds and greatly extended the buildings.

During his time as Master, Caius accepted no payment but insisted on several unusual rules. He insisted that the college admit no scholar who “is deformed, dumb, blind, lame, maimed, mutilated, a Welshman, or suffering from any grave or contagious illness, or an invalid, that is sick in a serious measure”. Caius also built a three-sided court, Caius Court, “lest the air from being confined within a narrow space should become foul”. Caius did, however, found the college as a strong centre for the study of medicine, a tradition that it aims to keep to this day.

By 1630, the college had expanded greatly, having around 25 fellows and 150 students, but numbers fell over the next century, only returning to the 1630 level in the early nineteenth century. Since then the college has grown considerably and now has one of the largest undergraduate populations in the university. The college first admitted women as fellows and students in 1979. It now has over 110 Fellows, over 700 students and about 200 staff.

Gonville and Caius is the seventh wealthiest of all Cambridge colleges with an estimated fixed assets of £127 million in 2006.

The college’s present Master, the 42nd, is Sir Alan Fersht.

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