The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine was established in 1907.
Set in London’s scientific and cultural heartland, South Kensington, it was created though a merger between the Royal College of Science, the City and Guilds College and the Royal School of Mines.
Various colleges have merged with the College since. These include St Mary’s Hospital Medical School in 1988 and the National Heart and Lung Institute in 1995.
In 1997, Charing Cross, Westminster Medical School and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School merged with the College to form the Imperial College School of Medicine.
And, in 2000, Wye College and the The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology merged with the College.
The College boasts of 14 Nobel Prize winners.
You may have run into the work of past Caltech scientists without even knowing it.
If your mom ever told you to take Vitamin C to fend off a cold, you can thank Linus Pauling, the Caltech chemist who discovered the nature of the chemical bond in 1930 (his ideas about vitamins came later). Pauling won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962.
After an earthquake, news anchors can tell us how relatively shaken up we were, courtesy of the formula geophysicist Charles Richter devised in the 1920s for measuring the size of Southern California earthquakes.
And if anyone’s ever told you to stop acting so ‘left brain’, it’s because of the pioneering brain hemisphere research done by Caltech psychobiologist Roger Sperry (another Nobelist).
Caltech was established thanks to Pasadena philanthropist Amos Throop.
In September 1891, he rented the Wooster Block building for the purpose of establishing Throop University, the forerunner to Caltech.
Throop might have remained just a good local school had it not been for the arrival in Pasadena of astronomer George Ellery Hale. The first director of the Mount Wilson Observatory, Hale became a member of Throop’s board of trustees in 1907, and envisioned moulding it into a first-class institution for engineering and scientific research and education. Under his leadership Throop’s transformation began.
By 1921, Hale had been joined by chemist Arthur A Noyes and physicist Robert A Millikan. These three men set the school, which by then had been renamed the California Institute of Technology, firmly on its new course.
Today, 30 of the Institute’s alumni are Nobel Prize recipients.
8. Princeton University
British North America’s fourth college was known as the College of New Jersey until 1896.
Located in Elizabeth for one year and in Newark for nine, the College of New Jersey moved to Princeton in 1756.
It was housed in Nassau Hall, which was built on land donated by Nathaniel Fitzrandolph.
In 1896, expanded programmes won the college university status, and the College of New Jersey was officially renamed Princeton University in honour of its host community, Princeton.
In 2002-2003, Princeton enrolled 6,632 students — 4,635 undergraduates and 1,997 graduate students.
The University plays a major role in the educational, cultural and economic life of the region.
Some famous Princeton alumni include Woodrow Wilson and James Madison, former presidents of the United States.
7. University of Tokyo
It is the only Asian university to figure in the top 10 list.
Established in 1877, the University of Tokyo is Japan’s oldest university.
With 10 faculties, 15 graduate schools and 11 research institutes (including the Research Centre for Advanced Science and Technology), it has been a guiding force in research and education.
It offers courses in essentially all academic disciplines at both undergraduate and graduate levels, and provides research facilities.
The University has a faculty of approximately 2,800 professors, associate professors and lecturers, and a total student enrollment of about 28,000.
As of 2003, approximately 2,100 international students and 2,200 foreign researchers come annually to the University for short and extended visits.
6. Stanford University
Stanford University was dedicated by Leland Stanford and Jane Eliza to their son, Leland Junior.
Leland Junior was in Italy with his family when he was struck by typhoid. He later succumbed to the illness. He was 15.
When they returned to the US, the Stanfords decided to set up a university. After six years of planning and building, the Stanford University opened on October 1, 1891.
Stanford, like Johns Hopkins and Cornell Universities, followed the German model of providing graduate as well as undergraduate instruction and stressing on research along with teaching.
Stanford’s current community of scholars includes 17 Nobel laureates and four Pulitzer Prize winners.
Famous Stanford alumni include:
· Vinton Cerf, the ‘father of the Internet’
· Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft
· Vance Coffman, president and CEO, Lockheed Martin Corp
· Carleton Fiorina, president and CEO, Hewlett-Packard Co
· Doris Fisher, co-founder, Gap, Inc
· William Hewlett and David Packard (both deceased), founders, Hewlett-Packard Co
· Philip Knight, chairman and CEO, Nike, Inc
· Chih-Yuan ‘Jerry’ Yang and David Filo, founders of Yahoo!
· Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page, founders of Google
It’s probably one of the most famous universities in the world.
But did you know its founder, William Barton Rogers, apparently never received a degree?
In 1853, he moved to Boston, where he enlisted the support of the scientific community to create an institution for technical and scientific education. It was largely through his efforts that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was born in 1861.
Today, the Institute has more than 900 faculty and 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
It is organised into five Schools — Architecture and Planning, Engineering, Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Management, and Science — and the Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology.
Fifty-nine current or former members of the MIT community have won the Nobel Prize.
The US News & World Report ranks MIT — along with Stanford University and Duke University — at No 5 in its rating for America’s best universities for the year 2005.
4. University of California, Berkeley
The roots of the University of California go back to the gold rush days of 1849, when the drafters of the state’s constitution required the legislature to ‘encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral and agricultural improvement’ of the people of California.
The university that was born nearly 20 years later — on March 23, 1868 — was the product of a merger between the College of California (a private institution) and the Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College.
Among other things, the university is credited with the isolation of the human polio virus and the discovery of all artificial elements heavier than uranium.
Eighteen members of the Berkeley faculty have been awarded Nobel Prizes for these and subsequent discoveries, as well as in literature and economics.
3. Harvard University
Refusing to be left behind, the Americans follow with a vengeance.
Harvard University is ranked No 3.
Harvard College was established in 1636 and was named for its first benefactor, John Harvard of Charlestown.
Harvard was a young minister who, on his death in 1638, left his library and half his estate to the newly established institution.
It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.
Seven presidents of the United States (John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Rutherford B Hayes, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and George W Bush) were graduates of Harvard.
Its faculty has produced 40 Nobel laureates.
The US News & World Report ranks Harvard at No 1 in its rating for America’s best universities for the year 2005.
The University of Oxford is one of the oldest English-speaking universities.
It can lay claim to nine centuries of documented existence.
According to the university’s Web site, there is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.
Except for St Hilda’s — which continues to remain an all-women college — all of Oxford’s 39 colleges now admit both men and women.
1. University of Cambridge
Britain’s University of Cambridge has topped the list, making it the best university in the world for science.
That’s not all the good news Cambridge received this month.
An anonymous American donor gave $1.85 million (£960,000) to set up an endowment fund in honour of cosmologist-author Stephen Hawking.
In 2009, the university will celebrate its 800th anniversary, making it one of the world’s oldest universities.
Cambridge is the largest university in the United Kingdom (over 100 departments, faculties and schools).
Its contribution to the world has ranged from the discovery of the mechanism of blood circulation to the structure of DNA, from the great philosophers of the early 15th century to the groundbreaking work of its many Nobel Prize winners (more than 60 distinguished names feature on the list).