The idea of a university

One of my favourite quotes captures brilliantly the idea of a university being a place where new ideas are generated. John Henry Newman in his 1852 volume  titled The idea of the Universitywrote

“A University is a place … where students come from every quarter for every kind of knowledge; … a place for the communication and circulation of thought … It is a place where inquiry is pushed forward … discoveries verified and perfected, and … error exposed, by the collision of mind with mind, and knowledge with knowledge. … Thus is created a pure and clear atmosphere of thought, which the student also breathes”.

I certainly had the opportunity to breathe in this exciting air of discovery that Newman alludes to in my time as a student at ANU. As an undergraduate student here in the 1970-80s I came to realize quickly there is something very special about being on a campus with so many other people thinking and exploring ideas. This buzz is to me central to why universities are such great places for students and staff alike. ANU offers unique opportunities for undergraduates to engage in a high quality research culture.

In 2014 we have a number of research-education initiatives that will give each and every ANU undergraduate to engage more deeply with research if you wish.