Essay prize-winners

30th November 2017

News, Student news

The French resistance movement during World War 2 and greenhouse gas metrics aiding research into climate change are the subjects of prize-winning undergraduate essays.

  • Jack Hunter

    Jack Hunter

Undergraduates Jack Hunter (History, 2016) and Stuart Jenkins (Physics, 2014) have been awarded the Cheney and College Prizes respectively.

An account of the  experience of resistance in a French mining community during  the Second World War has won Jack Hunter, the 2017 Cheney Prize in the Arts and Social Sciences.

While staying in Le Bousquet d’Orb in the Hérault region of South West France in the summer, Jack attended a local commemorative parade for resistance fighters and it sparked his interest.

“I started by talking to local residents and then visited the local library and record office. I then went to the British Library. The results of what I found were really surprising, challenging preconceptions. Many of the people supporting the resistance in this part of France were Spanish refugees and Polish Jews. And I found that women had a far more dynamic involvement in the resistance movement.”

Jack’s essay, Underground insurrections; Global, local and revolutionary motivations for resistance in a French mining community, 1940-44, was selected…..

Jack who is currently studying seventeenth century British History in his second year at Wadham is a keen writer and is currently Editor of the Oxford student newspaper, Cherwell.

The need for a clear, well-understood metric, to enable a standardised comparison of greenhouse gases to help achieve climate change targets was the subject of the winning essay by Stuart Jenkins for the College Prize in Science and Mathematics. 

Work in Oxford’s Climate Change Institute over the summer prompted the research which led to Stuart’s prize-winning essay, Comparing coal to cattle; A new greenhouse gas metric.

“I discovered that the way you compare the impact of different greenhouse gases depends subjectively on the way you choose to compare them. So depending on the metrics used, researchers could be looking for the best economic outcome, the best social outcome or something else – there’s not a one size fits all.”

As he writes in his essay: “The physical comparison of greenhouse gases is a vital issue for climate mitigation. If we fail to properly understand the difference between emissions of one greenhouse gas against another, we will very quickly reach an impasse in climate mitigation as governments resolve to cutting one short lived greenhouse gas instead of another longer lived gas because of cost implications or ease of policy implementation. In order to coherently compare two emissions scenarios one must have a well understood metric with a strong physical basis for its use.”

Judged by Wadham Fellows Ursula Martin, Sandy Kilpatrick and Judy Stephenson, a total of eleven essays were submitted for the prizes. Both prize-winners receive a sum of £200.

  • Stuart Jenkins