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Oliver Cromwell, Parliamentary commander during the English Civil War and head of the English Commonwealth (1649–1660), attended Sidney Sussex. Cambridge alumni have won six Fields Medals and one Abel Prize for mathematics, while individuals representing Cambridge have won four Fields Medals.

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Cambridge's libraries, of which there are over 100, hold a total of around 15 million books, eight million of which are in Cambridge University Library, a legal deposit library.

The university is closely linked to the development of the high-tech business cluster known as 'Silicon Fen'.

In response, colleges changed their curricula away from canon law, and towards the classics, the Bible, and mathematics.

Nearly a century later, the university was at the centre of a Protestant schism.

In Cambridge, the movement was particularly strong at Emmanuel, St Catharine's Hall, Sidney Sussex and Christ's College. Hodge brought Cambridge onto the international mainstream in the 1930s.

They produced many "non-conformist" graduates who greatly influenced, by social position or preaching, some 20,000 Puritans who left for New England and especially the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Great Migration decade of the 1630s. Although diversified in its research and teaching interests, Cambridge today maintains its strength in mathematics.

However, Homerton College only achieved full university college status in March 2010, making it the newest full college (it was previously an "Approved Society" affiliated with the university).

In medieval times, many colleges were founded so that their members would pray for the souls of the founders, and were often associated with chapels or abbeys.

The colleges at the University of Cambridge were originally an incidental feature of the system. The hostels were gradually absorbed by the colleges over the centuries, but they have left some traces, such as the name of Garret Hostel Lane.

Hugh Balsham, Bishop of Ely, founded Peterhouse, Cambridge's first college, in 1284.

However, it was an incident at Oxford which is most likely to have led to the establishment of the university: two Oxford scholars were hanged by the town authorities for the death of a woman, without consulting the ecclesiastical authorities, who would normally take precedence (and pardon the scholars) in such a case, but were at that time in conflict with King John.

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