Downing College was founded in 1800. It is home to a lively and diverse scholarly community, including about 420 undergraduates, 220 graduates and 53 fellows, supported by over 130 staff.
The College buildings are set in spacious and peaceful gardens in the centre of Cambridge, around a ten minute walk to the conference venues.
Famous alumni include comedian John Cleese, cartoonist Quentin Blake and physicist John Pendry, best known for his revolutionary work on the perfect lens and the invisibility cloak.
The original college buildings were erected between 1807 and 1873. Despite this long period of development, until the 20th century, Downing is the only college in Cambridge to be built to a uniform plan, rather than developed piecemeal, so the old, neoclassical buildings have a pleasing consistency. Newer buildings, including the library, chapel and theatre are still built in the same stone as the original buildings.