Cambridge University stores 'letters for the future'

Tomorrows world

Cambridge University stores 'letters for the future'


University staff, students and people from the wider Cambridge community and senior academics from around the world took part in ‘Letters To The Future’ project on Friday.
 Their messages, which touch on subjects ranging from climate change and global recession to the progress of the current television series of the X-Factor, were sealed and stored in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II.

University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Alison Richard said the 800 letters, which the varsity’s messenger service took in eight boxes to the library, will remain unopened for a century.
Each author has also been given a certificate to pass down to the future generations. In 2109, anyone in possession of a certificate will be able to take it to the library and retrieve a message from their ancestor, Richard said.

The writers include leading academics, among them the heads of both Harvard and Oxford, as well as hundreds of school children, he added.
Readers in 100 years’ time will find out about topics as diverse as Afghanistan war, credit crunch, iPods, or, in the case of one young correspondent, “rabbits with floppy ears”.
Many of the authors reflected on just what condition the world may be in by then.

“Our current targets and strategies for reducing carbon emissions are based on predictions of the likely effects on our climate by 2080. It will be interesting to see if reader of my letter in 2109 feels that our predictions were correct,” one University staff member said.

“Will people in 100 years’ time know about, or care about, Twitter and blogging? If not, what will have replaced it?” another member asked. Head of 800th Anniversary Year celebrations Geoff Morris said: “‘Letters To The Future’ project will leave a wonderful and fascinating legacy to Cambridge community as a whole when they come to celebrate its 900th birthday in 2109.”

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