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suffrage science 2013




Introduction 3

Measure, Make & Mend Julia Higgins and Athene Donald on changing perceptions of women in science


Lesley Yellowlees and Molly Stevens on science and families



Susan Gathercole and Sally Macintyre on the journey up the academic ladder


Eileen Ingham and Jennifer Nichols discuss people who inspired them

Survey, See & Comprehend Clare Elwell and Petra Schwille exchange views on female stereotypes in science


Maggie-Aderin Pocock on building a career in science and raising a family


Suffrage Heirloom Jewellery 30

Designs to commemorate women in science

Suffrage Textiles

Ribbons referencing the suffrage movement and women in science


Index of Featured Scientists Pioneering contributions to engineering and the physical sciences relevant to medicine


Tracing Suffrage Heirlooms 56

Follow the provenance of 12 pieces of Suffrage Heirloom Jewellery


A successful career in science is always demanding of intellect hard work and resilience; only more so for most women.

Professor Dame Sally C Davies

From top, left to right: (Row 1) Jennifer Nichols, Sally Macintyre, Athene Donald, Julia Higgins, Susan Gathercole, Lesley Yellowlees, (Row 2) Petra Schwille, Clare Elwell, Kathy Sykes, Molly Stevens, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Eileen Ingham, (Row 3) Anne McLaren, Barbara McClintock, Beatrice Hahn, Mina Bissell, Brenda Maddox, Dorothy Hodgkin, (Row 4) Brigid Hogan, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Fiona Watt, Gail Martin, Helen Fisher, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, (Row 5) Hilde Mangold, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Blackburn, Janet Thornton, Carol Greider, Rosalind Franklin, (Row 6) Kathleen Lonsdale, Liz Robertson, Louise Johnson, Mary Lyon, Mary Collins, Vivienne Parry, (Row 7) Uta Frith, Amanda Fisher, Linda Buck, Sara-Jayne Blakemore, Sohaila Rastan, Zena Werb



On International Women’s Day, Suffrage Science 2013 unites the voices of leading female scientists in the engineering and physical sciences underpinning medicine Commemorating women through the arts

The suffrage movement brought together women from all walks of life to campaign for the right to vote. They gathered in tearooms across the country –

Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design has

then the only socially acceptable place for women to

created a unique collection of jewellery and textiles

convene outside the home – to discuss, debate and

to commemorate and promote women in science.

drive forward their cause. Over a century later great

Inspired by the women celebrated in Suffrage Science:

strides have been made towards equality, however

2013 and referencing the suffrage movement, the

men are still six times more likely to work in a science,

collection echoes the continuing struggle for equality.

technology or engineering profession than women – 1

Students taking BA Jewellery and Textile Design

despite women comprising almost half the workforce.

degrees at Central Saint Martins have created bespoke Suffrage Science 2011 celebrated the achievements

heirlooms for women scientists to wear. These are

of leading women scientists and communicators in

featured on pages 30 to 53. After two years, jewellery

the life sciences on the centenary of International

will be passed on to the next generation of female

Women’s Day in 2011. Following on from this success,

scientists. Track their progress on page 56.

Suffrage Science 2013 honours women scientists and communicators in engineering and the physical sciences, that relate to medicine. Only nine percent of professors in the UK are women1 and only six percent in physics2. In 2013, the centenary of the Medical Research Council, we decorate 12 leading women with bespoke jewellery heirlooms,






jewellery received by leading women of the suffrage movement.

1 2

Women and men in science, engineering and technology: the UKRC Statistics Guide 2010 Academic physics staff in UK higher education institutions: Institute of Physics January 2012


Measure, Make & Mend



Julia Higgins and Athene Donald examine changing perceptions of women in science

Thirty young teenagers are noisily exploring the mechanics of levers while Julia Higgins, their teacher, cogitates on a possible escape to pursue her own scientific research. “School teaching just wasn’t for me,” she admits frankly. To the newly wed in the mid 1960s, teaching seemed a logical progression from her PhD. Two years later, however, she found the way out. A letter she’d sent to a friend of her father-in-law fortuitously ended up in the hands of a chemist at Manchester University. Sir Geoffrey Allen made no bones about recruiting her to do a postdoc in his lab.

Julia Higgins

“Talk about sheer luck,” says Julia.

time for science is proving scarce. Demands on her time include serving on a number of Councils

She proved an asset to Allen’s research group

including that of the University of Cambridge

thanks to a technique learnt during her PhD:

where she currently works, the Royal Society and

neutron scattering – a way to probe the structure

the European Research Council, as well as chairing

of polymers. Over the next four decades her

the Royal Society’s Education Committee and the

career in science would take her to the top of

Athena Forum (born of the Athena Project). With

her profession, with high profile appointments

several years to go before she reaches retirement

including Foreign Secretary for the Royal Society

age, she has surprised herself by taking on so

and Chair to the Engineering and Physical Sciences

much, but feels a moral duty to support younger

Research Council. In 2001 she was made Dame

researchers and free up their time for research.

for her contributions to science, taking up the first chair of the Athena Project, aimed at improving

Campaigning Careers

the career prospects for women in science and engineering. Julia knows Dame Athene Donald well. Both are physicists with a common grounding

Through her campaigning work for women in

in polymer studies. Athene started out doing

science, Athene says she is following in Julia’s

electron microscopy of metals but her research

footsteps. “Athene once told me I was her role

interests now lie in soft matter physics. Although

model and I’ve never forgiven her,” quips Julia. To

she has taken on so many leadership roles that

which Athene enquires with a serious air, “But who



“My Somerville College scarf sits in my drawer as a reminder of the extraordinary change in life going up to Oxford was for me.” Julia Higgins

else did I have?” acknowledging that being looked to as a role model can “feel like quite a burden sometimes, so I apologise.” Julia reassures her. “No, no, you didn’t demand much from me. It just made me feel elderly!”

Athene Donald Both scientists want more women to reach the top of their profession. “To have visible

the group boasts other women scientists. “It’s not

women is so important,” says Athene. “It’s

something that is articulated, it’s subconscious

the existence proof, the idea that it’s possible:

and is about feeling more comfortable,” she says.

young women don’t get lectured to by a woman

Her friends in engineering have found the same:

in physics very often.” Trailblazing has been a

women attract more women to a research group,

lonely journey for Athene: she hasn’t had as

and the difference it makes is social. She recounts

many female supporters around her as Julia,

the revelation of meeting other women her age

but nonetheless made strides becoming the first

at conferences and discovering the joy of sitting

female physics lecturer at Cambridge, and the

down to an occasional gossip: “You can function

first female professor in the physical sciences.

without it, but it’s just such a pleasure.”

Julia remembers the big party that Athene threw to celebrate: at the time there were only twelve professors promoted across the whole University

Standing Out

of Cambridge each year, so it was an enormous achievement at the age of just 44. When Julia got her professorship eight years earlier, she was one


of just a few women at Imperial College London.

testosterone’ at some physics conferences –

Now there are upwards of 50.

particularly the ones that attract bright, young







scientists. “It’s not to do with the science, it’s to Working at the interface with biology has brought

do with the bragging rights,” explains Athene.

Athene together with more women scientists. And

An off-putting prospect for some postgraduates,

Julia reveals a disproportionately high number of

particularly a woman in the minority. She adds, “I

women seek a PhD studentship in her lab because

think it’s useful to be able to discuss it, and instead



There is a frightening amount of testosterone at some physics conferences

of quitting, to realise you’re not alone and that

There are no fixed rules or prejudices about how to

you’ve just got to find coping strategies.”

go about the research.

Speaking from bitter experience, Athene shares

During her second postdoc, encouraged by Kramer,

a confidence knock early on in her career. A

Athene began to consider a career in academia.

postdoctoral position at Cornell University fitted

“I just sort of stumbled along from one moment

in with her husband’s PhD in mathematics, but

to the next,” she says. Falling in love with her

proved catastrophic. “I had two horrible years

research on plastics made her a workaholic, “not

not getting on with my professor. I didn’t enjoy

good for my personal life, but great for the science.”

the project,” she says. Studying grain boundaries

Kramer took her under his wing at conferences and

in metals, she found it difficult to visualise what

introduced her to all his contacts, though she has

was happening in three dimensions. The Dames

some reservations about how, as a young woman

laugh about conforming to a stereotypically

by his side, she may have been perceived.

female shortcoming. “I had a disastrous moment

Family Ties

when I thought I’d shown something, but got my geometry wrong and had to withdraw a paper from a conference,” clarifies Athene. “My professor was

Returning to the UK on a Fellowship grant at

not pleased”.

Cambridge, Athene was again moving in support of her husband’s career. Mentorship from polymer

Despite the dent to her confidence at Cornell, she

physicist Sir Sam Edwards was a boon. She

sought another post to keep her Visa going while

remembers a conversation with him when she

her husband completed his studies. Switching

announced she wanted to start a family, to which

fields to study plastics with Edward Kramer


proved fruitful, and within six weeks they were

families’. “It was so encouraging. He could easily

writing their first paper. “It was just fantastic,” she

have said, ‘if you’re going to get pregnant I don’t

remembers. “Not having to do all this complicated

want to know you’, a common attitude at the time.”






spatial stuff, and being in a young field was very good.” Julia harks back to a similar experience,

Having two children, Athene manages to juggle

“joining a new field is good if you’re slightly non-

work and family responsibilities with her husband,

establishment, which being a woman, you are.”

whose fellowship grant ran out when the children



Intelligent women should have families

were aged two and four. Failing to secure a

eventually someone would have, but it could have

subsequent fellowship, he decided to become the

been years,” Julia points out.

primary carer. “He thought he’d get back into it but he never did, so my success has come at his

Becoming a fellow boosted her confidence, and

expense,” she says. It makes her feel like a bad

launched her campaign work. “It was liberating,”

role model because not many people’s partners

she remembers, “I felt I could take on things.”

would want to sacrifice their own career.

Two years later she set up a campaign to advance women’s careers at Imperial College, and was also

Julia has no children, but argues it creates a

involved in the Athena Project from the outset.

different set of issues. She hasn’t worked outside

Julia notes that female professors were just over

the UK save two early postdocs because her roots

five percent of the total at Imperial College when

– family and friends – are not moveable. “I’ve

she and colleagues began their support activities

seen what happens when you work overseas,” she

for women academics, but now they make up

says. “At least if you’re married with children you

almost 15 percent.

can bring some of the pieces with you.” Looking at progress on gender equality, the two

Changes Afoot

scientists are encouraged to see signs of change.

Edwards was an important mentor for Julia too.

the University of Cambridge, finds people are

Athene, as Gender and Equality champion for becoming more conscious of supporting a healthy

Her research group was doing experiments that

work-life balance in their departments through,

bolstered his theory, and he supported her career

for instance, scheduling seminars in core hours

progression. When she asked him to referee

only. “Each change is small but collectively the

her professorship application, Edwards asked

atmosphere evolves,” she says. What’s important

whether anyone had proposed her membership of

is raising awareness: “scientists want evidence to

the Royal Society yet. He then took the trouble

believe they are wrapped up in stereotypes. It is

to write a proposal. “If he hadn’t done that,

making a difference.”

“I have spent a lot of my research working on starch which has brought me closer to biology.” Athene Donald



Lesley Yellowlees and Molly Stevens review successes in science while raising families

Scottish chemist Lesley Yellowlees has a favourite day of the year. “Seeing the women tottering in their high heels and the men all dressed up in their kilts for gradation is such a happy day.” She wants to encourage others to succeed in return for her own measure of scientific success. She has achieved her dream of

presiding over the

Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and heading the faculty of science and engineering at the University of Edinburgh. “I just didn’t mean to do them both at the same time,” she laughs.

Lesley Yellowlees

Suffrage Science brings Lesley together with Molly Stevens, research director for biomedical materials sciences at the Institute of Biomedical

Juggling Jobs

Engineering, Imperial College London. They have a lot in common. Molly also loves seeing people in her group succeed and go on to set up their own

Molly takes time out from maternity leave to talk to

research groups.

Lesley, her two-month-old son asleep on her lap. She is working throughout her leave whenever her

“Watching students develop is always quite

baby sleeps and visits her forty-strong research

emotional for me. I get very attached, and have

group twice a week. The multidisciplinary Stevens

a tear in my eye when they leave,” she admits.

group works at the interface between materials,

Lesley says the attachment can go surprisingly

cell biology, chemistry and engineering – exploiting

far: “I used to drive my children to despair

this interface for human health. Their recent, high-

sometimes because so many of the students call

profile successes include an ultra-sensitive test for

me ‘Mum’: my children protested, ‘but you’re our

detecting diseases in their earliest stages, and an

mother, not theirs!’”

efficient new way to regenerate bone tissue, which is currently progressing to the clinic.



So many of my students call me ‘Mum’

“I love discussing science. It’s more like a hobby than a job to me,” says Molly. Many previous hobbies – what she calls the ‘lazing around’ side of her life – have fallen by the wayside amid the competing demands of work and family life. “I’m always doing something. I don’t really have down-time as such,” she admits, “but I’m fine with that; it’s a choice you make.” Both scientists are frequently approached by young women seeking advice. Molly is still in

Molly Stevens

the thick of it: she has six-year-old twins as well as the new baby. “It was only when I started a family that I realised there are some very specific

from school and give them their tea when she had

issues that apply differently to men and women

to work late. She talks warmly of her ‘national

in science.” Most inspired by other successful

treasure’ Ella, who worked for her at home for 26

women scientists who have families she remains

years. “You have to put a support system in place

on the lookout for mentors in her research field.

if you want to have a high-powered, successful career and bring up children, because you’ve got

Lesley works on solar cells: synthesising and

to feel 100 per cent comfortable that they are

characterising solar energy dyes, among other

being looked after if you can’t be there.”

things, in the field of spectroelectrochemistry.

Making History

Both her children are now grown up so she is aware of the pressures women in science face. “I was fortunate that my parents lived down

Lesley has a folio of firsts to her name: first female

the road,” Her mum would pick her kids up

head of chemistry at the University of Edinburgh; first female vice principal and head of science and engineering at Edinburgh, and first woman to hold

“The most senior female chemist in Egypt told me that the world needs more senior women scientists and gave me this statue of Nefertiti.” Lesley Yellowlees

the presidency of the RSC in its 171-year history. She remains unfazed. “I never stop and think, ‘it’s



I love discussing science. It’s more like a hobby than a job to me

hard to be the first woman’ because I’m caught

got a job as an NHS administrator. “I quickly learnt

up in the excitement of the role, so I just get on

the error of my ways,” she says ruefully. When

with the challenges ahead.” Molly jokingly pleads:

her husband got a job in Brisbane, Australia, she

“Please can you also become president of the

got a chance to rethink. “I was very lucky to get

Royal Society afterwards, because it really annoys

a research job in electrochemistry, working on the

me when I walk up the stairs there and see only

electrochemical deposition of semiconductors for

male faces of ex-presidents!”

use in solar energy cells.”

As president of the RSC, Lesley has decided to

Laurie Lyons, group head at the University of

champion women in science. “Having a family adds

Queensland and professor of physical chemistry,

to the whole mix, and there’s a lot of work being

pledged Lesley a bottle of champagne for every

done on unconscious and systemic bias against

percent increase in the efficiency of the cells’

women – it’s definitely something that needs

ability to turn solar energy into electricity. She

proper attention.” She is anxious that the ‘leaky

left two and a half years later (to begin her PhD in

pipeline’ – the drop-out of women with degrees in

Edinburgh) with a handful of bottles. “It was quite

science, technology, engineering and mathematics

amusing,” she smiles. She remains passionate

(STEM) from STEM careers – be addressed for

about electrochemistry and solar cells, “thanks to

the good of society. “I get very earnest when I


talk about it. It doesn’t bode well for the quick

Unconventional Beginnings

economic recovery of our country. We need every competent, inspiring person out there, and that requires women as well as men.” Although there


are many reasons why women leave, she believes

“Although it’s worked for me, I wouldn’t necessarily

isolation is key. “Growing up through the ranks at

recommend the unconventional route.” As a child

the time I did, you were bound to feel isolated.”

living in France with British parents, she was






bilingual, and moved to the UK to attend secondary Having studied chemical physics at the University

school. “I learnt extra languages easily, and I loved

of Edinburgh, she enjoyed the analytical aspects of

geography since I’m passionate about travel and

doing an experiment and deciphering the results.

other cultures.” She almost undertook a degree in

Feeling she’d had enough of science, she initially

geography but in the end chose science, “I decided



We need every inspiring person out there, and that means women and men

my other interests could be kept up more easily

professor in the materials department. And she’s a

on the side.” Pharmacy meant she didn’t have to

regular participant in Professor Uta Frith’s ‘Women

choose between chemistry and biology.

in Science’ group, which meets for lunches and discussions in London.

Afterwards she worked and travelled around

Looking Forward

Asia, New Zealand and Australia, doing some lab research in Melbourne, which convinced her to embark on a PhD. Working in Bill Charman’s

Molly has led her group at Imperial since 2004,

extremely welcoming group on drug delivery

over which time her motivations have matured.

provided great mentorship. “He was a super guy to work for.

No longer is it just her interest in the subject

I arrived with more or less

that drives her, but seeing its impact on health,

nothing, and he lent me his car. His generous

especially in the poorest populations in the world.

personality and enthusiasm for the science was

“That’s become extremely important to me, I’m

totally inspirational.” Molly did a biophysics PhD

keen on more than just nice papers.”

at the University of Nottingham investigating the forces between molecules in the early days of

Lesley gets a thrill from other people’s success:

nanotechnology. Her postdoc involved a massive

her chemistry department at the University of

leap again to chemical engineering at MIT.

Edinburgh was the second in the UK to receive an Athena Swan gold award in 2012. Like their

She too has some ‘firsts’ to be proud of: first

2006 silver award, attained under her leadership,

female professor of bioengineering at Imperial

the accolade has clear meaning and benefit to

and first female professor of materials. There

everyone. “It’s about culture change. Everyone

are relatively few female professors at Imperial,

has to want and support it, so you have to make

but she doesn’t feel isolated. “We naturally know

things better for everybody – women will benefit

each other and gravitate a bit towards each other,

disproportionately from that.” The department is

plus I really appreciate my male professorial

reaching a critical mass of women scientists. “I

colleagues.” She’s pleased to have another female

think it’s better for everybody.”

“These boots remind me of my travels in Asia, Africa and South America, where I saw how the very poorest live, inspiring me to help develop technologies that can positively impact these populations.” Molly Stevens



Eileen Ingham and Jennifer Nichols meet to discuss the men and women who inspired them






developmental biologist Jennifer Nichols have never met before. Their respective achievements in regenerative medicine have brought them together. While their specific disciplines place them in somewhat different communities, in conversation it becomes apparent that they share similar experiences and views on women in science and why there aren’t more at the top of the academic ladder. Eileen Ingham investigates repair of the body’s complex machinery at the University of Leeds. Using novel tissue engineering technology she develops techniques to patch up blood vessels in a bid to tackle cardiovascular disease. Her work explores the immune system’s reaction to

Eileen Ingham

various manmade substances, with the aim of developing superior materials for prosthetic joint

could reduce the number of mice used in research


to study diseases such as diabetes. Prosthetics and stem cell biology both form part of

Biological Beginnings

the field of regenerative medicine. Understanding stem







restorative properties. Jennifer Nichols, based

Both Eileen and Jenny’s love of science developed

at the Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council

early, nurtured in environments at home and

Stem Cell Institute, probes how stem cells are

at school where gender was never an issue. “I

assigned in the embryo researching ways to

can’t ever remember being discouraged at all.

replicate this in the lab. Her investigations have

I was encouraged by family, encouraged by my

yielded a technique to generate stem cells, which

teachers at school, it was always very positive,”



Rosa Beddington was a wonderful woman and a brilliant scientist. I still miss her

Dad picking up stones and looking under them. I always used to collect things, bring them home and put them in jars, something Dad encouraged but my mother absolutely hated. I once found a leech sticking to me while paddling so I put it in a jar. And then it had babies. I was so excited but my mother was absolutely horrified. My interest in embryology grew from that, really.”

Motivating Mentors Developmental biologist Richard Gardner gave Jenny the freedom to pursue her natural curiosity as a research assistant in his lab. “He did really beautiful work putting cells into early embryos and watching them develop.” It was here that she met

Jennifer Nichols

a young Rosa Beddington, who had just embarked on her PhD with Gardner. “She was inspirational and really, really encouraging. Rosa invited me to

says Eileen. “I was inspired most by my biology

go and work at Cold Spring Harbor on a course,

teacher Ms Morris. I don’t think I ever knew

which introduced me to a lot of people whose work

her first name. I just really enjoyed my biology

I had read.”

lessons and was fascinated by the subject.” Beddington conducted seminal work on embryo Jenny’s formative years were also inspired by

development before her career was cut short by

biology, but through lessons in the field, or rather

cancer. She identified a novel organising centre

in this case, the beach. “My father is a biologist

from which instructions are sent out to direct

and all of our holidays were spent somewhere

patterns of embryonic development. Beddington’s

near the sea. I like swimming but don’t care

fortitude and skill as a scientist left a lasting

for sunbathing, so I’d be running around after

impression on Jenny. “She was probably the single



All my PhD students have been girls. It’s about staying in, not getting in

Gender Roles

greatest influence on my decisions. I still miss her. She was a wonderful woman and a brilliant scientist.”

When it comes to the art of conducting good science, both women scientists feel gender has little

According to Jenny there are no shortage of strong

effect. “I don’t think there is a gender difference. I

female role models in developmental biology. “It’s

think there are differences between scientists and

the one branch of science where women almost

their varying motivations,” suggests Eileen. They

dominate. I’ve never felt discriminated against.”

attribute the lack of women at the top to their

In contrast Eileen remembers during her early

choosing to opt out and better manage family lives.

career that it wasn’t uncommon to be the only

“All my PhD students, except one, have been girls.

woman in a staff meeting. Everybody was always

It’s more about staying in, than getting in,” feels

treated equally though, she admits, “Being the


Faculty’s only female amid male academics can be an advantage sometimes. People feel that they

Neither have children. “Perhaps that tells you

shouldn’t be putting on you because you’re the


only woman.”

something like 60 PhD students now, and probably





more than half are girls. The life choices they Guiding Eileen through her career were several

make beyond that are entirely up to them. One of

noted male scientists. After her undergraduate

the problems, especially in biological science and

degree in biochemistry and microbiology, Gerald

engineering, is that things move so quickly. If you

Gowland became both her PhD and post-doctoral

take time out to have a family, it’s very difficult to

supervisor. Gowland regaled Eileen with stories

be able to catch up on the new knowledge that has

from his past. “I was fascinated to hear about his

been published during that time.” For those who

work with Nobel laureate Peter Medawar, and felt

successfully navigate back to science, the benefits

privileged to have a supervisor who had worked

are clear. “There are few careers where you can truly

with a Nobel Prize-winning scientist. That really

enjoy what you do day-to-day. When things

kept me motivated.” Medawar’s medical legacy –

work and you make new discoveries, it’s

the basis of immune rejection in tissue grafts –

absolutely fantastic.”

facilitates organ transplants to this day. “I have supervised about 60 PhD theses now and they represent most of my life’s effort in research.” Eileen Ingham



When you make new discoveries, it’s absolutely fantastic

Future Predictions

Eileen hopes that repairing tissues such as blood vessels, ligaments and cartilage will rely less on a cellular approach in the future. “New avenues

The enthusiasm for research that both Eileen

of basic research that we cannot even begin to

and Jenny share is balanced by a sense of

imagine yet will open up in the coming decades.

responsibility. “We’re using public money so people

30 years ago epigenetics was unheard of. It’s now

should expect to get something out of us,” Jenny

becoming very important. We owe it to society to

remarks. Her research is becoming decidedly

consider how our science can influence people and

translational – although perhaps too quickly.

bring clinical benefit. However, those at the top

“There’s a lot of pressure on us to make things

of their game still need to be allowed to pursue

that we can actually transplant into patients.

curiosity-driven research because there’s a lot

We’re going to lose some of the basic biology –

of fundamental knowledge we still don’t have.

understanding about how things really work and

Keeping a balance is critical.”

what can go wrong. We should be translational,

but there should be a balance.”

“To me mountains symbolise effort and reward, but apart from this I can also think more clearly when hill walking.” Jennifer Nichols


Survey, See & Comprehend



Susan Gathercole and Sally Macintyre discuss their journeys to the top of the academic ladder

“All the work I’ve done has been aimed at making a difference, improving the world and helping people.” Not everyone can reflect so positively on their career as social scientist Sally Macintyre. Based at the University of Glasgow, she is director of the MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit and has published widely on how health is affected by inequality. Susan Gathercole is director of another MRC research centre: the Cambridge-based Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. As a psychologist her work involves memory and its disorders, insights

Susan Gathercole

from which she shares through a range of forums, from head teacher conferences to dyslexia selfhelp groups. “I’m fortunate to have had that

ten only to be thrown out aged 16 “for failing to

experience. It’s never felt like a job. What more

grow.” A stint at technical college saw her aim

can you hope for from a working life?”

for stage management. Fatefully forced to take General Studies, she was hooked after a term of

Both are directors of MRC units, but they’ve met

anthropology. Margaret Mead’s work on male and

only once before. Together they chat about how

female roles particularly appealed. “It was complete

they got to where they are now, and share views

serendipity. I had no plans to be a social scientist.”

on ensuring gender equality. Five out of six universities rejected her application

Serendipitous Starts

to study social science. “I got accepted to a female-

Sally had an unconventional start in life in a

specialised in ‘taking on a few wacky outsiders

only college at Durham University. The principal each year’.” The experience she found both

remote Scottish boarding school for boys where

empowering and liberating. “Although it’s probably

her father worked as chaplain. She was educated

not fashionable to say that,” she laughs. The social

at home until she joined a ballet school aged



When you make new discoveries, it’s absolutely fantastic

science lecturers were men, but college tutors all women, giving her the message of “do what you have the ability to do.” Susan grew up in the north west of England as the eldest of four. Her family moved every couple of years with her father’s job as a banker. She attended half a dozen primary schools and three secondary schools and had little interest in higher education. One day, however, a teacher delivered a presentation on Sigmund Freud. “It was more interesting than anything else I’d heard before.”

Sally Macintyre “The discovery that you could characterise and understand human behaviour in ways that are

under electricity pylons) on people’s cognitive

relatively lawful was fascinating. It was the most

abilities, made a lasting impression on Susan,

fortunate accident,” she remarks. After reading

as did his views on the duty researchers have to

The Psychology of Communication by Miller she

better society.

decided last minute to apply for a degree. At York University she discovered her love for cognitive

Gender Divides

psychology. revolutionised

Susan notes a gender disparity in psychology

international psychology in the 1950s, was a

further up the ladder, except in clinical psychology.

great influence during her first postdoc under

Sally doesn’t see it in sociology, but feels the

his patronage. “He consumed thinking, ideas

social sciences are undervalued by researchers in

and practice. To be gathered into that vortex of

natural sciences or medicine, where there’s more

his interest and engagement was fabulous.” His

of an ‘alpha-male thing’ going on. She asserts,

applied take on psychology, such as the effects

“Our work is evidence-based and we robustly

of adverse environmental conditions (like living

test hypotheses. Even though we officially have






Somehow we are still seen as ‘soft and fluffy’. That annoys me

had only applied for the post after the shortlisting

the same status, somehow we are still seen as

committee invited her, and even then didn’t think

‘soft and fluffy’. That annoys me.” To which Susan

she had a chance.

agrees: “there is a feeling that you’re less central within the MRC community and there may be less currency to your views.”

Similarly, Susan recalls she only applied for her

Sally admits to accepting her honours awards –

while on a subcommittee reviewing the unit in her

post after other women prompted her. In 2009 capacity as an academic at York University, they

OBE, CBE and DBE – to improve the respectability

discovered there were no women in any of the

of her research field. On first hearing about her

unit’s top three salary bands. “There was quite a

damehood, she immediately assumed it was a

fuss,” she recalls. One of the outcomes was that

mistake. “I have this ‘little old me’ reaction all the

some younger, mostly female members of staff self-

time, thinking ‘this is bizarre!’ I’ve not changed

organised to form an equality committee. Invited

the world.” As Dame Sally Macintyre, she notes

to speak at their launch she comments: “It was a

the number of meetings where place cards at

fabulous chance to talk about how you get treated

the dining table acknowledge knights as ‘sir’

as a woman in science.” The directorship came up

while she remained ‘professor’. “I started to think

and committee members urged her to apply. “I was

it was quite a sexist thing, so I mentioned it at

amazed to be appointed.”

one dinner.” The organisers had presumed she wouldn’t want to use the title. “I don’t normally

Sally believes that self-censorship is a continuing

use the title at all, but if others, especially men,

subtle – rather than structural – barrier for women

do then I’m jolly well going to!” Both scientists were appointed director at each of their research units, though it took time before they felt comfortable in what had previously been

“I am conscious of the fact that if I leave work at lunchtime with my gym kit then I’m giving permission to others to do the same.” Sally Macintyre

a male role. Sally became director aged 33 and is now the longest serving MRC director. “I had a terrible time for about ten years. As an internal appointment, I was suddenly promoted above my colleagues, a lot of whom were male.” She



You can be a successful woman without being an alpha-female

in science. “The old joke that a man will apply for

Likewise, Sally takes pains to demonstrate that

a job with only two out of ten essential criteria,

she takes a proper lunch break, doesn’t work late,

but a woman with nine and a half will not, rings

and enjoys long holidays. “I am conscious that

true. Women need the encouragement and they

leaving the unit at lunchtime with my gym kit,

need to be put forward by others.” Susan agrees

I’m giving permission to others to do the same. A

that promoting women is “incredibly important”.

male unit director once told me it was impossible to go away for more than a week at a time. If I

Maintaining Balance

want to go away somewhere interesting I go for six weeks.”

As a full-time working mother with five children,

As a manager, she tries to listen to people and take

Susan leaves meetings early to collect the

their views into account. “You can be a successful

children, takes phone calls from school, and takes

woman without being an alpha-female.” Susan,

time off work when they are unwell; highlighting

as a senior leader in a creative environment, has

the importance of maintaining a healthy work-

learnt to put mechanisms in place for decision-

life balance. “Doing that and being seen to do it

making to reflect the best of people. “This makes

is incredibly important. I’m a single parent and

equality a natural outcome. If innovation and

have always shouldered the burden of childcare. I

productivity are what it’s all about, then diversity

rarely do more than an eight-hour day, and I work

and equality make huge sense. It’s not just social

a five-day week.” Her policy of keeping meetings

engineering. You just end up so much stronger.”

short is popular with colleagues too.



Clare Elwell and Petra Schwille exchange views on breaking female stereotypes in science

Swapping notes on how to thrive as topranking female physicists in a male-dominated environment, Petra Schwille and Clare Elwell find common cause. Their experiences cross cultural and scientific divides: Petra is based in Munich, Germany, and works on fundamental processes in cells. London-based Clare is more applications-focussed,



that help doctors solve medical problems. They discuss why so few women occupy the top jobs in the physical sciences. “We need to encourage women by saying: you’re as good as everyone else, just go out there and do it,” Clare affirms.

Clare Elwell

Both women have developed their own strategies to defy the trend. you feel a bit fragile, but you know you’ve got to

Gender Stereotypes

get on with it.”

Petra describes herself as naturally quite shy. At

Despite 21st century expectations, dated female stereotypes are not yet a thing of the past. When

school, however, she clocked a male friend who

Clare was asked to be on an expert panel, she

was always dominant and outspoken largely to his

recalls: “I walked into the room just before the

benefit. “It makes a lot of sense to be like that,”

session started and this chap came up to me, gave

she remarks, “so I copied him. It worked so well

me a pile of papers and said to me ‘oh excellent,

I never stopped. You have to be a bit on the cool side, not showing your feelings too much.”

we’ve been waiting for the photocopying to be

When Clare finds herself chairing a meeting of

what my role was and to be fair, he was mortified,

done’. It became evident over the course of the day but I mean, what a desperately awful assumption

solely men, she finds it best to be very clear and

to make.”

pragmatic. “You have to be focussed on what you’re doing. And there might be points where



You’re as good as everyone else, just go out there and do it

approach her with new problems. A major strand of her research is developing systems to investigate brain injury and development. This has led her to investigate cognitive function, for example in autism. Recently she has been discussing the possibility of performing brain imaging on astronauts in space, “Something I could never have imagined!” she laughs. Petra’s team aims to understand living systems on a minute scale – down to the movements of individual molecules. They have developed special microscopes that use single molecule optics to

Petra Schwille

watch proteins moving inside cells and through membranes. “At the moment we are trying to

Taking Charge

bring biological phenomena back to their basic

Both scientists head large research groups with

headway,” she says. Her ultimate aim is to

principles: it’s very rewarding, and we’re making understand the transition between the non-living

a lot of management responsibility. Petra’s group

and the living world, and identify the minimal form

has just moved to the Max Planck Institute of

of life. “It’s something I’m dearly interested in, but

Biochemistry near Munich. Clare’s is based at

I’m not sure whether we’ll ever be able to solve

University College London. “It feels like you are

this question.”

running a small company. You manage large budgets, make grant applications and undertake

Unexpected Beginnings

a lot of supervision and training,” remarks Clare. Both women enthuse about their work, describing their jobs as the best in the world.

Petra discovered her passion for basic research in faltering steps. Up until her PhD she’d no firm idea

For Clare, the variety of challenges fuels her

of what she might do. Was this open-mindedness


about her life due to her gender? “I considered it







There’s a huge tide to turn but we need to keep going

a complete failure to be a woman,” she admits.

medicine. A talk on medical physics drew her

“That was the underlying theme of my childhood.”

attention. “It was a real turning point…I enjoyed

Brought up with the expectation that girls stay

chemistry and biology, and loved maths and physics,

at home and have children, as an only child with

but wanted to do something medical.” The first in

obvious academic ability, her father – an industrial

her family to attend university; they watched her

chemist – pressed her to succeed. “I was raised

career progression with amazement. “It’s all been

as if I were a boy. I had no family role model to

a bit weird for them! There’s no academic pedigree

support the belief that a woman was good for

in our family.”

something, and had no idea what would become Although there was no role model for academic

of me.”







Freshly graduated, she was shown around a lab by

acknowledges how much they shaped her character:

Nobel laureate Manfred Eigen at the Max Planck

“My mother always encouraged me to be confident,

Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen,

establish a career and be financially independent.”

Germany. During this visit she suddenly realised

Having two older brothers also meant she was at

her vocation. “It was a well-equipped lab with

home in a male-dominated environment. “When I

lasers and microscopes. It was so beautiful, I

found myself at university as one of just ten women

really wanted to be there. From then on I wanted

in the year group of 100 students, it didn’t bother

to be a scientist.” This desire led to a PhD with


Eigen as her supervisor. For most of her career she has worked almost Clare found her direction in science

exclusively with men, without a female mentor,

earlier on. Aged seventeen she

boss or role model. Petra likewise admits there are

attended a residential summer

few women in her research field, but has never felt



uncomfortable. She has actively avoided looking

engineering focus. At that point

for role models. Growing up in southwest Germany

her mind was set on doing

in the 1970s, school subjects were all taught in




a way that avoided idolising historical figures. “Heroes are problematic in Germany,” she remarks,

“I spent a lot of my PhD cleaning microscope objectives for single molecule experiments to make sure they were absolutely free of pollutants.” Petra Schwille

“personalities don’t play a big role in our school



Success should be based on talent and hard work, not looks and wanting it enough

system.” Instead, she admires character traits,

professor if I worked part-time,” she recalls. “If

such as humility and putting the needs of others

I can demonstrate it’s possible for others, that’d

before your own.

be a positive outcome. Good childcare and a supportive family have been important – it’s a

Changing Perspectives

constant balancing act.” She admits it’s unusual

Having children marked a turning point in both

the UK.

to manage a part-time career as a professor in

scientists’ attitudes to the lack of women in the

In Petra’s view, there’s little society need do to

physical sciences. “Before I had kids I didn’t care

create more opportunities for women. “Women

at all, I never felt hindered by my sex,” says

themselves need to want the high-flying jobs.”

Petra. “I never thought it would be important to

She wonders if it’s down to biology post-childbirth:

encourage women because I was doing fine, but

“something that doesn’t make us want to fight out

since I had kids – and all three of them are girls

there.” Clare feels there’s a long way to gender

– I feel differently.” She asserts “Success should

equality in the future. “There’s a huge tide to

be based on talent and hard work, not looks and wanting it enough.”

turn. It’s depressing sometimes but we need to

Clare similarly admits concern about her daughter

Determined to help change the status quo, she

keep demonstrating that women have choices.” dedicates time to speaking at summer schools, or

approaching the ‘decision-making years’, not least

to the media, to explain why a career in science

with the influence of social media. “Science is a

is so rewarding. “When you’re young you have no

really good contributor to society, but gets lost

idea – like Petra not knowing what the day-to-day

amid celebrity nonsense most of the time.” She

work of a scientist was, even though her father

is reluctant to be seen as a role model but happy

was a chemist. These things are so important.”

to have a successful career as a medical physicist part-time. “I was told that I would never make

“Swimming gives me space and time to think about my science, and I often end up solving problems in the water.” Clare Elwell



Maggie Aderin-Pocock shares her experience of building a successful career in science and raising a family

“With childhood logic, landing on the Clangers planet didn’t seem that far-fetched,” recalls Maggie Aderin-Pocock, whose imagination was sparked by TV’s space age mice at the age of two. The Clangers entertained a generation of children who had not long seen men land on the moon. In this atmosphere of exploration “I wanted to be an astronaut,” recalls Maggie. “Most kids grow out of that sort of idea but for me it stuck.”

Maggie Aderin-Pocock was challenging enough, so her efforts began in

Now a successful space scientist Maggie Aderin-

earnest on home ground, though a stark contrast

Pocock juggles the management of her science

between home and school soon became apparent.

communications company, BBC TV appearances,

“At an early age I found reading and writing very

and a position as Science in Society ambassador

difficult because of dyslexia. At home I was playing

at University College London, with motherhood.

drafts with my sisters and felt quite bright. But that

She talks candidly about how she got here.

all disappeared at school and I sulked at the back of the class.” Buoyed by support from her father she

Making Plans

persevered. “My dad was brilliant because he was always saying ‘work hard and you’ll be amazed at

Maggie spent much of her childhood figuring out

what you can achieve.’ I think I was lucky because

how she was going to get into space, overcoming

I believed him!”

challenges of race, gender and dyslexia in the process. “At one point I wanted to go to Russia.

The “key break” came during a physics class when

I thought they’d be more sympathetic to women

the teacher asked ‘what does one cubic centimetre

space scientists and I didn’t like the idea of the USA

of water weigh?’ Initially hesitant to answer as

at the time. My sister told me about segregation;

the rest of the class went silent, Maggie correctly

I couldn’t believe it, the thought that because of

replied one gram. “I realised that though quite

the colour of my skin people would assume I’m

dyslexic, I was logical.” This revelation spurred

inferior and I’d have to sit at the back of the bus,

her on to study science outside of school with her

it just seemed mindboggling.”

father. Eventually she started attending evening classes on telescope making. Her teenage evening

Learning Russian felt impossible, one language

exploits would soon revolve around grinding two



Most people think of a scientist in a lab with test tubes. This is more like James Bond!

Working World

pieces of glass together for hours to make the perfect mirror for a telescope. “It was worth it. I could make something pretty cutting edge with

“I emerged as a PhD, applied to oil companies

my own hands.”

and got turned down. For some reason I applied to the Ministry of Defence.” Entering such a well-

The reward for her efforts would impact her

established male-dominated arena presented a

future career. “Living in London you don’t see

peculiar set of issues. “My boss had pictures of

that much of the night’s sky because of cloud.

semi-naked women in his office. Whenever I spoke

But I remember pointing my telescope up at

to him my voice would go up two octaves!”

the moon and seeing its craters. It was brilliant. That was my first instrument and I became an

The first day on the job was one she won’t soon


forget: “I think my immediate boss thought I was going to come in with my PhD from Imperial and

Maggie went on to complete a degree in physics

be all ‘hoighty-toighty’, so he wanted to bring me

at Imperial College London. “The intake was

down a peg or two. When I arrived at work, he said

around 200. I think two of us were black and

‘I need some new blinds up in my office and you

four or five of us were women.” By this time

need to put them up’,” recalls Maggie. “I quite like

she was used to standing out in a crowd and

DIY so I did it!”

thoroughly enjoyed her degree. Inspired by her undergraduate tutor Professor David Southwood,

Despite the introduction, work at the MoD proved

who would later become the director of science

especially rewarding. “We were developing missile

and robotic exploration at the European Space


Agency, in her view “a brilliant space scientist,”





lives.” Not to mention the excitement of hands on

made her think: ‘I want to do what you do.’

experiments. “There’s a picture of me standing in an aircraft with a camera, collecting data of this

By the end of her degree Maggie became

missile plume smashing into a wall. I

interested in optics, which she applied to the

love showing kids this picture. Most

study of engine oils in high-pressure contacts

people think of a scientist in a lab with

during her PhD at Imperial under the supervision

test tubes. This is more like James

of Professor Hugh Spikes. She felt supported and


encouraged, but would finish her studies in the midst of a recession.

The Clangers space-age TV series entertained a generation of children who had not long seen men land on the moon.



“I dreamt up the design for my wedding dress and had it made in the middle of a busy worldwide work trip. It made me believe I could do anything I put my mind to.” Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Space science loomed on the horizon as Maggie

Before she knew it the British Council was inviting

eventually left the MoD for UCL, to build an

her to give talks about space science all over the

instrument for the Gemini telescope – a project

world. “My husband used to laugh at me. ‘How

that would culminate in its construction in Chile.

many jobs have you got today Maggie? Five?

“It was fantastic. I was in South America, on the

Six?’” she chuckles. “I was trying to co-ordinate

foothills of the Andes, where the skies are clear

everything and then I got pregnant.” The arrival of

every night and you can see the heart of the Milky

her daughter, Lauren, coincided with an irresistible

Way.” Landing a job in the space department led

offer from the BBC to film a documentary about the

to more opportunities. “Suddenly I was working

moon. Maggie’s husband used his annual leave from

on things like the James Webb space telescope

work to take care of their young daughter as they

and by an amazingly convoluted route I became a

filmed around the world for five months. “It was

space scientist.”

brilliant and scary at the same time. Sometimes I’d turn up staring bleary eyed into the camera. I was

Juggling Jobs

feeding my daughter at night and filming during the day.”

A move to Astrium, the world’s third largest space

Changing Minds

company, was to follow. Now married and with the prospect of starting a family, Maggie began laying the foundations of her science communications

Choosing to spend more time with her daughter,

company. Her involvement in education and

Maggie left Astrium to focus on public engagement.

public engagement was further fuelled when she

It was easier to bring her daughter along for the

secured one of the first Science and Technology

ride. “We gave a talk at the Royal Albert Hall in

Facilities Council (STFC) fellowships. Two more

front of 5000 women from the Women’s Institute

would follow, then an MBE in recognition of her

and Laurie came on stage with me. It’s a brilliant

efforts. “With the STFC fellowship I got to visit

thing.” Not only for Maggie but also other women

kids in school. I was struggling to get more

scientists out there. “It worked out really well in

optical engineers to join my group at Astrium and

terms of getting a message across to the girls in

thought, as scientists we need to get out there

the audience. One girl came up to me at the end

and tell people.” Six years of school visits has seen

of a talk and said that seeing me on stage with my

Maggie reach 120,000 people.

baby made her think ‘I can do this’.”



Demonstrate you are capable and they won’t see colour or gender

Women who pursue careers in the physical sciences may still find themselves in a minority, but Maggie notes “being unusual isn’t necessarily a bad thing.” Standing out brings challenges and benefits. “As a project manager, when I’m introduced to a new team, I can see them thinking ‘Who’s this? She’s black, she’s female, she doesn’t look like an engineer’. I’m under a lot of scrutiny at that stage and when someone hits a problem, I need to show that I have the technical prowess to understand their problems and solve them quickly.”

Kathy Sykes Physicist Kathy Sykes encourages researchers

What may have initially proved a challenge in

across all subject areas to get engaged with the

industry has helped in her other roles. “My media

public, in her position as professor of sciences

career wouldn’t have done half as well if I were

and society at the University of Bristol. Her

white, middle-aged and male. If I do something

commitment to public engagement with science

brilliant, I’m going to be remembered. If I do

was honoured in 2006 with the Royal Society Kohn

something awful, I’m still going to be remembered because I’m out there.”

Award. Most recognised for presenting the TV

Learning how to be comfortable standing out is “a

communicating science not only through TV, but

series Rough Science, Kathy is actively involved in by contributing to the creation and direction of

state of mind” asserts Maggie. “Sitting in meetings

events such as the Cheltenham Science Festival

thinking ‘oh god I’m the only black person here,

and NESTA Famelab. Helping inform Government

I’m the only woman here’ puts additional pressure

policy on science and technology, she is also a

on us. Demonstrate you are capable and they

member of the Council for Science and Technology

won’t see colour or gender.”

(CST). Kathy began her career with a PhD in biodegradable plastics and is now one of the UK’s leading science communicators.


Suffrage heirloom Jewellery


suffrage heirloom jewellery

‘Suffrage’ comes from the French word meaning ‘vote’. A hundred years have not yet passed since women were granted the right to vote. Emmeline Pankhurst and Louise Eates spent the late 19th and early 20th centuries protesting for equal rights. These famous suffragettes were presented with specially commissioned pieces of jewellery by the Women’s Social and Political Union to acknowledge their important contribution in the fight for equal voting rights in the UK, granted finally by 1928. Portrait of Emmeline Pankhurst courtesy of Museum of London

Jewellery Design Competition Second year students taking the BA in Jewellery Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design participated in a competition to have their designs made for leading women scientists. Two winning designs, by Lola Lou and Diana Dong, were selected by a panel of judges for production. Pendants and brooches were crafted courtesy of Martin Baker for the scientists featured in this publication. Jewellery will be passed on as ‘science heirlooms’ to encourage young female researchers. A selection of student designs – that reference the scientific research of the featured scientists and the suffrage movement using green (hope), white (purity) and purple (dignity) – are featured on the following pages. Course Tutor: Sian Evans, Course Director: Caroline Broadhead


suffrage heirloom jewellery: winning design

Diana Dong


suffrage heirloom jewellery: winning design

Lola Lou


suffrage heirloom jewellery: runners up

Hye Ri Kim


suffrage heirloom jewellery: runners up

Gianna Chan


suffrage heirloom jewellery: runners up

Nadia Fedotova


suffrage heirloom jewellery: runners up

Sana Saeed


suffrage heirloom jewellery: runners up

Tiffany Baehler


suffrage heirloom jewellery: runners up

Zulieka Penniman


suffrage heirloom jewellery: highly commended

Jiayin Li


suffrage heirloom jewellery: highly commended

Leonid Dementiev


suffrage heirloom jewellery: highly commended

Joann Hong

Felicia Swartling


suffrage heirloom jewellery: highly commended

Edward Duepner


suffrage heirloom jewellery: highly commended

Esna Su


suffrage heirloom jewellery: unity emblem

Woo Seok Jeon

Women’s Unity Emblem Drawing inspiration from the suffrage movement - using green (hope), white (purity) and purple (dignity) - this emblem fuses the male and female insignias to produce a symbol for gender equality. The design, by Central Saint Martins student Woo Seok Jeon, will be crafted into an affordable lapel-pin, to be worn in support of women in science.


Suffrage Textiles


suffrage textiles


Power is usually not given willingly, but taken.


Neil MacGregor A History of the World in 100 Objects, BBC Radio 4

Suffrage banner courtesy of Museum of London

Suffrage artefacts like the defaced 1903 penny and the banner pictured above echo the historical campaign for gender equality. Using green for hope, white for purity and purple for dignity, contemporary designers reference the suffrage legacy and commemorate women in science today with a collection of bespoke textiles.


suffrage textiles

En Sook Shin

Textile Design Competition Second year students taking the BA in Textile Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design participated in a competition to design and produce wrist pieces for leading women scientists. Students spent 3 weeks researching suffragists and scientists before weaving their final pieces to be worn by the twelve women scientists featured in this publication. The winning pieces are featured on the following pages. Course Tutor: Philippa Brock, Course Director: Anne Marr


suffrage textiles

From Top: Svea Finlay, Edyta Krzynovek, and Annie Joy Maxfield (x2) respond to the research of Molly Stevens


suffrage textiles

From Left: Rebecca Skelton Jade Anisah Dominique Eli Sequiera (x2)


suffrage textiles

Megan ‘Sky’ Gwillim

Zana Ajvazi responds to the research of Athene Donald


suffrage textiles

Martha Garland responds to Susan Gathercole’s research on memory in children

Laura Eleanor Angoh responds to Maggie Aderin-Pocock’s work in space science

En Sook Shin responds to Jennifer Nichols’ research on stem cells


suffrage textiles

Aline Nakagana De Oliviera responds to Julia Higgins’ research on polymers

Bryonny Hotchkiss

Jessica Leigh Calvert responds to Sally Macintyre’s research on health and social inequality


index of featured scientists ALLEN, Sir Geoffrey


Chemist; PhD; Visiting Fellow at Robinson College, Cambridge

Pharmaceutical Chemist; PhD (1985); Dean of the Faculty of

(1980-present); Vice President of the Royal Society (1991-1993);


Chancellor of the University of East Anglia (1993-2003); Knighted

Melbourne (2007-present); Director of the Monash Institute of

(1979); FRS

Pharmaceutical Sciences (2007-present)

DPhil at the University of Leeds; moved to the National Research Council

Read Pharmacy at Monash University (1981). DPhil in drug design at

in Ottawa, Canada. Returned to the UK to the University of Manchester;

the University of Kansas (1985). Joined the pharmaceutical industry;

became Professor of Chemical Physics (1965-1975). Moved to Imperial

drug discovery scientist at Sterling Drugs (1986-1990). Returned to

College London; became Professor of Polymer Science (1975-1976)

Australia to become senior lecturer (1991), Professor and then Dean

and then Professor of Chemical Technology (1976-1981). Chaired

of the Faculty of Pharmacy. Carries out research into drug discovery,

the Science Research Council (1977-1981). Studies the physics and

delivery and development, in collaboration with industry. Most notably

chemistry of polymers; made particular strides in the thermodynamics

developed a new drug for the treatment of malaria.







of rubber elasticity. Director of Unilever (1982-1990); President of the EDWARDS, Sir Samuel Frederick

Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (1994-1995).

Physicist; PhD (1952); Knighted (1975); Cavendish Professor of MILLER, George Armitage

Physics, Cambridge (1984-1995); FRS

Psychologist; (1920-2012); PhD (1946); Fellow of the AAAS (1957);

Read Natural Sciences at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. DPhil

Professor of Psychology at Princeton (1979-2012); One of the founders

on the structure of the electron under Julian Schwinger at Harvard

of cognitive psychology

University and postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

Read History at the University of Alabama (1940); Masters in Speech

Returned to the UK; Birmingham University (1953); Professor of

(1941). DPhil in psycho-acoustics under Stanley Smith Stevens at


Harvard University (1946); Associate Professor of Psychology at

Cambridge; Professor of Theoretical Physics (1972), then Cavendish

Harvard University (1948). Became Faculty at MIT, the Rockefeller

Professor of Physics (1984-1995). Researched condensed matter

University and Princeton (1979).

Presented seminal findings on

(1958), revolutionising the approach to studying polymers, gels and

working memory at the Eastern Psychological Association (1955) that

colloids. President of the Institute of Physics (1972-1974); Chaired the

would shape cognitive psychology. Authored several respected books,

Science Research Council (1973-1977).







considered to be some of the first significant works in the field. EIGEN, Manfred BEDDINGTON, Rosa

Biophysical chemist; PhD (1951); Director of the Max-Planck

Developmental Biologist; (1956-2001); PhD (1981); Head of Division

Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (1971-1995); Nobel Prize in

of Mammalian Development at NIMR (1993-2001); Revolutionised

Chemistry (1967)

understanding of mammalian embryonic patterning; FRS

Read Physics and Chemistry (1948) at Georg-August University,

Read medicine at Brasenose College, Oxford. First class BA (1977).


DPhil and postdoc in Richard Gardner’s lab focusing on early mouse

under Arnold Eucken. Moved to the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical

embryo; conducted renowned microsurgical experiments; noted also

Chemistry where he developed novel measuring techniques for

for artistic drafting skills. Moved to Edinburgh (1991) and NIMR (1993).

fast chemical reactions (1953-1963). Received the Nobel Prize for

Provided significant revisions to Spemann’s 1920s work on embryonic

Chemistry, alongside Ronald George Wreyford Norrish and George

development: showed patterning in anterior-posterior axis formation

Porter, for their landmark studies into the kinetics of fast chemical

depended on two sets of organisers. Died from cancer (2001) aged 45.

reactions (1967).


FREUD, Sigmund

Experimental Psychologist; (1926-1993); Director MRC Applied

Neurologist; (1856-1939); Doctor of Medicine (1881); Neurologist

Psychology Unit, Cambridge (1958-1974); Fellow of Wolfson College,

at Vienna General Hospital (1882-1886); Founder of psychoanalysis

Oxford (1974-1991); FRS

Enrolled at the University of Vienna (1873); Studied physiology under

and continued on to a DPhil in Natural Sciences (1951)

Joined the RAF (1943-1947). Read Psychology at Pembroke College,

Ernst Brücke (1873-1879); Attained degree in medicine (1881). Worked



at Vienna General Hospital and became lecturer in neuropathology

Cambridge and appointed Director (1958). Moved to the Department

(1882-1886). Set up a private practice in Vienna to treat psychological

of Experimental Psychology, Oxford (1974) as an external MRC staff

disorders. Developed classic theories on the unconscious mind and

member. Contributed significant theories to the study of selective

repression. Developed the method of psychoanalysis that would

attention and short term memory, including the filter model of attention

inspire the field of psychology to this day. Founded the International

featured in his influential book Perception and Communication (1958).

Psychoanalytical Association (1910). Authored numerous noted works,








index of featured scientists including The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), Three Essays on the

MEAD, Margaret

Theory of Sexuality (1905) and Introduction to Psychoanalysis (1917).







Professor at Columbia University (1954-1978); Fellow of the AAAS GARDNER, Sir Richard

(1948); Popularised anthropology in Western cultures

Developmental biologist; PhD (1969); Royal Society Professor,

Read Anthropology at Barnard College, Columbia University (1923);

Oxford (1978-2008); Knighted (2005); FRS

Stayed on for a Masters under Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict (1924) and

Read Natural Sciences at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge. DPhil in

a DPhil (1929). Studied sexual attitudes in South Pacific and Southeast

Physiology under IVF pioneer Robert Edwards at Cambridge (1971);

Asian communities. Executive Secretary for the American National

Appointed to a Lectureship in Zoology at Oxford (1973); Director of

Research Council Committee on Food Habits (1939-1946); Curator of

the ICRF Developmental Biology Unit in Oxford (1986–96); President

ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History (1946-1969);

of the Institute of Biology (2006). Made significant contributions

President of the American Anthropological Society (1960); President

to understanding the lineage and patterning of cells in the early

of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1975).

mammalian embryo and the properties of embryonic stem cells. MEDAWAR, Sir Peter GOWLAND, Gerald

Biologist; (1915-1987); PhD; Director of the NIMR; Nobel Prize in

Immunologist; PhD (1958); Chair of the Department of Imunology,

Physiology or Medicine (1960); Knighted (1965); FRS; Pioneer of

University of Leeds (1969-1990)

tissue graft rejection

Read Bacteriology at the University of Leeds (1956); DPhil in

Studied at Marlborough College and Magdalen College, Oxford.

immunological tolerance to soluble antigens (1958). Postdoc at Leeds

Professor of Zoology at Birmingham University (1947-1951) and

with Geoffrey Burwell, producing classic papers on bone transplantation.

University College London (1951-1962); Professor of Experimental

Further work under Sir Peter Medawar at University College London and

Medicine at the Royal Institution (1977-1983); President of the Royal

the NIMR, where he made significant contributions to the understanding

Postgraduate Medical School (1981-1987). Appointed Director of

of transplantation tolerance and homograft sensitivity. Professor at the

the NIMR (1962-1969) until partially disabled by a stroke. Received

MRC Transplantation Research Unit at the University of Southampton

the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1960), alongside Frank

(1965); Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (1979).

Macfarlane Burnet, for their work on tissue grafting which forms the cornerstone of organ transplantation today.

KRAMER, Edward Materials Scientist; PhD (1966); Professor in Materials and Chemical


Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara (1997-present);

Space scientist; PhD (1969); President of the Royal Astronomical

Fellow of the AAAS (1994)

Society (2012-present); Senior Research Investigator at Imperial

Read Chemical Engineering at Cornell University (1962). DPhil in

College London (2011-present)

Metallurgy and Materials Science at Carnegie-Mellon University (1966).

Read Mathematics at Queen Mary College London (1966). DPhil in

NATO postdoctoral fellow at Oxford in the laboratory of Peter Hirsch.

physics at Imperial College London (1969). Postdoc at the University

Joined Cornell University (1967) and became Professor of Materials

of California, Los Angeles before returning to Imperial (1971). Vice

Science and Engineering (1988). Moved on to a professorship at UCSB

President of the Royal Astronomical Society (1989-1991); Head of Earth

(1997). Pioneered the use of new techniques to study glass polymers,

Observation Strategy (1997-2001); Director of Science and Robotic

such as small angle X-ray scattering and quantitative transmission

Exploration at the European Space Agency (2001-2011). Significantly

electron microscopy. Studies the properties governing the structure

contributed to solar–terrestrial physics and planetary science. Pivotal in

and processing of copolymers.

building instrumentation for the Cassini Saturn orbiter.

LYONS, Laurie


Physical chemist; (1922-2010); Professor of Physical Chemistry at

Mechanical Engineer; PhD (1972); Professor of Lubrication and Head

the University of Queensland (1963-1987)

of Tribology Research Group at Imperial College London

Honours degree in acetone photolysis at the University of Sydney

Read Natural Sciences at Cambridge (1968); DPhil in Tribology at

(1942); DPhil from the University of London (1952). Worked as a

Imperial College London (1972). Made significant strides in tribology

chemist (1939-1943); joined the air force (1943-1945). Post-war

– the study of interacting surfaces in motion – particularly the

returned to the University of Sydney; Professor of Physical Chemistry

contribution of lubricant additives to film formation, friction and wear.

(1963) and later Head of Chemistry (1970-1973) at the University of

Investigates lubricant additives for the reduction of environmentally-

Queensland; Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences (1971).

damaging emissions from engines.

Pioneered measuring the optical and electronic properties of organic molecular crystals and developing photoelectrochemical cells.


tracing suffrage heirlooms Follow the provenance of 12 pieces of Suffrage Heirloom Jewellery as they are handed down from leading women in engineering, the physical sciences and medicine to their protégés

2013 M. Aderin-Pocock A. Donald C. Elwell S. Gathercole J. Higgins E. Ingham S. Macintyre J. Nichols P. Schwille M. Stevens K. Sykes L. Yellowlees





Produced by the Public Engagement, Media & Grants Facility MRC Clinical Sciences Centre Editor (Lux Fatimathas); Articles (Sophie Hebden: Athene Donald &

In addition to all of the women scientists who contributed to this

Julia Higgins, Lesley Yellowlees & Molly Stevens, Susan Gathercole &

publication, we would like to thank: Professor Amanda Fisher (Director,

Sally Macintyre, Clare Elwell & Petra Schwille; Lux Fatimathas: Eileen

MRC Clinical Sciences Centre), who inspired all aspects of this project

Ingham & Jennifer Nichols, Maggie Aderin-Pocock); Typesetting, Design

to commemorate women in science; Vivienne Parry for conceiving of

and Photography (Richard Newton, Anthony Lewis); Profile sketches by

science heirlooms (jewellery) and hosting the associated debate on

Martin Lynch-Smith; Object sketches & Cover by Fiona McLeod

Marie Curie; L’Oréal for their support in marketing the project; Philippa Brock, Caroline Broadhead, Sian Evans and BA design students from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design for creating jewellery and textile designs for Suffrage Science; Jenny Higham (Imperial College London), Katy Gandon (L’Oréal UK) and Vivienne Parry for

helping to judge designs; Martin Baker for making the jewellery.



suffrage science 4

Suffrage Science 2013  

Suffrage Science 2013 - celebrating and promoting women in science. A scheme run by the Medical Research Council, and MRC Clinical Sciences...

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