Four steps to killing off sexism in science

Published in the Guardian, Seirian Sumner (Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol) discusses how to get more women into top roles in Universities.

‘The paucity of role models for female scientists reinforces the stereotype of science as the preserve of middle-aged bearded men in white coats. There are numerous initiatives to dispel this image, such as the Wise campaign , Science Grrl and Soapbox Science. We’ve had some positive feedback on the Soapbox science events I run with my colleague, Nathalie Pettorelli. In Newcastle, one parent said that the best part for her had been the reaction of her daughter, who saw a female scientist for the first time there. Around 80% of visitors felt inspired to find out more about the subject covered. A school pupil at a London event said it had “led me to believe that women can also excel and attain success in such a complex field.” It’s early days yet, but these kinds of grassroots events are a a vast improvement on some of the efforts from the “experts”, such as the European Commission’s awkward “Science: it’s a girl thing” campaign.’

Follow the link to read the whole article – Sexism in Science









Do we need more role models?  Who is yours?  Are you a role model to someone?  Could you be a role model?

Bridging the divide between Science and Arts in the UK

At this year’s British Science Festival there has been a call (led by Athene Donald) to bridge the divide between Science and Arts in the UK. To get a better understanding of how this works Jo Barstow (British Science Association Media Fellow) interviewed PhD student Julie Wertz (based at the University of Glasgow).  Julie is the winner of the inaugural Jacob Bronowski Award Lecture for Science and Arts.

‘Hailing from Nebraska, Julie studied Chemistry and French at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After a brief stint in pharmaceutical quality control she moved to the University of Glasgow, where she holds a prestigious Lord Kelvin Adam Smith scholarship. Her PhD project, studying the historical process that created the durable but complex dye Turkey Red, has enabled her to combine her love of chemistry, textiles and French. Julie chatted to me after her lecture, in which she explained her attempts to recreate the dyeing process using instructions provided in historical sources.’

Follow this link to read the full interview – Julie Wertz

Are you bridging the divide with your research?  As a School we cover both Humanities and Science.  Could we create more links?


Back to Science, against all odds

Dr Graziella Iossa (Back to Science Fellow at the School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln) has published a blog post on SoapboxScience about leaving and then returning to academia, while also starting a family.  This is a really inspirational blog post and well worth reading!

‘I never thought I could go back to academia nearly five years after leaving it but here I am I have made the first step. It will be no easy task to get up-to-date with research findings, developing and furthering my skills and establish myself into my own field, but I am really enjoying it. I am hoping that writing about my experience will inspire more women to believe that it is possible to move back into academia after a career break.’




Life outside work

On her Twitter page Athene Donald (Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Cambridge) has highlighted the BBC Radio 3 Programme Private Passions, and in particular the episode with Mark Miodownik a Professor of Materials and Society at University College London – ‘Great to get scientists talking about other parts of their life’




A little bit about Mark:

From concrete to chocolate and teacups to tennis racquets, it’s the everyday stuff of life that fascinates Mark Miodownik. He’s Professor of Materials and Society at University College London where he is also Director of the Institute of Making, a research hub for scientists, designers, engineers, artists, architects – and musicians. A passionate communicator about the vital role of science in society, he’s written a bestselling book Stuff Matters; he’s the scientist in residence on Dara O’Briain’s Science Club on BBC2; and he’s listed by The Times as one of the 100 most influential scientists in the UK’

What do you think? When you go for coffee or lunch are you still discussing work?  Should we take a proper break from work and discuss other things? Should we share more?  If you want to, there is no pressure!

New challenge –  when you next bump into someone in the corridor or meet for coffee don’t just talk about work, try discussing other topics too.  It could be interesting and you never know what you will learn!

For me, outside work I love gardening and this year I finally have some space to grow more plants.  A few of my successes (even if I say so myself!) are pictured below.  I could talk about my plans/ideas for next year all day (if I didn’t have to work!)…………..  What could you share about your life?

Clematis 1

FlowerRose 1