ScienceGrrl Calendar 2013: celebrating the female face of science

18/10/2012

Scientists and science communicators have joined forces to showcase the diversity and range of career opportunities available to women in science. On 18 October 2012 a calendar will be launched to raise money for projects that break down gender stereotypes and encourage young women and girls to see science as an enriching, exciting and productive career choice. It features 13 stunning images of scientists and science presenters including Prof Dame Nancy Rothwell and Tomorrow’s World’s Kate Bellingham.

ScienceGrrl Calendar 2013 showcases the real face of female scientists, with photographs that demonstrate the impact of their work. Three engineers on a London rooftop overlook a striking cityscape, showing the structural impact of STEM all around us. A medical physicist explains her work to a busy group of colleagues and a patient in University of Manchester’s PETCT scanner. In Bristol, an epidemiologist is surrounded by a blur of pedestrians as she examines data for a link between cannabis-smoking and mental health.

Several of the images also feature men, to show that science is for everyone and in reality, men and women work alongside each other as equals. Dr James Logan, entomologist and presenter of Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies is shown working alongside female colleagues, and BBC Horizon presenters Dallas Campbell, Dr Kevin Fong and Dr Adam Rutherford display portraits of female scientists who have inspired their careers. The calendar shows that science belongs to neither gender, but to us all.

In 2010 the UKRC/WISE reported that women form only 12.3% of the skilled workforce in science, engineering and technology. In a press release, published after this year's GCSE results were announced, the Campaign for Science and Engineering said: “More boys than girls take GCSEs in science subjects. This year’s rise in ‘triple science’ has been helped by students of both genders taking more science GCSEs, but in each of biology, chemistry, and physics, the rise for girls (27,206 more pupils, or 13.6% higher) has been bigger than the rise for boys (25,654, or 11.2% higher). This is encouraging news, but more must be done to redress the balance."

ScienceGrrl, a determined and diverse group of scientists lead by Dr Heather Williams of Central Manchester University Hospitals, have created a calendar crammed with beautiful photographs of their science. The careers shown are diverse: from solar cell chemist to Curator of Modern Physics to performers Helen Keen and Helen Arney, whose stage shows are based around scientific topics and themes.

The calendar will be sold to raise funds for initiatives that will help girls and young women engage with STEM subjects and realise STEM careers. These include the development of Breakthrough: the gender stereotypes project, which aims to challenge gender stereotypes through tailored school lessons; funding places at the Mission Discovery summer school for young people - the majority girls - who would otherwise be unable to attend; and enabling teams of university science students to take part in the iGEM synthetic biology competition. Founder and Director of ScienceGrrl, Heather Williams said: “ScienceGrrl celebrates what female scientists are already doing and encourages girls and young women to follow in our footsteps - and achieve even greater things. The 13 images in the ScienceGrrl Calendar 2013 can only showcase a small part of the fascinating and valuable work undertaken by the diverse range of women in STEM, but it is a beautiful introduction to the female face of science.”

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Manchester and President of the Society of Biology is taking part: “I am delighted to take part in an innovative project such as this which aims to support women in science.” she said. “There are far too few women in some disciplines in science and particularly in senior positions - I want to tell younger women that it’s great to be in a leading position, fun as well as very rewarding.”

The calendar is produced by Louise Crane, who was behind the sell-out Geek Calendar 2011 that raised £16,000 for the Libel Reform campaign.

The calendar is launched at a drinks reception at the Smith Centre, Science Museum, entrance on Imperial College Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD on Thursday 18 October 18.30-21.30.

-Ends-

Notes to Editors

For more information about the project visit: www.sciencegrrl.co.uk

The launch event will take place with thanks at Smith Centre, Science Museum, entrance on Imperial College Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD on 18 October 2012, 18.30-21.30. To register to attend the launch, contact Jon Wood jon@sciencegrrl.co.uk.

For interviews with scientists participating in the calendar, please contact Press Manager Lucy Harper (lucy@sciencegrrl.co.uk, 07989 342189).

A selection of low resolution images from the calendar is attached. Biographies of participants in this selection are below. High resolution versions are available on request from Louise Crane
louise@sciencegrrl.co.uk.

Biographies of all participants are available here: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/36441570/
ScienceGrrlCalendar2013allbiographies.pdf

About the project leaders:
Dr Heather Williams is a Senior Medical Physicist for Nuclear Medicine at Central Manchester University Hospitals, and renowned Positron Emission Tomography specialist. She is a “Leading Light” of the STEM Ambassador programme, STEMNET award nominee 2012, and mother of two.
Louise Crane is the former public engagement manager at The Physiological Society and currently studying for a masters’ degree in History of Medicine at UCL. She is a trained dancer in ballet, tap, jazz, cabaret and contemporary and lends her creative and production management skills to the calendar.

Participants in the calendar:
Ceri Brenner, Lia Han, Alison Auld, Ellie Cosgrave, Michelle Oyen, Adam Rutherford, Dallas Campbell, Kevin Fong, Mark Miodownik, Suzi Cage, Hamied Haroon, Heather Williams, Karen Fuller, Sarah Skeoch, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, Sujata Kundu, Angela Kaye, James Logan, Jay
Neale, Sarah Dewhirst, Kasope (Lucy) Olukogbon, Daniel, Sheila Dargan, Helen Whall, Fran Scott, Gia Milinovich, Katie Knapman, Kate Bellingham, Gareth Jones, Carmen Nasse, Lindsay Lee, Tamsin Edwards, Tilly Blythe, Alison Boyle, Helen Arney, Helen Keen, Jennifer Gupta, Sheila Kanani, Helen Czerski and Eleanor Stride.

About the supporters:
ScienceGrrl is an independent project with funding from a wide variety of organisations and individuals.

Funding organisations include the Cabot Institute at Bristol University, the Institute of Physics, Durham University, Science Council, The Ogden Trust, and the Society for Applied Microbiology.

Locations have been kindly donated free of charge by BBC Studios, Alexandra Palace, London; Science Museum, London; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; @Bristol Science Centre; Crane Park Island Nature Reserve; Evening Hill, Poole; Met Office, Exeter; The Biscuit
Factory Studios; UCL; University of Cardiff; and Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre, University of Manchester.

The calendar will cost £12 each (+p&p when purchased online) and is available for purchase on 19 October from:
Science Museum, London
Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
Online: http://www.sciencegrrl.co.uk/#/shop/4566816455

Canvas bags are also available online at a cost of £2 each.

Refs:
1. http://www.theukrc.org/influencing-policy/the-gender-pay-gap
2. http://sciencecampaign.org.uk/?p=10602

Biographies for low resolution images:

January
Image name: LiaCeri
Location: Optomechanics lab, UCL
Photographer: Ben Gilbert

Ceri Brenner, PhD, works as a research scientist at the Central Laser Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, and is also a technical laser specialist for the Science and Technology Facilities Council Harwell Imaging Partnership. Her PhD was in laser-plasma physics,
which she describes as “a very application-driven area of research”, encompassing technologies as wide-ranging as energy generation, cancer treatments and medical imaging. Her work involves firing lasers at small targets made of metal and then looking at the radiation that flies off them. She ran her first half-marathon on the weekend that she submitted her PhD thesis.

Lia Han, MSci, is a PhD student in experimental quantum physics at UCL. She works on optomechanics, shining lasers onto tiny glass balls in order to reveal their quantum nature. She is a classically-trained violinist, and in her spare time she DJs as DJ Kitty Mao and runs The Quantum
Workshop - a laser demonstration that involves levitating dust and ash using nothing but the power of light.

May
Image name: Manchester
Location: PETCT Suite, Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre, University of Manchester
Photographer: Naomi Goggin

Hamied Haroon, PhD, is a postdoctoral research associate at University of Manchester. He uses magnetic resonance imaging to work out how the healthy human brain is “wired together”. He is hoping to make history by organising the UK’s first national conference of disabled university
employees at Manchester University in June 2013.

Heather Williams, PhD, is a medical physicist at Central Manchester University Hospitals. She uses her scientific knowledge to make sure nuclear medicine imaging equipment is safe to use, so that doctors can trust what they see. In her spare time she directs ScienceGrrl, runs, and enjoys being
with her two sons.

Karen Fuller, MSc, is a medical physicist and radiation protection adviser in hospitals around South Yorkshire. She makes sure the X-rays and lasers that are used are safe for everyone, and patients get lower doses of radiation. In her spare time Karen is training to be a local preacher, and enjoys red wine.

Sarah Skeoch is a medical doctor and currently studying for a PhD in translational medicine at University of Manchester. By using MRI and PET scans, she investigates how inflammation affects the arteries in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, hoping to find a way to reduce the rate of heart
attacks and strokes in patients with arthritis. In her spare time she is a cheerleader for GB’s tennis star Andy Murray.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, PhD, is President and Vice-Chancellor of University of Manchester, serves on a number of national bodies and gives advice to the Prime Minister on Science and Technology. Her research group is currently working on a potential new treatment for stroke. She also has a weakness for dark chocolate and shopping.

Month: July
Image name: AnSaJaJa_CraneIsland
Location: Crane Park Island Nature Reserve, Twickenham
Photographer: Ben Gilbert

Angela Kaye, MSc, is researching the laboratory efficacy testing of repellents and insecticides for consumer use at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her research will ensure that products on the market are effective and will protect people from infectious insect bites. In her spare
time she is an amateur beekeeper with an obsession for good honey. Her first baby is due two days after Christmas.

James Logan, PhD, is a TV presenter for the BBC and for Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies. He also runs his own research group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, looking for new ways of controlling diseases like malaria that are spread by insects. When James is not in the lab or on TV, he is either playing rugby or running.

Jay Neale, MSc, is an environmental scientist. He assesses the health of rivers in the UK and abroad, looking to improve and protect the aquatic environment for future generations. In 2011 he was part of a team that raced over 600km to the North Pole, withstanding strong winds, extreme temperatures and polar bears.

Sarah Dewhirst, PhD, is an entomologist. She is trying to identify the natural chemicals that insects use to locate mates and food. These can be used to control and monitor insects that reduce yields of agricultural crops or spread diseases to animals and humans. Controlling insects with natural
chemicals will benefit people in developing and developed countries. She is also expecting her first child in November 2012.

August
Image name: Cardiff
Location: School of Biosciences, Cardiff University
Photographer: Naomi Goggin

Lucy Olukogbon is a physiology undergraduate at Cardiff University. She works closely with schools, Sixth Forms and colleges to bring creative and interactive science education to the classroom. She loves engaging with students who may have previously written off science, and in her spare time
enjoys dancing and music.

Sheila Dargan, PhD, has a research background in learning and memory and is currently a lecturer in physiology at the School of Biosciences, Cardiff University. She is passionate about inspiring the next generation of students and, through her public engagement work, anyone else who crosses her path.

Helen Whall is a first year medical student at Lancaster University, where she hopes to become “the best doctor she can”. She was inspired to study medicine by her A-level biology lessons, and a desire to further study anatomy and physiology in particular. She describes herself as an “avid fan of
psychology”, with an interest in the neuroscience of learning and memory. When she can, she heads to the Alps for snowboarding.

Daniel is the son of physiologist Sarah Hall. He has just started Year 7 and is loving his first experiences of chemistry, “especially the Bunsen burners!”. He thinks that it is “really cool” that his mum is a scientist, because he gets to “look around in the labs and measure things like how breathing changes” as a result of exercise. He loves science because he enjoys “doing practical experiments and finding out new things about the world.”

September
Image name: TomorrowsWorld
Location: BBC Studios, Alexandra Palace, London
Photographer: Greg Funnell

Fran Scott is a science demonstration developer and presenter. She has an MSci in neuroscience but her interest now lies in producing novel, high-impact (and dangerous) demonstrations… usually involving fire, explosions and a lot of mess.

Gia Milinovich is a science groupie and TV presenter. Gareth Jones is responsible for making her fall deeply in love with the Apollo Moon landings on a Friday, around 9.45pm, spring 1993.

Katie Knapman presented Tomorrow’s World from 2000-2003. She has also appeared on Countryfile, Time Team’s Big Roman Dig and in many maths and science education programmes. On a good day, she can do the Rubik’s cube in under two minutes.

Kate Bellingham presented Tomorrow’s World from 1990-1994 and The Big Bang from 1996-1997. She studied physics and engineering at university, has been a maths teacher and National STEM Careers Coordinator. She also likes to sing and performed in the musical Sweeney Todd immediately after this photo shoot!

Former roadie and ex-laboratory technician Gareth Jones presented How 2 for 16 years (1989-2005),The Big Bang for 6 years (1996-2001) and the final series of Tomorrow’s World (The Tomorrow’s World Roadshow) in 2003. He currently produces a car podcast called Gareth Jones On Speed. His favourite aerodynamic section is the Eppler 193.

Carmen Nassé studied physiology and biochemistry before getting into television as a trainee reporter. She presented Tomorrow’s World from 1991-1994 and is now a technical project manager at the BBC, where she is making HTML5 games for CBBC and CBeebies.

November
Image name: Babbage
Location: Computing gallery, Science Museum, London
Photographer: Greg Funnell

Tilly Blyth, PhD, is the Keeper of Technologies and Engineering at the Science Museum - in brief, she manages the galleries, exhibitions and research activity in this area. She has a fascinating collection at her fingertips, from Stephenson’s rocket, to the Apollo space capsule, to Charles Babbage’s Difference engine. Her vision is that museums can, and should, inspire, and she uses her position to showcase science as a vital part of our culture. She is currently Head Curator on the new Making Modern Communications gallery, due to open in 2014. Tilly has three daughters.

Alison Boyle, MSc, is a curator of astronomy and modern physics at the Science Museum in London. What she helps the museum collect today will shape how future generations understand our scientific and technological culture. She loves the variety - from holding a first edition (1543) of Copernicus’s On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres to working right up at the boundaries of human knowledge by leading an exhibition on the Large Hadron Collider, due to open in November 2013.

December
Image name: ShJeHeHe_UCLQuad
Location: North Observatory Tower, The Quad, UCL
Photographer: Ben Gilbert

Helen Arney is a geek songstress and science comedian who likes making scientific ideas accessible to new audiences, investigating the social and moral implications of modern research… or, she writes songs that rhyme with “Uranus”. She loves combining music with brain-jigglingly big, important ideas to make people laugh. Her undergraduate degree was in physics. If she ever has children she will call them Tiff (if it’s a girl) or Jpeg (if it’s a boy).

Helen Keen, comedy writer and performer, has been writing and appearing in BBC Radio 4’s stand-up space science series It Is Rocket Science! for the last couple of years. As a professional enthusiast, she hopes that her work showcases some of the creativity, originality and imagination that are the lifeblood of science, and also tells romantic stories of people pursuing dreams in the face of massive obstacles in science. In her spare time Helen collects things made out of early plastics.

Jen Gupta, PhD, is the Outreach Officer at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth. She aims to encourage more students to study physics, and if she can’t, she tries to show them that there is more to physics than what they cover in school. In her spare time she dreams of becoming the first person to play the drums in space.

Sheila Kanani, PhD, is a planetary scientist. She is currently passing on her space-based knowledge as a secondary school teacher, where she aims to inspire future “astronauts, engineers, scientists and world leaders”. In her spare time she gives lectures and talks, and performs shows and comedy gigs about science and space. She is an all round space fanatic, tap-dancer, world-traveller and coke-floatdrinking pocket-rocket.