Science Museum celebrates extraordinary women in science and engineering


New High Performance festival will mark International Women's Day

The Science Museum is bringing together the female scientists and engineers who make our world faster, brighter and better in High Performance, a three day festival of free talks, demonstrations and workshops which runs from 8-10 March.

During the festival, the museum will host live demonstrations from two hi-tech racing teams – the Cambridge University Eco Racing team and Viridity Girls Racing Team. People will be able to sit inside Endeavour, a solar powered racing car that entered the World Solar Challenge in 2011 and marvel at the design model for this year’s race.

Visitors can also enjoy a special series of talks by leading scientists and engineers -  covering fields such as motorsport technology, particle physics, astronomy and fuel cell engineering. Speakers include Squadron Leader Ruth Shackleton, Team Manager for the Red Arrows, Major Steph McKenzie who oversees the Army’s fleet of Apache helicopters and motorsport engineers Teena and Leena Gade.

Meanwhile, younger visitors can put their technical and problem-solving skills to the test in a series of drop-in workshops.

Kat Nilsson, Head of Contemporary Science at the Science Museum said, “To mark International Women’s Day we are taking the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the many scientists and engineers who make a difference to our lives - from motorsport engineers to those who unravel the mysteries of particle physics. We hope visitors of all ages come away from the High Performance festival feeling inspired.” 

Professor Athene Donald, Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Cambridge said, 'Women are making amazing contributions in these scientific and engineering fields. It's wonderful to see the Science Museum showcasing some of their contributions to celebrate International Women’s Day - putting inspirational women at the heart of this wide-ranging programme.'

High Performance Festival Full Programme

Live demonstrations

8-10 March: 11.00-13.00 and 14.00-16.00
Visitors can watch demonstrations from two hi-tech racing teams: Viridity Girls Racing Team and Cambridge University Eco-Racing.
Locations: Antenna gallery, ground floor, Wellcome Wing – Cambridge Eco-Racing, High Performance Race Space, first floor  – Viridity Girls Racing Team.


Invent Event
9-10 March 11.00-12.00 and 13.30-14.30, Saturday and Sunday
Inventors wanted! We challenge you to use your problem-making skills and build a mystery object. Find out more in this drop-in workshop.
Drop in, suitable for ages 7+
Location: High Performance Race Space, first floor.

Mumford Bug Derby
9-10 March 12.00-13.00 and 14.30-15.30, Saturday and Sunday
Power, speed or a cunning combination of both? Find out what it takes to win a race over level ground and hilly terrain in this minicar-building workshop.
Sign-up on the day, suitable for ages 12+
Location: High Performance Race Space, first floor.


8 March

Fuelling Formula One – 12.00 and 15.00
Shell Technology Manager Dr Cara Tredget brought chemistry to the heart of Formula 1, developing fuels and lubricants for Ferrari’s Formula One team. She’ll explain how chemists are just as important as engineers when it comes to winning the race.
Drop in, suitable for all.
Location: Launchpad Briefing Room, third floor.
Atom Smasher – 15.00
Professor Susan Smith directs the Accelerator Science and Technology Centre (ASTeC) and heads up the Daresbury Laboratory where she leads the innovative ALICE particle accelerator programme. Find out how accelerators are changing your world.
Pre-book and drop in, suitable for adults.
Location: The Theatre, ground floor

9 March

Through Adversity to the Stars – 12.00 and 15.00
Major Steph McKenzie commands 73 Aviation Company, 7 Air Assault Battalion REME – the engineering team responsible for maintaining the Army’s fleet of Apache helicopters. Squadron Leader Ruth Shackleton is Team Manager for the Red Arrows – she keeps the world’s finest aerobatic team flying head and shoulders above the rest. Experience a rare chance to hear from elite teams who keep Apaches and Arrows in the air.
Drop in, suitable for all.
Location: Launchpad Briefing Room, third floor.

Breaking Barriers – 13.30
Dr Patricia Fara, historian of science at the University of Cambridge, introduces the history of women in science and their relevance to our attitudes today.
Pre-book and drop in, suitable for adults.
Location: The Theatre, ground floor.

10 March

Le Mans: Behind the Scenes, Behind the Wheel – 12.00 and 15.00
Teena Gade is Event and Test Engineer with Skoda Motorsport’s rally team. Find out how Teena’s engineering know-how keeps rally cars and their drivers at the top of the motoring game. Her sister Leena Gade is an Audi Motorsport Engineer who became the first female engineer to win the Le Mans endurance race in 2011. She won the race again in 2012 with the innovative Audi R18 E-tron Quattro hybrid vehicle. Find out about their successes and what it takes to get to the top of the motoring game.
Drop in, suitable for all
Location: Launchpad Briefing Room, third floor.

For further information contact Laura Singleton, 0207 942 4364 or e-mail

Follow the conversation on Twitter #SM_HP

Visitor Information:
Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD. Open daily 10.00 to 18.00, except 24-26 December. / 0870 870 4868

Notes to Editors

Science Museum
As the home of human ingenuity, the Science Museum’s world-class collection of over 200,000 three dimensional objects forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Welcoming over 2.9 million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement.