International Women’s Day: The scientists and engineers who inspire us
International Women’s Day (8 March) is both a celebration of women’s achievements and a vital call for action towards equality.
The annual event encourages us to #BreakTheBias and strive towards a gender-equal world, free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.
In the fields of science and engineering there can be little doubt about the scale of the challenge we face, and the considerable work needed, to make this a reality.
An army of women, though – past, present and future – are leading the charge.
Here we ask scientists across the Faculty of Science and Engineering (and beyond) about the women who inspire them most.
Elif Turk: Özlem Türeci
Elif, a second-year mechanical engineering student in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering who also runs the Women in Engineering Society Manchester, has chosen the German physician, scientist and entrepreneur Özlem Türeci.
A pioneer in the field of vaccines, Türeci co-founded the biotechnology company BioNTech. Importantly, she and her team were able to develop the first messenger RNA-based vaccine – crucial in the long-running battle with COVID-19.
Aneeqa Khan: Technically Speaking
Dr Aneeqa Khan is a research fellow in nuclear fusion within The University of Manchester at Harwell. Her selection is not one person but a whole team – the one behind the fantastic Technically Speaking podcast.
A diverse collection of scientists and engineers, the team comes together to apply their critical thinking skills to just about anything. As they say themselves, they’re sometimes funny, often opinionated, and always entertaining!
Dr Khan has also appeared on the Faculty podcast The Buzz, where she helped us answer the question: What is the future of nuclear energy?
Katie Downes: Rosalind Franklin
For Katie Downes, a PhD student in cell biology and member of the Have You Heard? podcast team – a project aiming to spark discussion about what science is, how it makes it to our newsfeeds, and how we should interpret it – the choice had to be Rosalind Franklin.
Best known for her work uncovering the structure of DNA, Franklin was an English chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose work was also central to the understanding of molecular structures of RNA, viruses, coal and graphite
Katie has also featured on The Buzz podcast, when we asked the question: Should we trust all science news?
Sophie Daniel: Imogen Napper
Sophie is a PhD student in the Department of Materials, who has a background in fashion and whose current research looks at how we can remediate plastic pollution in the oceans. Her favourite female scientist is Dr Imogen Napper.
A postdoctoral researcher at the University of Plymouth, Dr Napper’s fascinating research looks at microplastics found atop Mount Everest – a project of epic scale!
Chemical Engineering and Analytical ScienceChemistryComputer ScienceEarth and Environmental SciencesElectrical and Electronic EngineeringMaterialsMathematicsMechanical Aerospace and Civil EngineeringPhysics and AstronomyWomen of STEM