Suffrage Science: 2013

Celebrating women in the physical sciences

Suffrage Science celebrates the achievements of leading female scientists, in what is now an annual event following its successful launch in 2011. Suffrage Science: 2013 will honour 12 leading female scientists in the fields of engineering and the physical sciences, as applied to medicine.

Descendants of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, great-granddaughter Helen and her daughter Laura, awarded the women bespoke heirloom jewellery, reminiscent of the specially crafted jewellery received by noted women of the suffrage movement. The ceremony took place in the tearoom of the Waldorf Hilton Hotel, echoing suffrage meetings held in tearooms across the country.

Bringing together the arts and the sciences, the heirloom jewellery was designed by students at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. The designs were showcased at a pop-up exhibition during the event, which to launch the unique, keepsake publication Suffrage Science: 2013, featuring interviews with the nominated women scientists. Read it online below, or click here to download a pdf. If you would like a print copy, please email

Science writer and broadcaster, Vivienne Parry, who conceived of the heirloom jewellery scheme also hosted a debate to discuss whether Nobel prize-winning physicist Marie Curie would have made it as a woman in science today.

The 12 women celebrated this year are:
  • Professor Dame Athene Donald (Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Cambridge)
  • Professor Dame Julia Higgins (Emeritus Professor of Polymer Science, Imperial College London)
  • Professor Molly Stevens (Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine, Imperial College London)
  • Professor Lesley Yellowlees (President of the Royal Society of Chemistry)
  • Professor Eileen Ingham (Professor of Medical Immunology, University of Leeds)
  • Dr Jennifer Nichols (Wellcome Trust-MRC Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge)
  • Professor Dame Sally Macintyre (Director of the MRC Social and Public Health Science Unit, Glasgow)
  • Professor Susan Gathercole (Director of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge)
  • Professor Clare Elwell (Professor of Medical Physics, University College London)
  • Professor Petra Schwille (Director of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry)
  • Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock (Director of Science Innovation Ltd)
  • Professor Kathy Skyes (Professor of Sciences and Society, University of Bristol)

In 2015 these women will pass on their heirloom jewellery to the next group of excellent female scientists and communicators, in a bid to encourage them to make their way to the top.

You can view photos from the event below:
Suffrage Science: 2013
Imperial College, London
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