UK’s top female academics take science to the streets

  • When: Monday 16th July, 12pm – 3pm
  • Where: Riverside walkway (by Gabriel’s Wharf), South Bank, London, SE1 9PP

Is global warming gobbledygook? Do chromosomes confuse you? Given up on genomics? Then this year’s Soapbox Science event could be your answer! The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme have joined forces for the second year running with some of the UK’s most prominent female scientists to bring science to the people.

With speakers including Professor Dame Athene Donald, the equality champion at University of Cambridge, Professor Lesley Yellowlees, the first female president of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Professor Sunetra Gupta, acclaimed novelist and winner of the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award for her scientific achievements, spectators will discover what makes goo gooey, find out what dressed to kill really means and learn how plants protect themselves against the bitter winter.

Now in its third year, Soapbox Science will focus on inspiring a new generation of scientists and students from across London and the UK will be joining in. The event will strip away the Powerpoint presentations and jargon, transforming a small corner of the Southbank into an arena of dynamic debate centred on the latest cutting-edge science.

Whether you have three hours or three minutes, spectators can drop by and listen to some of the UK’s top female scientists from the fields of biology, physics, chemistry and engineering as they take to their soapboxes to talk passionately about their subjects and answer the public’s burning science questions.

The event is co-organised by ZSL Research Fellows Dr Nathalie Pettorelli and Dr Seirian Sumner, L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science fellows. Dr Seirian Sumner from ZSL said, “The event is now in its third year. This year we showcase how women in science can and do reach the top: these women are some of the UK’s top real women in science, and from their Soapboxes they will share their passion, motivation and scientific excellence with the public.” Dr Nathalie Pettorelli said “We hope this event will inspire a new generation of scientists, giving them the confidence to push through existing barriers, and help change the societal norms that currently hold women scientists back.”

Julie McManus, Director of Science at L’Oréal UK & Ireland added, “So many of us benefit from the amazing discoveries which these scientists have contributed to and Soapbox Science offers a unique chance for the public to get up close and personal with the research which affects our everyday life. By offering the public this platform for debate and interaction with the UK’s top female scientists we aim to provide the role models that will spur on the young scientists of the future.”

Professor Lesley Yellowlees, who is speaking at the event commented: “Events like Soapbox Science are vital to showcasing the female scientist talent in this country. On Monday 16th July, I will be joined by some of the most eminent scientists in the UK at the height of discovery and innovation. Hopefully, we will go some way to communicating the message to a new generation of scientists, and bridge the gender gap that is so eminent in science even today.”

Join us on the 16th July on the Southbank to be part of the debate and follow the conversation on Twitter @SoapboxScience . Science is all about asking questions… now it’s your turn.

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