Celebrating Women in Science
26 Oct 2012



The 16th October 2012 was Ada Lovelace Day – an annual event celebrating women in science.

​Suzie Sheehy presenting a laser diffraction demonstration at Ada Lovelace Day Live! at the IET

ALD aims to create new role models for girls and women in STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics) by sharing stories of inspirational women from around the world.​

This year one of the highlights was the 'Ada Lovelace Day Live!' event at the Institution of Engineering and Technology in London. 

Dr. Suzie Sheehy, research fellow in the STFC ASTeC Intense Beams Group, was invited to speak at the event and in the run-up was interviewed by the BBC on-site at RAL to make a short news feature about women in science. ISIS TS2 and the FETS hall featured as a great backdrop for a discussion of what it's like to work in a male-dominated field and what might be done to bridge the gender imbalance in science.

Suzie says, 'I love working in physics but sometimes I do wonder why there aren't more women in the field. It's a fascinating, fulfilling and varied career and I'm passionate about engaging all types of people with physics – from primary school kids to retirees.'

Her talk at ALDLive used a series of physics demonstrations to pull together the work of Rosalind Franklin, Marie Curie and her own work in high power proton particle accelerators. 

The day after Ada Lovelace Day, our very own Hayley Smith won a runner-up prize in the Institute of Physics' Very Early Career Woman Physicist Award - congratulations Hayley! The £1,000 award, sponsored by Shell, is a celebration of the achievements of female physicists at a very early stage in their physics careers. 

Hayley Smith (right)

Hayley Smith (right) wins runner-up prize in IOP's Very Early Career Woman Award, 2012
View full-size image


Hayley was invited to give a talk on her work on the upgrade to a higher intensity beam at ISIS.

The overall winner, Kate Sloyan (second from left), an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellow in the Optoelectronics Research Centre was chosen from four particularly competitive short-listed candidates due to her excellent scientific track record and her initiatives for enthusing others, particularly female students and school children, to enjoy science as much as she does.