Future Science Leaders


September 13th and 14th, 2011

Workshop home

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell CBE FRS

Jocelyn is a professor at the University of Oxford, and has research interests in neutron stars, microquasars, and gamma ray bursts. Born in Belfast, she graduated with Honours in Physics from the University of Glasgow. She completed a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge where she played a crucial role in the discovery of pulsars, opening up a new field of astrophysics, work for which her supervisor was awarded a Nobel Prize. Jocelyn has received honorary degrees from Harvard University, Glasgow University, and the University of Durham for her achievements, as well as many other medals and prizes from various institutions to honour her work. She was awarded a CBE in 1999, and was President of the Royal Astronomical Society from 2002 to 2004. In 2007 she was made a Dame of the British Empire. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Sciences. She currently serves as President of the Institute of Physics, a post she has held since 2008. She has devoted her time to a number of outreach projects, encouraging young scientists of the future via television, documentaries, radio, and books, serving as a role model for generations to come.

Professor Dame Kay Davies CBE FRS

Kay Davies is the Dr Lee's Professor of Anatomy at the University of Oxford, and was Head of Human Anatomy and Genetics 1998-2005 and then Head of the merged Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics Department from 2008. Her research interests include the genetic basis of neuromuscular and neurological disorders. She is the Founding Director of the MRC Functional Genomics Unit aimed at exploiting genome information for the analysis of the function of nervous system genes. Kay also co-founded the Oxford Centre of Gene Function to bring together genetics, physiology, and bio-informatics. She is a founding fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2003. She has an active interest in the ethical implications of her research and in the public understanding of science.

Dr Catherine Heymans

Catherine Heymans is a European Research Council Fellow and Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. She specialises in observing the Dark Side of our Universe, witnessing the ongoing battle between Dark Matters gravity bringing large scale structures together and Dark Energys accelerated expansion of space stretching those same structures apart. She co-leads the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Lensing Survey and, with her team, is using this survey to test whether we need to go beyond Einstein with our current theory of gravity. Amongst other projects she has also been a panel member on both the Hubble Space Telescope and European Southern Observatory time allocation committees. Since completing her PhD in 2003, Catherine has held postdoctoral fellowships from the Max-Planck Institute, the Canadian Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, Marie Curie and most recently the European Research Council. When she is not busy unveiling the mysteries of the Universe or enthusiastically lecturing undergraduates she can usually be found building sandcastles and paddling in the sea with her two small children.

Judith Finch

Judith Finch accidently became the first woman to study French and German at New College Oxford, and followed this female-friendly start with a career in financial services in the City in the early 1980s. Qualifying with KPMG, she spent her formative years on the shop floor of a number of North London factories before specialising with some relief in venture capital. During her two decades with KPMG she variously worked in financial services, manufacturing, retail, public sector, eBusiness, flexible working and race equality, produced three children and moved offices four times. She moved to Oxford University as head of Equality and Diversity where she ran the four University nurseries, managed the services to disabled staff and students, and organised the harassment network. Now a senior manager in the Oxford planning department, she regularly calls on her extensive secret network of fellow parents to get things done.

Professor Alyssa Goodman

Alyssa Goodman is Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University, a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution, and the Founding Director of the Harvard Initiative in Innovative Computing. Goodman and her research group at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics study the dense gas between the stars, seeking how this interstellar gas arranges itself into new stars using a variety of observational techniques from radio to X-ray wavelengths. Goodman is principal investigator of the unprecedented COMPLETE Survey of Star-Forming Regions, mapping out three large star-forming regions in our Galaxy, addressing key questions in Milky Way and stellar astrophysics. In 2008-9, Goodman was "Scholar-in-Residence" at WGBH, Boston's public television and radio station. She is also a major collaborator on the Microsoft WorldWide Telescope project. Goodman received her undergraduate degree in Physics from MIT in 1984 and a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard in 1989. She held a President's Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley from 1989 to 1992, after which she took up a post as Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Harvard. Goodman received the 1997 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize from the American Astronomical Society for her work on interstellar matter, and she became full professor at Harvard in 1999.

William D. Phillips

William D. Phillips shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997 for the "development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light." He obtained his PhD at MIT, and was a Chaim Weizmann postdoctoral fellow there for a few years, before taking a position at the U. S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (then the National Bureau of Standards) where he continues to do research on various aspects of ultra-cold atomic gases. He is also a Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute, a joint venture of NIST and the University of Maryland. He has held Visiting Professorships at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris and at Balliol College, Oxford and is a Fellow of the U. S. National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Anne Trefethen

Anne Trefethen is the Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre. The Centre works with research units across the University, nationally and internationally to enable the use and development of innovative computational and information tools and technology in multidisciplinary collaborations. Anne's research interests focus on numerical algorithms and software, computational science and high-performance computing. Before joining Oxford Anne was the Director of the UK e-Science Core Programme, having been the Deputy Director for four years. The Core Programme focussed on the generic issues for e-Science applications and Grid infrastructure through the development of appropriate middleware and infrastructure in collaboration with UK industry. Anne has worked both in industry and academia. She was Vice-President for research and development at NAG Ltd, developing a range of scientific, statistical and high performance libraries, Associate Director for Scientific Computational Support at the Cornell Theory Center and previously a research scientist at both the Theory Centre and Thinking Machines Corporation.

Barbara Justham

Barbara Justham would have studied languages at university were it not for one inspirational GSCE Physics teacher. Instead she gained a degree in Natural Science from Cambridge University followed by a PGCE there. Subsequently, she has gained 10 years of experience teaching Physics in a wide range of schools. The first was euphemistically described as being in 'challenging circumstances'; the second took the local asylum seekers' children and had a student body speaking 50 different home languages. Today, she is Head of Science at the Harrow International School in Beijing. Student uptake of Physics at A-level has increased dramatically in each school she has taught at. In addition, Barbara was for several years a PGCE mentor for the Oxford University Department of Education where she coached trainee Science and Physics teachers to develop a full suite of professional skills.

Dr Stephen Justham

Stephen Justham is currently a Kavli research fellow at the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Peking University, Beijing, China. He studied Natural Sciences, specialising in physics, at Cambridge University. Stephen's PhD at the Open University was followed by a postdoc in Oxford, during which time he lectured three courses at the Oxford University Summer School for Adults in both physics and astrophysics. His research mostly concentrates on problems related to stars and supernovae, applying theory and computational models to understand the formation and evolution of a range of perplexing systems.

Stephen Blundell

Stephen Blundell is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Mansfield College. He has been Head of Condensed Matter Physics at Oxford from 2008 until 2011. He completed his PhD in 1993 at the University of Cambridge, where he had been an undergraduate, and worked on polarized neutron reflection from magnetic multilayers. His current research interests in Oxford include muon-spin rotation, molecular magnets, organic metals and superconductors, magnetic frustration and strongly correlated oxides. He has written a textbook on magnetism in condensed matter physics, coauthored a textbook on thermal physics with his wife, the astrophysicist Katherine Blundell, and also written a popular introduction to superconductivity.

Katherine Blundell

Katherine Blundell is a Professor of Astrophysics at Oxford University and a Fellow of St John's College and was until recently a Royal Society University Research Fellow. Her research interests include extreme energy phenomena in the Universe, for example around black holes, astrophysical jets, relativistic plasmas, accretion discs, microquasars and extragalactic radio galaxies and quasars. She has published extensively on these matters, with over one hundred papers in academic publications and is frequently invited to speak at conferences and different institutes around the world. She has lectured Oxford physics undergraduates for a number of years on Cosmology, and now lectures on Special Relativity. She has co-edited the Oxford University Press book "Energy... beyond Oil" and published, also with OUP, a text book for physics undergraduates co-written with Stephen Blundell called "Concepts in Thermal Physics" the second edition of which appeared in autumn 2009. She was awarded a Leverhulme Prize in 2005 for her research in Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin prize for research achievements in 2010.