Prof Sonia Contera is a currently Associate Professor of Biological Physics at the University of Oxford. She is also the Chair of the scanning probe microscopy section of the Royal Microscopical Society, and leads the OxfordCryo network.
Her work lies at the interface of physics, biology and nanotechnology and has an especial interest in the role of mechanics in bridging scales in biology. She is also an expert in scanning probe microscopy.
She graduated in Physics in Madrid (Spain); after postgrad studies in Beijing and Prague she got a PhD in Engineering from Osaka University (Japan). She was director of the Oxford Martin Institute of Nanoscience for Medicine (08-15). She was also member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Nanotechnology (15-16). Sonia is a public speaker and author of “Transmateria: nanotechnology and the future of medicine” (Princeton Uni Press, 2018).
Professor Val Gibson is Head of the High Energy Physics Research Group at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. Her current research is focussed on the LHCb experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Her research interests include the search for new phenomena using particles containing bottom quarks, and measurements of the phenomenon called CP violation, which holds the key to our understanding of the matter-antimatter imbalance in the Universe. She has been UK Spokesperson for the LHCb experiment and currently Chairs the LHCb Collaboration Board.
She enjoys science communication and is a Patron of the Gravity Fields Festival held in honour of Sir Isaac Newton. She is a champion of Women in Science and spearheaded the Cavendish Laboratory's success at achieving an Athena SWAN Gold award. She is the University of Cambridge Gender Equality Champion and Chair of the Institute of Physics Juno Panel.
Professor Dame Julia Higgins DBE FRS FREng, Senior Research Investigator (Emeritus Professor) of Polymer Science in the Department of Chemical Engineering in Imperial College, London. Her research career has focussed on the application of scattering techniques, notably neutron scattering, to the understanding of polymer behaviour.
Chair of EPSRC from 2003 to 2007, Vice President and Foreign secretary of the Royal Society 2001 to 2006. She was the founding Chair of the Athena Project from 1998 to 2003, and continues to support the careers of women in academic science as Patron of the Athena Swan awards.
She is a past President of the IChemE and is currently President of the Institute of Physics.
Suzie Imber was also the winner of the recent BBC 2 series entitled ‘Astronauts: Do You Have What it Takes?’ during which twelve candidates were put through astronaut training with NASA astronaut Chris Hadfield. She endured challenges such as taking her own blood, speaking Russian while in a centrifuge at 5g and carrying out emergency procedures on the NASA undersea astronaut training facility, Aquarius. Suzie will receive a letter of recommendation from Chris Hadfield to support her application to the European Space Agency astronaut training programme.
Suzie was an England U21 lacrosse player, an elite rower, and is now a high altitude mountaineer. She has written computer code to automatically identify mountains in South America, and found hundreds of mountains that didn’t exist on previous lists. She sets off annually to scale these incredibly remote, unclimbed mountains, exploring new regions of our planet and even discovering Incan ruins on the summits
Dr. Shakardokht Jafari (Shakar) is first woman from Afghanistan who has PhD in medical physics. She is passionate about using science and research outcomes to make a difference to people’s lives. That is why she started TrueInvivo LTD with her co-founder; to rescue her PhD findings from the library shelf and bring them to life. During her PhD research, she discovered that low cost commercial glass beads can be used as excellent radiation detectors – far better than other devices used now. She won the InnovateUK "women in innovation award" in 2016.
Shakar also works in the Queen Alexandra hospital as a clinical scientist and as a visiting researcher at the University of Surrey. Her focus is on research, development and commercialization of new technologies in applied/medical physics and improvement of existing ones – not only for clinical use but also to apply it in other industries such as nuclear, food, and Space. Finally she mentor/supervise students in the UK, and other countries.
After a physics degree and research at the University of Chicago, Becky taught in a variety of schools and was Senior Lecturer in physics at the University of Kent. She is now Director of the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) based at the Science Museum and she teaches physics in Sheffield. IRIS supports school students and teachers doing authentic research through a wide range of projects in STEM. In almost two years since launch IRIS has about 500 schools registered. We support the teacher as researcher and also support those in academia and industry to have a sustained engagement with schools.
Becky was awarded an MBE and received Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Physics in 2014. In the summer of 2016 she was awarded the Kavli Education Medal from the Royal Society.