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8. Athene Donald – a physicist of many passions

8. Athene Donald – a physicist of many passions

My guest this week is a woman who has smashed through many a glass ceiling in the world of science with grace, endeavour and success. She is Dame Athene Donald, professor of experimental physics at the University of Cambridge and the first ever female professor of physics at one of the most historic universities in the world. 

Her mind is undoubtedly brilliant, and her capacity to unpick complex theories and principles that most of us wouldn’t have a hope in hell of understanding is legendary in her field, but she is more than just an academic working away on scientific research in a lab. 

Athene is a massive advocate of increasing equality in science – in addition to her busy day job, she regularly gives talks and lectures to encourage girls into physics and, from 2010 to 2014 was the University of Cambridge’s very first Gender Equality Champion. She also writes a successful blog on the politics and economics of science, recently discussing everyday sexism, toxic environments in the workplace, and the impact of Brexit on diversity in academia to name a few.

Athene is a fellow of the Royal Society, and has been awarded the Faraday Medal and the L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science. She has appeared on Desert Island Discs and was herself an accomplished viola player who performed extensively. 

She joined me to discuss physics and feminism, amongst other topics!

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