RSS fellows to be honoured in Suffrage Science awards ceremony

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Three RSS fellows have been honoured in the Suffrage Science scheme, which celebrates women in science for achievements in their field.

Christl Donnelly (pictured top left), a statistician at Imperial College London who recently gave the Campion lecture at this year's RSS annual conference, and Jane Hutton (top, second from left) a statistics professor at the University of Warwick who leads the RSS's current Statisticians in Africa campaign, are listed first and second in the newly created mathematics category. Sylvia Richardson (top right), another RSS fellow and director of the Medical Research Council's biostatistics unit, is also honoured.

It's the first year that the scheme, originally set up in 2011 and focusing only on life sciences, now recognises those in the fields of mathematics and computing. On Tuesday 11 October, 12 women (all pictured above) from these disciplines will be celebrated at a ceremony in Bletchley Park with an awards ceremony. The date coincides with the globally recognised Ada Lovelace Day.

Many of the awardees have overcome gender-specific barriers to excel in their research and plan to make a real difference for the next generation. Christl Donnelly, for example, was once mistaken for a waitress by a colleague from industry. 'I don’t think that would have happened to a man if he had approached a male counterpart,' she says. Jane Hutton also talks about the problem with pretending there aren’t differences between men and women, which could close the debate on gender issues. 'Men and women are different and we should celebrate that,' she says. RSS president Peter Diggle, who chairs the Medical Research Council’s Strategic Skills Fellowships Panel, adds: 'The more initiatives we have to encourage women to consider careers in mathematics, statistics and computing, the better.'

The awards themselves are pieces of jewellery, designed by students at Central Saint Martins, and inspired by science. One is a golden brooch reminiscent of the punctured tape once used to store computer data. The second, a silver bangle, is engraved on the inside, beneath a layer of silver with Euler's equation - considered by many as the most beautiful equation in mathematics. After two years, the 12 winners hand on their jewellery to a recipient of their choice at another awards ceremony.

Further details on the awards are available on the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre website.


Medical Research Council (MRC) Prizes and awards

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