Celebrating International Women's Day

8 March is International Women’s Day, giving us an opportunity to celebrate the impressive achievements of the women in our School, and the recognition the School has received for creating a supportive workplace for both sexes.  Today sees the launch of our new Hemera Scholarship that will support a female undergraduate applicant from a family or societal background in which women have historically not been encouraged to, or are unable to take advantage of higher education.  Also, Dr Heidi Sandaker from the Department of Physics and Technology at the University of Bergen will be leading a seminar on “ATLAS and Astroparticle Physics” for the Particle Physics Research Centre (PPRC).

Outstanding women

This month, Prof. Francesca di Lodovico, became the Director of the PPRC, and has taken her place on the management committee.  Francesca has worked here since 2004 and rose to become the first female Professor of physics at the School, in 2012.  She created the neutrino group at QMUL, that currently consists of T2K, SNO+, long baseline neutrino experiments (LAGUNA-LBNO, Hyper-Kamiokande) and phenomenology work. Her primary work in neutrino physics is in T2K in Japan, to improve our understanding of the matter-antimatter asymmetry of the Universe.

On Wednesday 27 February, Evelina Arushanova, a first-year PhD student from the PPRC won the annual, College-wide “Junk the Jargon” competition.  Junk the Jargon challenges participants from across the College to communicate their research topic in an engaging and fun way, to a broad audience - in just three minutes.  Evelina taught us how the ‘neutrino’ particle is a lot like a spy.

Working environment

This month, the School has also celebrated its newly acquired Juno practitioner status. Project Juno recognises and rewards departments that can demonstrate they have taken action to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage best workplace practice, enhancing the working environment for both women and men.  Our School boasts a 25% female undergraduate population, which is remarkable given that only 20% of school pupils taking physics at A-level are female.

Scholarship

The School of Physics and Astronomy is pleased to announce its new Hemera Scholarship. The purpose of this scholarship is to support a female student who wishes to gain a physics degree, but may face barriers to higher education. This scholarship will cover all undergraduate fees, plus a contribution of up to £9,000 towards living expenses, for a UK or EU applicant accepted for a place for a BSc or MSci degree in the School. The scholarship will be preferentially awarded to a female applicant from a family or societal background in which women have historically not been encouraged to, or are unable to take advantage of higher education.

Science Communication

Queen Mary, University of London is part of the South East Physics Network (SEPnet), which enables us to promote Physics and Astronomy throughout the whole region and offer support to those teaching Physics in the South East.  This week, SEPnet announced its membership of WISE (Women into Science & Engineering) to demonstrate its support for the increased participation of women in science.  In addition, SEPnet are co-sponsors of the WISE UK Statistics guide which provides data on the representation of girls and women in STEM at all stages from classroom to boardroom.