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Soapbox Science / Womanthology mashup edition: Here’s to the curious ones – Fiona Tatton, Womanthology Editor

Fiona Tatton - Womanthology Founder and Editor
Fiona Tatton

The future belongs to the curious…

Hello! Welcome to issue 32 – the big Soapbox Science / Womanthology mashup issue is here! In case you haven’t heard of Soapbox Science yet, well where have you been?

Female scientists sharing their passion for their subjects

Soapbox Science logoSoapbox Science was set up by scientists Dr. Nathalie Pettorelli and Dr. Seirian Sumner to create a platform (literally) for female scientists to share their passion for their subjects with the public at large, across an annual series of events (this year – London, Swansea, Bristol, Glasgow, Exeter, Belfast and Newcastle) to raise awareness of women in STEMM [science / technology / engineering / maths / medicine] and increase engagement.

All for you and all for free

Soapbox Science celebrates its fifth birthday this year and Nathalie and Seirian are joined for the first time by their woman Friday and all round science rock star, Aoife Glass, who is working alongside a team of volunteers to deliver a pretty rip roarin’ programme of talks. All for you and all for free.

90 kick-ass female scientists

In addition there are 90 (count ‘em, 90!) kick-ass female scientists who are taking to their Soapboxes and talking to the public about their work and why they love it. Check out the full programme to see where the nearest event is to you and the date it takes place. It doesn’t matter how old you are – from baby to pensioner – you are welcome.

As regular readers will know, I love a good quote. Why bother thinking up your own wisdom when someone else has done lots of hard thinking and wordplay for you?! It was Michael Karnjanaprakorn (try spelling that after a few glasses of rosé) who said,

“The future belongs to the curious. The ones who are not afraid to try it, explore it, poke at it, question it and turn it inside out.”

Learn anything. Know anything. Be anything

The Soapbox Science women are doing all these things, and then some. We’ve got physicists, chemists, biologists, pharmacists, engineers and many more. Learn anything. Know anything. Be anything. No matter who you are, how old you are, where you’re from, what you do with your life, we’re all made of science. (OK, so my terminology is a bit off as I’m not a scientist myself – I think we’re probably made of atoms, but perhaps I should get myself along to a talk to learn some more – but you get the gist of what I’m trying to say.)

In this edition we hear from some of the world’s leading scientists about what it is like to save a species, or explore black holes, or build a racing car, or predict an earthquake or nourish a sick person who can’t eat, or help a deaf person to hear again.

Making it the norm rather than the exception for female scientists to receive the support, recognition and funding they need

They love what they do and they want to share it to change society to make it the norm rather than the exception for female scientists to receive the support, recognition and funding they need in order to smash down the barriers and bring new breakthroughs to the world. It’s not about men versus women either, it’s about everyone working together. I can’t think of a more diverse subject, so it needs diversity of thought, and also some more flexibility in the criteria for funding and rating of work.

Soapbox Science – Womanthology’s scientific soul sister

I met Seirian and Aoife at Womanthology’s first birthday celebration back in March and we hit upon the cracking idea for a Soapbox Science / Womanthology mashup edition over a few drinks (it’s how I have some of my best ideas…) Soapbox Science is like Womanthology, our sort of scientific soul sister – created out of a desire for change and with a heck of a lot of hard work and boundless enthusiasm. It’s the people who make Soapbox Science what it is by providing their energy and enthusiasm, and it’s the same for us.

Girls need positive female role models in STEMM you say? If you can’t see it, you can’t be it? Well, we were fed up of hearing that so we decided to change it together. Will all the women (and men) who support Soapbox Science please step forward – we salute you. Here’s to the curious ones…