A leading astrophysicist at St Andrews University is to receive a special award which recognises leading female scientists and engineers on International Women’s Day.
Professor Moira Jardine of the School of Physics and Astronomy was nominated to receive a Suffrage Science award by Professor Lyndsay Fletcher of the University of Glasgow.
The Suffrage Science scheme was initiated by Professor Dame Amanda Fisher, director of the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences in 2011.
Every two years 12 female scientists and engineers from around the world are presented with hand-crafted jewellery, inspired by the Suffrage movement, at the Royal Society, London.
The items are passed on as heirlooms from one female scientist to the next, to create a self-perpetuating network of talent and contacts to help others succeed in science and engineering.
Professor Jardine said: “I’m delighted to receive this award, which recognises the contribution of women scientists.
“I hope that it encourages the growing cohort of young women in engineering and the physical sciences.”
Prof Jardine was chosen because of her inspiring research into the evolutionary history of the solar system as well as her ability to encourage other women to follow in her footsteps.
Professor Fletcher said: “Moira is a first-rate scientist, driving research into stellar and planetary systems beyond our own, which is one of the most exciting and high-profile fields in astronomy.
“She embodies the creativity, rigour and candour of an inspirational scientist, along with large quantities of kindness and good humour. To quote a blogpost I read from an undergraduate physicist who met her, she is for many ‘the woman I will do my best to one day become’.”
Each year awardees are chosen by the previous award holders for their scientific achievements and ability to inspire others.
One of the 2017 recipients, Professor Sharon Ashbrook of the School of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews, chose Professor Melinda Duer, of the University of Cambridge to receive one of this year’s awards.
Professor Ashbrook said: “Melinda has been a role model to generations of students and early career staff in her department and the wider research field.
“She has great enthusiasm for her research, really enjoys working closely with all her students and is extremely encouraging to all of the younger researchers she speaks to at conferences.”