International Women’s Day: Meet Our STEM Heroes

Over the last year, IFLScience has spoken with a range of incredible women working at the forefront of many different scientific disciplines. From physicists and space lawyers to conservationists saving extinct species, meet our STEM heroes on International Women’s Day. 

“Too many girls are told physics is too difficult, it’s for the boys. Rubbish! Absolute rubbish!” Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, astronomer, professor of astrophysics, and Breakthrough Prize winner, told IFLScience. As a graduate student at Cambridge University, she discovered pulsars, but her male thesis supervisor won the Nobel Prize for the discovery. Her advice for people wanting to get into physics: “Do it, try it, have a go!”


Back in December, we interviewed Nobel Prize winner Professor Anne L’Huiller from Lund University. Her work focuses on attosecond physics and generating light pulses, which can be used to look at atoms and molecules. 

In March last year, we hot-footed it down to the Natural History Museum to talk to dinosaur researcher and exhibition lead Dr Susie Maidment about all things Patagotitan, and later in the year, asked her all our burning Jurassic Park-based questions.  

As part of one of our podcasts, The Big Questions, we also spoke to Dr Suzanne Holtze from the Department of Reproductive Management at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research to find out all about the incredibly ambitious plan to save the Northern white rhino from extinction with some pretty incredible genetics research. 


The theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is “Inspire Inclusion”, something that our final hero knows all about. 

Dr Aomawa Shields is an astrobiologist looking for life on other planets. We spoke to her last year as part of our Curious Live event, discussing how you go about looking for life across the universe, but also her memoir that details her journey of being a black woman in a male-dominated field. We touched on her incredible charity Rising Stargirls, which encourages all young girls, regardless of background, to engage with scientific discovery with their whole selves. 

“There’s no one way to be a scientist, the way to do it is to be you doing it,” said Dr Shields.

This is just a small fraction of the incredible women we are lucky enough to film with, speak to, and learn from every year. 

Happy International Women’s Day from us all. 

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