IPOS hosted Professor Dame Athene Donald Donald from the University of Cambridge


The Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS) and the School of Physics of the University of Sydney hosted Professor Dame Athene Donald from the University of Cambridge in April, for her first visit to Australia.

IPOS invited gender equality champion and theoretical physics professor Dame Athene Donald to present the 2017 biennial Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture. The Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture was established in honour of Peter’s outstanding contribution and commitment to optofluidics and biophotonics research.

Professor Donald gave an insightful talk on the importance of imagery and showed that images matter far more widely than within the science community. The 2017 Dr Peter Domachuk Memorial Lecture has been recorded and can be viewed here:

Having completed her first and second degrees in Physics at the University of Cambridge, Professor Donald spent four years at Cornell University in the USA where she started working on polymers. She returned to the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge in1983, became a professor in 1998 and an FRS in 1999. Her research has focused on using the ideas of soft matter physics to study a wide range of systems of both synthetic and biological origin, with an emphasis on using different types of microscopy. Areas of major activity have included analysing the internal structure of starch granules and exploring protein aggregation at intermediate lengthscales, predominantly using model protein systems including beta lactoglobulin and insulin but extending to A beta. A particular focus has been on developing the technique of Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (ESEM).

Professor Donald

She chaired the Royal Society's Education Committee from 2010-14 and was the University of Cambridge's Gender Equality Champion during the same period. She is a member of the European Research Council's Scientific Council. In 2014 she became Master of Churchill College. She writes a personal blog where she writes about life as a scientist, equality and diversity issues and the nature (and importance) of interdisciplinary science. She was appointed a Dame in the 2010 Birthday Honours List.

Having strong commitment to equity and inclusion, CUDOS invited women in science to exchange thoughts and ideas with Professor Dame Athene Donald at a #womeninSTEM lunch event. Professor Donald gave insights into and reflected on scientific careers and discussed new manifestations of unconscious bias that had become evident to her in recent years.

Women in Science exchanging thoughts and ideas with Professor Dame Athene Donald at today's CUDOS #womeninSTEM lunch event

Posted by Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems - CUDOS on Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Co-hosted by the School of Physics Equity and Access Committee (PEAC) and the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) office, Professor Athene Donald discussed in a Gender Equity Lecture her role as a gender equality champion and the Athena SWAN program’s impact in the UK. The recording can be viewed here: