York University biologist Ottoline Leyser has been named the 2007 Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award winner. The award goes to an individual for "an outstanding contribution to any area of natural science, engineering or technology (SET)." In addition to demonstrating achievement in science or engineering, all nominees were required to submit a "proposal for a project that would raise the profile of women in SET in their host institution and/or field of expertise," and are expected to implement at least part of that proposal if they win.
According to the York University Press*:
Professor Leyser's nomination stated that many women are deferred from pursing a career in science because they believe it is impossible to balance it with having children.She talks about her own experiences on her WISED profile:
To dispel this myth, she will assemble a collection of time lines, mapping the career paths and family lives of successful women scientists who have children, illustrating the possibility of combining career and family.
"Things are so much easier now for women than during the time that [Rosalind Franklin] was working, there is really no reason why the proportion of women pursuing research careers in science should not be 50 per cent."
Contrary to popular belief, you can do this job and have a life. In fact the job has very flexible hours making it relatively easy to juggle with other responsibilities. There are no rules about the exact career path to follow. People will tell you that there are, but they are wrong. For every rule you are given, there will be plenty of examples of people doing exceptionally well who have broken the “rules”.Leyser herself "broke the rule" that you must wait until you have a permanent job to start a family.
Leyser and her lab study the role of plant hormones, such as auxin, in plant growth. She will give a public lecture on her work, and the video will be posted on the Royal Society web site .
- Leyser's official York University faculty page
- Leyser's UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology Profile
- 2005 Interview on NPR's "All Things Considered" about her research: "An Explanation for Auxin, the Plant-Growth Hormone"
- 2000 Society for Experimental Biology President's Medallist
Tags: Rosalind Franklin Award, Ottoline Leyser