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Standing on our soapboxes to shout about women in science

Dancing stars and what forms a mountain are just two of the topics female academics from the OU will be speaking to members of the public about at Soapbox Science MK 2018.

PhD Researchers, Eleni Wood and Heidi Thiemann and Planetary Scientist, Dr Nisha Ramkissoon, will join nine other scientists at thecentre:mk in Milton Keynes on Saturday 30 June 2018, 12:00 – 15:00, speaking to passers-by about topics such as searching for life on other planets; model plants; and what forms a mountain.

Eleni Wood, said:

“Science is all about furthering our understanding of ourselves, the planet, and the Universe. Soapbox science provides the public with the opportunity to learn from female scientists about their amazing research. We want to inspire the next generation, particularly young women, to learn more about being a scientist and the amazing research you can contribute to as an academic.”

“Minerals and mountains”

Eleni Wood is researching how our planet’s crust as continents collide and mountains form:

Stellar ballerinas

Heidi Thiemann wants to understand more about the way stars pirouette and spin, and how this affects the amount of X-ray light every star emits. She is asking the big questions in space science: What is going on inside a star? Should we be paying more attention to how our star, the Sun, affects our everyday life? How can we use this research to look for life on other planets outside the Solar System?

Searching for life on other planets

Dr Nisha Ramkissoon is interested in how we determine if life can exist elsewhere in the Solar System. On Earth, life can be found everywhere from the Atacama Desert in South America to the dry valleys of Antarctica and even on the sea floor of the deepest oceans. Dr Ramkissoon is using microorganisms collected from extreme environments to discover if they could also survive in space.


The three academics from The Open University will be joined by others from Cranfield University and Rothamsted Research.

About Author

Christine works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She is an experienced BBC journalist, sub-editor and news editor and has a background in regional newspapers. After moving to PR she worked as a press officer for the Zoological Society of London. She has a BSc in Social Sciences with Politics from The Open University and focuses on stories from the Faculty of Social Science and widening access in HE. Chris swims regularly and has a pet Tortoise called Lightning.

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