Renowned scientists feature in RSE exhibition



A new exhibition celebrating the contribution of women to science features two academics from Heriot-Watt University.

Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Assistant Deputy Principal (Research & Innovation) and Director of Research Centre for Carbon Solutions (RCCS) and Professor Raffaella Ocone, from the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, are taking part in the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) photographic exhibition currently on display at its offices on George Street in the capital.

Entitled, Women in Science in Scotland, the exhibition features 21 enlarged portraits of scientists with each holding an item personal to them that represents the inspiration behind their career. Objects include solar powered cells, models of molecules, books, a sixth-year school report on biology and even a melted kettle element. 

Professor Maroto-Valer is pictured holding 5.5 litres of carbon dioxide locked up inside rocks representing the start of her scientific journey to reduce carbon emissions entering the atmosphere.

She said: “I feel so honoured to be part of this distinguished group of scientists and help the RSE  to increase the visibility of Scotland's women scientists. I'd like to congratulate the RSE for this fantastic exhibition and all their efforts in attracting and retaining women to study and work in science.”

Professor Ocone, who can be seen holding a small scale model of a conical hopper, used to analyse the flowability of powders, added: “The RSE exhibition is a great opportunity not only for scientists but also for engineers to showcase their work. As a young child growing up in the south of Italy, I was inspired by my dad, who, although was not trained as an engineer, represented the quintessential engineer to me, always finding a solution to fix or re-invent things around the house including our toys. I soon understood, through his skills, that as an engineer I could make a difference to people's lives and make them happy. I heartily hope that the RSE exhibition can inspire our younger generation – especially young women - to study engineering."

Speaking at the exhibition, RSE President Professor Dame Anne Glover, said: “The RSE is privileged to have amongst its Fellowship some of the most innovative female scientists in the world today. By celebrating some of them here, we can hopefully inspire many others in realising what a wonderful and diverse career path science can be and take pride in ourselves as a nation in the calibre of scientists who choose to study, work or carry out their research in Scotland.” 

Women in Science in Scotland is free to view to the public and open until the Autumn.