Erica McAllister holds fly specimen

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13 inspiring stories from the Women in Science Tour

The Museum's new, free Women in Science tour tell some inspiring stories of women in science.

Learn about female scientists past and present, their passions, their inspiration and how they got into science. Each tour is slightly different, but here are some of the women you might hear about.

1) The Whale Team & Conservators

The Science and Conservation team play an important role in caring for the collections, but their work is often carried out behind the scenes. On the tour you can find out more about bringing conservation and science to the public, and some of the great team behind bringing Hope the Blue Whale to the Hintze Hall including: Lorraine Cornish, Arianna Bernucci, Cheryl Lynn, Lu Allington-Jones, and Natalie Cooper.

2) Nadine Gabriel

Nadine has always been interested in rocks, and used to collect them when she was a young child. In 2013, she visited the Museum for the first time and decided she wanted to work here. As a young scientist, Nadine has found new and alternative ways to engage people with science and specimens.

3) Anne Innis Dagg

A trip to the zoo at three years old, sparked Anne Innis Dagg's imagination and now she is considered by many 'the bible of all things giraffe-related'. Beginning her career in the 1960s, Anne refused to let the many challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field stand in her way and as a result, paved the way for future scientists.

4) Kathleen Lonsdale

Kathleen Lonsdale played a fundamental role in establishing the science of crystallography. In 1945 she was one of the first women elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the first female tenured professor at University College London, the first female president of the International Union of Crystallography and the first female president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. She was also a pacifist, and was jailed for refusing to register for civil defense duties during the Second World War.  

5) Sara Russell

Growing up in the years of the Apollo mission, Prof Sara Russell has always been fascinated with space. Currently working at the Museum, Sara's story and her research inspires us to look beyond Earth, to the Moon and meteorites, in order to better understand the planet we call home.

6) Ursula Marvin

After being told by her lecturer that she'd be better off in the kitchen, Ursula Marvin became an award-winning geologist. She won the Women in Science and Engineering Lifetime Achievement Award and even has an asteroid named after her. On the tour, discover the story of one of the first women to adventure to Antarctica to look for meteorites. 

7) Dorothea Bate

A Victorian woman who was completed uninterested in nineteenth century gender conventions, how did Dorothea become the first woman to get a scientific job at the Museum? The tour will tell you more about her journeys through Europe, her fascinating discoveries, and the story of a scientist who followed her dream.

8) Erica McAlister

Erica was fascinated by insects as a child, and followed her dream - she now researches flies all around the world, inspiring young people to get into science and communicating her passion with the public. A true advocate for flies who currently works at the Museum. 

9) Mary Anning

Mary Anning today is famous for her important fossil discoveries on the south coast of England. Despite having a difficult life as an underprivileged woman in the nineteenth century, she found her place in science thanks to her intelligence, determination and passion. What does a popular nursery rhyme have to do with fossil hunting? Find out on the tour. 

10) Miranda Lowe

Museum Principal Curator, pop-science speaker and diversity advocate, Miranda Lowe has always had a passion for the natural world. She developed an interest in the role that museum exhibits play in our understanding of the natural world. You can find out more about the fascinating collections she looks after, and her important role in championing fair representation in museums on the tour.

11) Barbara Yelverton

Known as the 'jolly fast marchioness' due to her love of jet-setting and gambling, the Marchioness of Hastings and 20th Baroness Grey de Ruthyn was also a keen fossil hunter. Barbara built her own museum using the specimens she collected, with a specialism in vertebrates. Confidently conversing with the geologists of her time, Barbara marked her important place in science and paleontology.

12) Indigenous women

Explorers' reports and diaries were often written as heroic solo expeditions, leaving out the important contribution of local Indigenous knowledge and skills. The tour highlights the essential role of indigenous women in these explorations.

13) Angela Milner

How did Angela Milner come to be known as the public face of dinosaurs at the Museum? A paleontologist who famously described the dinosaur Baryonyx (alongside Alan Charig), Angela's career spanned over 50 years. Find out more about Angela's pathway into science, her discoveries, and her legacy in today's Museum galleries.