Reporter 402, 19 May 1997


Fellowship helps physicist back on the ladder

A Leeds physicist has received a prestigious fellowship which helps women resume their careers after a break from their work in science or engineering.

Dr Janet Humphreys, who was a physics research fellow at the University until her daughter was born in 1988, will hold a Daphne Jackson Memorial Fellowship at the IRC in Polymer Science and Technology. It will enable her to become updated in her field and be retrained while doing a research project with Professor Geoffrey Davies. The Clothworkers' Foundation is sponsoring the fellowship, which will last for two years from May. Dr Humphreys will be researching pyroelectric and piezoelectric polymers – these materials are highly sensitive to temperature and pressure and have important applications as sensors in fire and intruder alarms.

The scheme was launched in 1985 by Daphne Jackson, Britain's first and, for a long time, only female Professor of Physics. She realised many women who drop out of scientific or engineering careers find they have become out of touch with their rapidly-moving field when they return to work – often an insurmountable barrier to resuming a career and a waste of the years of training they have had. The Daphne Jackson Memorial Fellowships Trust was founded following her death in 1991. Further information on the scheme is available at http://www.sst.ph.ic.ac.uk/trust/

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