Join us!

Welcome to all new (and returning) students joining us this term! We hope you're excited to get involved with CiW!

Join our mailing lists here: undergraduate or graduate

Our first graduate social of the term is Thursday 19th Oct at the Cambridge Brewhouse. We'll have a table from 6pm onwards - drop by when you can. Undergraduate social to be announced!

We are also recruiting more committee members. These positions are open to any female/non binary members of the Cavendish. Get in touch if you're interested!

Outreach team - a group to do outreach within and around Cambridge to a wide range of audiences. 

Welfare - raising awareness of sexual harassment policies of the department, being a member of the dignity@phys team, attending SAT meetings.

Mentoring coordinator - in charge of our mentoring scheme, pairing up mentors with mentees.

BME rep - inviting BME speakers, opening conversations about decolonising science, part of a wider network of BME women in science in London.

Study session coordinator - booking study session rooms in college, 

Website/Tech/Social Media content - keep our social media platforms up to date, write articles for the website on events and speakers.

Podcaster - interview women in science around cambridge for our podcast series.

Treasurer - keep track of finances. 

CiW Formal Dinner: tickets on sale!

We'll be having a CiW Formal dinner for women and non-binary physicists on Thursday, May 4th at Queens’ College. It's a great way to bring the community together so please come along to meet other physicists and get involved!

Tickets, £11.60 available here. Deadline is Friday 28th April! 

We invite you to a three-course dinner:

Goats Cheese Soufflé, Pear & Walnut Salad
Grilled fillet of haddock topped with Welsh rarebit
Veg: Courgette, Sunblushed Tomato Pesto Parmesan Tart
Herb Mash
Wilted Spinach
Chocolate Torte

Wine is not included, but you are welcome to bring a bottle.

More diversity = better science!

Thanks to everyone who came along to celebrate International Women's Day! We had a great turn out, with a large number of people arriving in purple to support the event. Photos from the day here.


This year’s International Women’s Day was themed “be bold”. At CiW, we felt this was a good occasion to start conversations about diversity in our department, in a meaningful and hopefully long-lasting way. We had a fantastic turn out on the day- with everyone dressed in purple (the official IWD colour). We heard from Andy Parker (Head of Dept.) and Rachael Padman (Athena Swan coordinator) about the values they think are important for the Cavendish to become a more welcoming and supportive place. With these values in mind, we gathered below our banner that proclaims “more diversity=better science”.

In the evening, Prof. Meena Upadhyaya gave an inspiring account of her career as a scientist and as an Indian woman and mother in Wales. Dr. Thekla Morgenroth talked about her fascinating research on affirmative action: what it means, the different way it can be enacted and which ones of those ways are more useful in changing the status quo.

Cambridge-based entrepreneur, Clémentine Vignault Rao, explains her new social venture being rolled out in India.

A former masters student in Cambridge, Clémentine Vignault Rao, is now the co-founder and CEO of a Cambridge-based start-up, Slate2Learn. Incubated at the Cambridge Social Ventures at the Judge Business School, Slate2Learn is a micro-franchise of tablet-based tutoring centres. They opened their first three centres in January and February this year in Delhi.

Building on her earlier business experience in India and France, Slate2learn data analytics capabilities are largely a result of Clementine’s self-taught coding skills. We asked Clementine about what led to her starting her own company, how she learnt the necessary technical skills and what lessons and advice she would pass onto other young entrepreneurs. Go here for the full interview.

Want to learn how to be a better science communicator?

We have teamed up with the university’s science outreach coordinator Dr. Lucinda Spokes, and communications expert Sarah Cruise, to provide a training workshop that will equip you to inspire young people - by sharing your science, and your story!

The workshop is open to all, and is a fantastic training opportunity for anyone interested in science outreach.

Sign up:

Success: is it all in the mind?

What do we mean by success? Is it all just in the mind? How do our own feelings and the biases of others affect us in the workplace? And how do these factors affect women working in science in particular?

This three-part special podcast features a live recording from a recent event held in Cambridge titled 'Success: Is it all in the mind?'. It was moderated and recorded by Stuart Higgins, producer of 'Scientists not the Science'.

Note: Links below do not necessarily represent an endorsement by either CiW or the speakers, but are included for reference and further reading.

Click here to listen to the podcast

It was a success!

Thanks to all who came along to our panel discussion 'Success: is it all in the mind?' on tuesday evening. The panel included Jessica Wade, Professor Michelle Ryan, Dame Athene Donald and Dr Tom Stafford, moderated by Dr Stuart Higgins. They discussed, with input from the audience, the effect unconscious biases have on achieving diversity in science, what is being done about it and how we can all try and address our own biases. 

Stay tuned for our next panel discussion!

Formal at St Johns and inspiration from Dr Silvia Vignolini

Fifty postdocs, PhD students, administrative staff and group leaders met to dine at St Johns and listen to Dr Silvia Vignolini talk about her research in photonics. Dr Vignolini also shared her humorous experiences of moving from physics to chemistry, being the sole female visitor to a physics lab, her thoughts on life in academia vs industry and advice on how to remain positive. Follow the link to all the photos from the evening.


Interview with Elsa Couderc, editor at Nature Communications

Full interview go here

From the optics lab at the Cavendish to an editor at Nature: Elsa Couderc tells us her thoughts on publishing, postdoc-ing, and what a normal day as an editor involves.

Originally from Paris, Elsa is now an editor at Nature Communications in London. Previous to starting here in early 2015, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Physics Department at Cambridge University and before that at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She completed her PhD in Grenoble, France in 2011. 

Elsa, tell us about your job at Nat. Comm. What does a typical day involve?

 A lot of reading about new science ventures! We read new manuscripts and assess them against previous work in the field, we read referees reports and make decisions based on editorial and technical criteria. We interact with editors, on tricky cases and editorial policies, and we are in constant contact with authors and referees.

We have to keep up to date with most recent developments in a variety of fields, by reading some more, attending meetings, either conferences or press meetings. Finally, we participate to larger projects, with editors from other journals for example.

for the full interview go here


Upcoming Event: panel discussion. 'Success: is it all in the mind? A discussion on women in science.'

We announce the date for our first public panel discussion! On the 15th of March four inspiring panelists (Dame Athene Donald, Prof Michelle Ryan, Dr Tom Stafford and Jessica Wade) and one dynamic presenter (our own Dr Stuart Higgins) will discuss how our psychology affects our success in science. Join for drinks and nibbles before the show at 7 pm, Old Divinity School, St John's college. Free for all, sign-up here

The path to a career in academia is highly competitive, time consuming and often involves rejections and setbacks. How do our ambitions, attitudes and unconscious biases impact our careers in science and are women affected differently from men?

Fewer women than men hold the top positions in academia, and this is often regarded as a sign that science is unequal. But do we need to reexamine the meaning of success in science and do men and women have fundamentally different definitions? Looking to the future, can we harness psychology to attract more female scientists and, if so, will having more women ultimately change the way science works?

Join Cavendish Inspiring Women as we venture into the complex world of public perceptions of science, the imposter syndrome and whether women naturally ‘think’ themselves out of continuing in science. With an outstanding panel of speakers, expect a truly interdisciplinary discussion of the science behind the scientists, male and female.

The discussion will be lead by Dr Stuart Higgins, a research associate in the Cavendish and producer of the podcast 'Scientists not the science'. 

Sign up here

Mentoring for PhDs and Postdocs in the cavendish: sign up here!

Ciw are setting up a mentoring scheme within the department to build a support network that spans across groups and encourages the women across the department to get to know each other.

If you would like to be involved, please sign up using the following form. You can chose to be a mentor, a mentee, or both(!) and we will aim to pair up people who are at various stages of their careers to share ideas and advice. As soon as we have enough people signed up, we will be holding a meet and great over drinks.


Upcoming event: CiW Formal dinner at St Johns

It's time for another CiW formal dinner! Join the women of the cavendish at St Johns College. 25th of Feb for a 3 course meal AND post-dinner discussion with Dr Silvia Vignolini over a glass of port.  

Tickets are £12 and include dinner and wine. Tickets can be bought here:

Ticket sales close on the 15th so get in quick!