The Assembly Hall roof was raised on Tuesday night by Dr Maggie Aderin Pocock, MBE, when she inspired us all to ‘Reach for the Stars’. In a speech completely aligned with Prior’s Field’s philosophy, Maggie encouraged the audience to dream big and aim high, sharing how this ethos had enabled her to achieve so much in her life. She recounted her childhood, and underlined that by being an opportunist, she has opened many doors for herself – even fulfilling childhood dreams of meeting the Clangers and Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols (Uhura)! In a lecture brimming with humour and humility, Maggie explained that many scientific careers are not attracting girls and offered a three pronged approach to plug that gap – role models, relevance and creating science wonder.
She certainly inspired the entire audience to find their inner scientist, and has earned her place in the Hall of Fame that she mentioned needs to recognise more female scientific idols. After the lecture, Maggie answered questions from the enthusiastic audience, and happily took part in a book signing, spending over an hour chatting with audience members.