Hillcroft LRC

Natural intellectual brilliance

Posted on: January 16, 2015

Astrodeep400207aea

Astrodeep by Rich Murray is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I read this article today in The Independent newspaper (available in the LRC) on women and science. According to research, women overestimate the need to be naturally brilliant to succeed in science and engineering. This conclusion follows from research carried out into why so few women do engineering, technology and science degrees and even fewer progress further into such fields. It seems women feel less confident in their instant intellectual abilities.

This is compounded by images in the media portraying geniuses like Sherlock Holmes who when faced with a problem immediately solve it and don’t need to work long and hard at it. I watched the film ‘Theory of Everything’ recently and Stephen Hawking is shown in the lab writing complex maths formulae all across the blackboard. He is just naturally brilliant at physics. But hard work is important too.

Hopefully we can find ways to encourage women and men to challenge themselves with subjects that seem out of reach. There are lots of ways to find out more about subjects before deciding to go to university. For example, University College London holds weekly free lectures in science for everyone to attend. The next one is called ‘Auroras Abound – Comparing the Northern Lights of Earth, Jupiter and Saturn’ on Friday, 23rd January. Does this kind of lecture interest you?

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