Born and brought up in Fife, Anneila Sargent completed a BSc Honours degree in Physics at The University of Edinburgh in 1963.
Professor Sargent claims that she is not particularly ambitious, and that her dramatic rise to the top of her profession was never planned.
After taking time out to concentrate on raising her two daughters, her career only really took off once the girls were in their teens.
But in that brief time, Professor Sargent has built up an exceptionally strong personal scientific reputation, with interests in the fields of star formation, and the possibility of other life forms existing beyond the solar system.
In 1998 she was presented with both the NASA Public Service Medal and the Caltech Woman of the Year award.
She returned to Edinburgh in 2001 as a guest speaker at the International Science Festival.
This article was published on Jun 30, 2008