International Women's Day 2015

International Women's Day Lecture - Make it Happen

The sixth in the series of the University of Edinburgh International Women's Day (IWD) Lectures was by Anneila I Sargent Friday 6 March 2015.

The 2015 theme for International Women’s Day was celebrated and championed by Anneila Sargent - Astronomer and advisor to the White House.

Professor Anneila Sargent has had a remarkable career. Born and raised in Fife, Scotland, she now sits on the United States National Science Board, the team of academics advising Congress and US President Obama. Her lecture spoke of how she made it happen.

Anneila Sargent Biography

Anneila Sargent

A University of Edinburgh alumna (B.Sc. Physics 1963), Anneila I. Sargent went on to earn her Ph.D. in Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). She has spent her career at Caltech, becoming Professor of Astronomy in 1998.

In 2004, she was named Benjamin M. Rosen Professor of Astronomy. Anneila held this chair until 2013 when she was named Ira S. Bowen Professor of Astronomy. In 2007, she was appointed as Caltech's Vice President for Student Affairs.

Anneila's research has concentrated largely on understanding how stars and other planetary systems form and evolve, and relies on observations at radio, millimeter, and infrared wavelengths.

She was Director of Caltech's Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) from 1996 until 2007. In that role, she led the Caltech effort to construct the Combined Array for Millimeter-wave Astronomy (CARMA) which merged the OVRO millimeter-wave telescopes with those of the Berkeley-Illinois-Maryland Association array. Anneila served as founding Director of CARMA from 2003 to 2007.

From 2000 to 2002,Anneila was President of the American Astronomical Society. Since 2011, she has been a member of the U.S. National Science Board (NSB). Among other charges, the NSB governs the National Science Foundation.

She has served on numerous boards including Associated Universities Incorporated (AUI) and chaired The National Research Council (NRC) Board of Physics and Astronomy from 2005-2008 and NASA's Space Science Advisory Committee from 1994-1998. In 1998, she was awarded NASA's Distinguished Service Medal.

The University of Edinburgh recognized Anneila as Alumna of the Year in 2002, and awarded her the degree of D.Sc. (Honoris Causa) in 2008. She was named Jan H. Oort Professor at the University of Leiden for 2005.

Anneila is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Associate of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Lecture Chair

Lesley Yellowlees

Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Science and Engineering, Professor Lesley Yellowlees Chaired the lecture. Lesley was the first female President of the Royal Society of Chemistry. (2012-2014)

Further information

This lecture was filmed and can be viewed at:


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