Professor Dame Athene Donald is Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Cambridge. She is also the university’s Gender Equality Champion. A graduate of Natural Science (Theoretical Physics) from Girton College, Cambridge, she earned her PhD in 1977.
She began her career at Cornell University where she was a postdoctoral associate and then returned to Cambridge. She focuses on biological and soft systems, particularly the use of the ideas of soft matter physics to study synthetic and biological systems. She received a 2009 L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science and, in 2011, won the UKRC’s Women of Outstanding Achievement’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
She is a fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge, and is the director of the University of Cambridge’s Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology Initiative. She is also the chair of the Athena Forum, which encourages women to pursue and succeed in science, technology, mathematics and medicine-related careers. She is a Trustee of the Science Museum Group as well as a member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council.