The Suffrage Science scheme was founded seven years ago by the Medical Research Council’s London Institute of Medical Sciences (then Clinical Sciences Centre). It celebrates and inspires women in science, creating a self-perpetuating cohort of talent that will encourage others to enter science and reach senior leadership roles.
The awards themselves are heirloom items of jewellery commissioned from students of the art and design college, Central St Martins-UAL, who worked with scientists to create pieces inspired by research and the Suffragette movement, from which the scheme takes its name.
Pendant by Benita Gikaite
“I have taken this Masonic charm as a symbol of men’s power and I have given it to women.” Engraved inside the pendant are the dates 1897, 1903 and 1918. These correspond to when the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies was founded; the first Nobel prize was awarded to a woman, Marie Curie; and when British women first obtained the right to vote.”
Brooch by Anya Malhorta
“The women who have contributed to science are like the nucleus, surrounded by negativity but they still break through these barriers.” The design evolved from a spherical atom-like structure into a brooch with domed magnifying glass engraved with the words ‘invention’, ‘discovery’, ‘innovation’, ‘creativity’ and ‘power’.”
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Pendant by Lola Lou
Designer Lola Lou says, “I use cells and tissue scaffolds as icons to represent you twelve individuals, and the Medical Research Council.” She adds that bringing together women in through the Suffrage Science scheme has created a network that contributes to mankind. Embedded in her pendant are round and oval shaped stones of white moonstone, purple amethyst and green peridot minerals – the colours of the Suffragettes.
Brooch by Diana Dong
Designer Diana Dong says her brooch is inspired by “the strength, belief and courage that exist deep within each woman’s heart.” On her design board, she writes, “Under their seemingly weak appearance there is a strong heart with the desire for growth, equal rights and hope to make (a) contribution to mankind in the fields of science, medicine and engineering.” “The display device is designed to incorporate the magnetic levitation principle. Magnets will be installed in the base of the display device and the bottom of the brooch, which will make the brooch suspend in mid air,” says Dong.
Maths and Computing
Brooch by Veronika Fábián
Pattern of thought – Made from gold punched tape, the brooch reflects the fields of mathematics and computing. Punctured tape was originally used by computer scientists to send text-based messages, and later for storing data. The brooch is an elegant piece with a powerful message, decoding the series of holes on the brooch reveals sentences from three Suffragette banners; ‘Deeds not words’, ‘Courage Constancy Success’, ‘Through thick & thin we n’er give in’ and the phrase ‘Suffrage Science Award 2016’.
Bangle by Emine Gulsal
Mathematical beauty – Engraved, on the inside curve, with what many mathematicians consider to be the most beautiful of all mathematical equations, eiπ+1= 0. The bracelet symbolises the infinite, symmetrical qualities of circles. Encapsulated inside the outer curve is a single, isolated pearl, which can move in a continuous circular motion. “I feel that my piece conveys a sense of power and strength within women.”