Professor Dame Anne Glover holding a Lego model of a female scientist in a lab.

As a child, I used to sit down every week and watch Star Trek, with all its iPads, body scanners, needleless injections, handsfree communication, virtual reality and teleporters; and it seemed like a world of wonder and possibility. It’s astonishing to think that all of this is now a reality, even the teleporter!

Professor Dame Anne Glover

We’ve not yet managed to teleport a person, but we have managed to transport a photon from here to the Gobi Desert and that’s a start. It’s one of the things that made me want to be a scientist. It seemed unbelievable that you could spend your whole life just imagining the impossible, then making it real – and that’s what scientists do. They’re the most creative, imaginative people you can meet, which makes
them fantastic fun to be around. As science is global, I’ve been lucky enough to travel all around the world and meet people and make friends, who tell me about the country they work in and their work.

I’ve done lots of different types of research in my career, from looking at why there are so many microbes in the environment and what they might be doing, to how the cells that make up our bodies respond to stress. What’s important to me now is taking the knowledge that we generate from science research and making sure it can make a difference, by, for example; influencing government policies; using the
knowledge generated by research to invent new technologies; looking at how we might protect our environment; and have better healthcare for all. That keeps me busy!

Anne is holding a Lego model of a female scientist in a lab, selected to symbolise Anne’s role in mentoring young women in STEM. It was a present from a colleague when she was the Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission (2012–2015).