Prof Dame Ann Dowling FREng FRS, world-renowned expert in combustion and acoustics, became the first ever female professor in Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge back in 1998. A motivational figure for women in engineering, she was identified last year in the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Power List as one of the 100 most influential women in the country.
Just last week, the Council of the Royal Academy of Engineering has nominated Dame Ann as its Presidential candidate for election by Fellows at their September 2014 AGM. Upon election by the Fellowship, she will become the Academy’s first female President and serve a term of five years.
“I am honoured to be nominated for election as President of the UK’s national academy of engineering at a crucial time when it is generally acknowledged that many more engineers will be required to help the country benefit from the knowledge economy of the future. The world faces some enormous challenges, including clean energy, resilient infrastructure, water and food supply, and engineers have a crucial role in addressing these issues.”
— Professor Dame Ann Dowling, January 2014
Dame Ann started her career as a pure mathematician, but went on to study her PhD in engineering acoustics to pursue her love of applied mathematics. Her research has helped to develop quieter aircraft and vehicles.
During her interview for The Life Scientific, Dame Ann revealed that she had yearned to fly as a child and that was what encouraged her to become an engineer. A simple dream can be enough to inspire any child to achieve extraordinary things in life; we must take steps towards a society where all children are given the opportunity to follow their dreams, regardless of their gender or background.
For those of you out there who are still hesitant about studying engineering, here’s a little gem from Dame Ann.
“Science has only happened because engineering is enabling it.”
— Professor Dame Ann Dowling, The Life Scientific, August 2012
Dame Ann is encouraging our scientific and engineering researchers to work together for our future generations. Girls and boys, this will be your generation next—what is your dream?