On Tuesday 17th October, as part of the Norwich Science Festival Learning Programme, 2017, Professor Laura Bowater presented a screening of the acclaimed film Hidden Figures at Cinema City alongside Real-life ‘Rocket Woman’ Vinita Marwaha Madill (Space Operations Engineer, European Space Agency, and former spacesuit designer) (@Rocket_Woman1). Hidden Figures portrays the stories of three gifted, black female mathematicians who were working for NASA in Virginia USA. Their significant and often hidden, contribution to the space programme helped America to put its first man into space in 1961. The fact that they were working at a time when racial segregation was still the norm, only adds to the strength of their achievements. Hidden Figures tells the uplifting tale of how these women helped make history.
The film screening was a huge success with more than 70 Years 12-13 students from around Norfolk attended this inspiring event that was all about encouraging women to realise their potential. In the afternoon, the event moved to the Forum in the Norwich City Centre where the topics raised by the film were discussed in an open forum event. More than 30 students took part in the Women in Science panel discussion that focussed on careers in science. Panel members included Vinita Marwaha Madill, Professor Laura Bowater, and Rachel Jarrold (Director of Sciences, Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form).
Afterwards, Sir Isaac Newton 6th Form tweeted to say:
“Fantastic afternoon with @Rocket_Woman1 & @ProfLauraBow at #norwichscifest raising the profile of women in science. Go girls!”
Vinita Marwaha tweeted:
“Thanks for having me @NorwichSciFest! Had a fantastic time talking to students about following your passion & a career in space! #STEM”
Our own twitter account (SEESAW@UEA) said:
“@Rocket_Woman1 @ProfLauraBow are truly inspirational woman to the Sixth formers in the room #womeninSTEM #norwichscifest”
“The viewing of Hidden Figures with @ProfLauraBow and @Rocket_Woman1 was emotional and empowering #EmpowerWomen #Empowerment #HiddenFigures”
Without three gifted mathematicians, America might not have put its first man into space in 1961. That they were female and black in a country where racial segregation still was the norm, only adds to the strength of their achievements. Hidden Figures tells the uplifting tale of how these women helped make history.