Empowering Women: The new Superwomen in Science podcast

I have only discovered podcasts quite recently. I was looking for a soundtrack for my walk to and from my placement, stumbled across the TED Radio Hour and was hooked.

I started listening to them on my long marathon training runs too; I find that music gets on my nerves once the going gets tough. Now, other than Twitter, my main way for keeping up to date with the latest science headlines is via the weekly BBC Inside Science, Science Magazine and BBC World Service: Science in Action podcasts. When I saw an Instagram post advertising a new podcast called Superwomen in Science, I decided to give it a whirl.


These podcasts are hosted by music therapist Cordon Purcell and neuroscientist Nicole George. According to their biography, they aim to “highlight a wide variety of scientific endeavours as well as issues facing women in science.” They have a short discussion about a current topic at the start of each episode that is really refreshing in tone. It is not super edited, it is not over rehearsed, it is just an honest chat between two scientists who are saying a lot of things that many other people are thinking. I particularly identified with them during their conversation about imposter syndrome. I totally understand the feeling of being a fraud when you tell people that you’re a scientist!

“I’m sort of a scientist but only a PhD student so I’m not very good really and lots of the time I’ve got no idea what I’m doing and I spend most days hoping no one figures out that I’m actually there by accident…” – me, every day.

The main chunk of the 30 minute-long show is then an interview with a scientist. They are trying to dispel the stereotypical ‘man in white lab coat’ image of a scientist so they start each talk by asking their guest whether they do indeed wear a lab coat (spoiler alert, many don’t). During the first episode, Cordon explains what a music therapist actually is, what she does and what her motivation is. This research area is really far removed from my own so it was super interesting to learn about it all. I think my favourite episode so far is episode 3 with geologist Danni Mathieson. Her enthusiasm for volcanology is palpable and she explains her interests clearly and in a really engaging way.

The sound quality is not the best that you’ll ever hear but, actually, it doesn’t matter at all. Cordon and Nicole are honest, informative and likeable. Their vision for celebrating women in science who have done amazing things is fantastic, but what I particularly like is the spotlight that they put on everyone who is just doing a really good job in the field they have chosen. It’s nice to hear from people who are at a similar career stage to you and who are experiencing the same highs, lows and everything in between.

If you fancy doing a microbiology episode, hit me up!

For more information, check out the Superwomen in Science website.

Rebecca | An Anxious Scientist



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