On Thursday 5 October 2017, Dr David Howard delivered a motivational speech to the students and family of Northampton High School about the never-ending opportunities in Science, Medicine and Surgery for girls.
If I had to describe this talk in one word, it would be…inspiring. Howard’s modern views on the futures of women in S(science) T(technology) E(engineering) M(math) subjects have revolutionised the thinking of men across the world, and his colleagues as well I’m sure!
Dr David Howard, Professor of Head and Neck Oncology at Imperial College of London. Most commonly known for his works in countries such as Ghana; or the extensive and detailed research on top of Mount Everest with a unit of his professors, scientists and geniuses which, by the way, is truly fascinating to hear about. Not to mention, Dr Howard performed the big surgery on the Stephen Hawking! An iconic scientist and hero for people all around the world.
He opened his lecture with an anecdote about his wife, an incredibly successful and well-respected female figure in the science world, Dr Rosemary Baker- naming her his “greatest influence” along with Dr Rosemary Franklin who unfortunately died in 1968. In my opinion, this shows Howard’s respect, not only towards women and their significance in our present world but to his wife. He praises the magnificent works of Dr Baker; also about a few of her exceptional achievements such as teaching a theatre full of 60 men about the wonders and realizations in science, also the head of the Physiology Dep. at Kings College London She certainly deserves a title as one of our female idols.
Howard then moved on to listing only a handful of life stories of friends or fellow colleagues. Starting with Professor Ambrose, who travelled to Germany to learn about the techniques and difficulties involved in surgery from Dr Alec Fowler, closely following with the story of his PA, who possesses multiple impressive skills and is “just amazing” according to Dr Howard. He mentions the infamous quote…”Never judge a book by its cover.”, referring to his assistant and how she was enormously qualified than he was at things like computers and paperwork, even though she was his secretary.
Overall, for most, I think it was a genuinely remarkable experience that I will remember through my life and no doubt I would recommend it to future students to participate in. Dr Howard is truly an honourable and inspirational male figure and very wise did I mention, these are some of the clever quotes he stated: “Medicine is not a job, it’s a vocation”; “Do whatever you want…just do it well!” Both of which we should take with us on our journeys throughout life, no matter which path you take.