University of Cambridge Solar Physicist Dr Helen Mason has been recognized by the UK Resource for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) as one six Women of Outstanding Achievement.

Dr Mason was named in the category of “Communication of SET with a Contribution to Society”. Her portrait is currently being showcased at the Royal Academy of Engineering as part of an exhibit featuring this year’s honoured women.

“I feel proud that my academic and pastoral work has been acknowledged. One of the best things about working in SET is the great teams and the sense of achievement it brings,” said Dr Mason.

She added, “I have been fortunate to have had many mentors, both male and female, who have supported me, as well as the encouragement of my family, throughout my career.”

Dr Mason is currently the Assistant Director of Research for the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP), a division of the Centre for Mathematical Sciences. She is also the Senior Tutor at St Edmund’s College.

After gaining a first class Honours degree in Physics and Applied Mathematics from Queen Mary College in London and achieving a PhD. in Atomics and Astrophysics from the University of London, Dr Mason became a DAMTP Research Assistant in 1976 and a fellow of St Edmund’s in 1987.

In 1983, she attained the position of DAMTP Assistant Director. Her group at the Department specialises in the analysis of the ultraviolet and X-ray spectrum from the solar atmosphere, performing observational work and creating theoretical models.

In addition to furthering knowledge in her field, Dr Mason is involved in many forms of scientific outreach with the public, especially with school children. She has delivered presentations to a variety of audiences, including appearances at Glastonbury.

“I am particularly interested in working with school students in developing countries and have worked in Africa and India,” she explains in her DAMPT introduction page. Efforts such as these have led the UK Resource Centre to award her for her engagement with the greater public.

Dr Mason’s current projects include examining observations made by the Hinode satellite’s EUV Imaging Spectrometer. She also leads the Sun|trek project, a website for ten to sixteen year olds about the Sun and its relationship with the Earth.

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