ANSTO

WATCH: Burns Surgeon Fiona Wood on Why Average Isn't Good Enough in Science

Fiona Wood is probably most famous for inventing spray-on skin - technology that has helped save the lives of countless burns victims. And now she's given one of the most inspiring talks of the year, discussing how she's overcome sexism and people telling her she "couldn't do it" to become one of Australia's most successful surgeons.

SCIENCEALERT STAFF
17 NOV 2014
 

Just reading Winthrop Professor Fiona Wood's Wikipedia page is pretty inspiring, but if you meet her when she's at work, you're probably having a very, very bad day.

 

The Australian burns surgeon treats some of the most severe burns victims in the country, and famously used her invention, spray-on skin, to help heal the survivors of the Bali bombings back in 2003. The invention also earned her the Australian of the Year award in 2005.

But she's definitely not done yet - Wood has her heart set on finding a way to encourage scarless healing, and reduce suffering for burns victims.

A few weeks ago she gave the Distinguished Lecture at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in southern Sydney, and it's one of the most inspiring things we've seen in a long time. You can watch the four-minute highlights above, and the full 55-minute talk below (it's well worth it).

In the lecture, Wood talks about the challenges that the healthcare systems and communities of the world face, and how striving for excellence is the only way to meet them - particularly when it comes to science.

She also explains her dreams of inventing a Star-Wars-style bacta tank, just like the one that saves Luke Skywalker - which is crazy, because we've totally had the same dream.

We don't want to take too much away from the awesomeness of her lecture, but if all that isn't reason enough to drop what you're doing to hear what she has to say, consider the fact that Wood also studied during a time when "women weren't surgeons" - as her lecturers reminded her. We're so very glad she ignored them.

Even though there's no shortage of them, it's sometimes hard to find outspoken positive role models in science on an internet filled with Kim Kardashian's bum, so we're pretty excited to have such an inspirational scientist in our own country.

Even if you're having a bad day (actually, especially if you're having a bad day) this talk is guaranteed to inspire you to strive for more.

As Wood says: "There's no point getting up in the morning to be average ... We don’t have to be constrained by 'it’s never been done before' - if you set the bar where you can jump over it, what are you bothering with?"

Thanks to our partners at ANSTO for hosting Fiona Wood's lecture. Find out more about the excellent research they're doing there on their website.

And here's the full talk:

Source: ANSTO 

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