Interview with Professor Danielle George

As a child, Professor Danielle George always loved asking “why?” and exploring how technology can deliver answers. On her Commodore 64 computer, she says, “I was much more a programmer than a gamer.”

She was also fascinated by space, waking in the small hours to watch lunar eclipses with the telescope her parents gave her aged eight. A maths teacher at her comprehensive school provided further inspiration with his university astrophysics books. Reading them filled her with awe, she recalls.

At university, she shunned the data-driven world of traditional astrophysics, in favour of radio astronomy. “I had always preferred the practical side of maths and physics,” she says, “and I felt I needed to use my hands.” Her work on the unmanned satellite project at Jodrell Bank became her doctorate.

Now Professor of Radio Frequency Engineering and Associate Vice President at the University of Manchester, Professor George’s research is dedicated to solving one of the 14 world engineering grand challenges of the 21st century — engineering the tools of scientific discovery.

She loves teaching, which she says always brings “fire in my belly,” although doesn’t have much time for it with her present responsibilities. She is the current president of the Institute of Engineering and Technology — only the second woman to hold the post. An outstanding role model for women in science and technology, she is passionate about raising public awareness of the positive impact of STEM subjects on all aspects of our lives.

  • 1998 – while studying a masters she begins working at Jodrell Bank Observatory as a radio frequency engineer.
  • 2006 – becomes a lecturer in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering department at the University of Manchester
  • 2014 – promoted to Professor at the age of 38
  • 2016 – appointed MBE in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to engineering through public engagement
  • 2020 – president of the Institute of Engineering and Technology

Interview conducted by Jane Bird on 1 July 2021 via Zoom.


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