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Women in Science

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Video clip: After Carolyn had her first child she got a job abstracting patents. She did this while the children were at nursery or at school. It kept her ‘brain ticking over’.           


So I finished my DPhil, passed my Viva when I was enormous, fainted during my Viva which caused a degree of consternation for my slightly elderly examiner to have this heavily pregnant woman fainting, which probably shortened my viva which was quite good. And then I had my first child. And so I knew that I was unlikely to be able to work for a number of years because I was a chemist with a baby, and a husband in the RAF, but I’d seen an advert for a job abstracting patents and so I’d applied for this, and got it. And basically what would happen was patents would arrive through the post, then I would cut them down to about 400 words and send them back. And I did that for about 10 years which fitted perfectly with being an RAF wife, because we lived in London and then Yorkshire and then Lincolnshire and then London and then Oxfordshire during that time. So I was doing something that was using my brain but equally it was sort of between five and ten hours a week probably, when the kids were asleep or at nursery or school or whatever.