Dr Jess Wade

Jess Wade


Imperial College


Jess is an excitable scientist with an enthusiasm for equality. She has been involved in several projects to improve gender inclusion in science, as well as encouraging more young people to study science and engineering. Jess won the Institute of Physics (IOP) Early Career Communicator Prize (2015), “I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here!” (2015), the IOP Jocelyn Bell Burnell Award (2016), the Institution of Materials, Mineral and Mining's 'Robert Perrin Award' (2017), the Imperial College Dame Julia Higgins Certificate (2017) and the IOP Daphne Jackson Medal and Prize (2018). Jess sits on the committees of the IOP’s Women in Physics Group, Physics Communicators Group and London & South East Branch. She is on the Council of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) and Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) Young Women’s Board. In 2017 Jess was the UK representative on a US State Department International Visitor Leadership Program, travelling across America for a month looking at initiatives to recruit and retain women in ‘STEM’. Jess co-led the UK Team at the 2017 International Conference for Women in Physics. She is a keen Wikipedian, and is helping to upload the biographies of women, LGBTQ+ and POC scientists - creating one every day in 2018.

Jess works on organic light emitting diodes that emit circularly polarised light. To achieve this, she creates chiral nanostructures out of carbon-based materials. Jess believes that when it comes to nanoscale molecular engineering; nature is the expert and we humans are only just catching up. Our world and our bodies are full of “chiral” systems – non-superimposable mirror images, like your left and right hand, DNA, or the stacks of fibrous chitin in the shell of a beetle. Understanding how to create and control left and right-handed systems will transform drug discovery, cryptography, the diagnosis of diseases and even our televisions.