As little girl Signe Normand spent happy days with her grandfather. He was a biologist and trips with him meant peering at insects, taking water samples in the sea and looking at her finds under a microscope. The natural world fascinated her and she says “everything starts with fascination… then you are curious and want to know more… and from there you just keep going”.
Now Signe is a successful biologist and 2015 recipient of International Rising Talent Fellowship, one of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards for Women in Science. She is an Associate Professor at Aarhus University which house potentially the biggest biology scene in Denmark. It is internationally renown, encompassing a range of talented international scientists.
Living in a city that is so intertwined with its university and students Signe says “It’s really important and creates a very vibrant life in the city, creative brains challenging ideas”.
Signe is a macro- and vegetation ecologist which means she studies where plants grow now and where they will be distributed in the future. Particularly she is interested in the ranges of species that have changed in response to climate change in the past and are expected to change as a consequence of human mediated global warming.
When not teaching amidst Aarhus university’s distinctive yellow brick buildings Signe is out in the field examining the artic tundra in the wide expanses of Greenland. This is just how she likes it, she explains “I first became a biologist because I just wanted green rubber boots and going out in nature”.
Take a listen to Signe describing what it is like to be a female scientist in Aarhus