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Life as a Scientist – an exciting career path!



On 25 October 2011, between 11.00 and 12.00 CET, the Futurenergia school programme will be hosting an online chat with Dr. Patricia Vangheluwe.


Patricia Vangheluwe holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Leuven (Belgium) and has a Master in Controllership from the Vlerick Management School in Ghent (Belgium). From 1989 to 2007 she held various senior management positions in Shell, Montell and Basell including R & D, technology, strategy and communications.

Since 2007 Patricia has been Vice President Human Resources at LyondellBasell. She joined PlasticsEurope in October 2010 as Director of Consumer and Environmental Affairs.

The purpose of this chat is to encourage pupils to embrace scientific career paths, by giving them the chance to interact with a scientist.


At the same time, Futurenergia would like to pay a tribute to the International Year of Chemistry 2011 (IYC).

2011 was recognized as by the United Nations as the “International Year of Chemistry”, with the intention to commemorate the achievements of chemistry, and its contributions to humankind. The goals of IYC2011 are to increase the public appreciation of chemistry in meeting world needs, to encourage interest in chemistry among young people, to generate enthusiasm for the creative future of chemistry and to emphasize that chemistry is a creative science essential for sustainability and improvements to our way of life.


The year 2011 coincides with the 100th of the founding of the International Association of Chemical Societies and more important 2011 is the 100th anniversary of Marie Curie. She was a Polish–French physicist–chemist famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. Marie Curie was the first female professor at the University of Paris, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes and the only person to win in multiple sciences.



Themes that will be covered under this chat:


Scientific careers – what’s in it for young people

    • Advantages and weaknesses of being a scientist.
    • Challenges and opportunities of being a scientist for a woman.


How is the day to day life of a scientist? Patricia Vangheluwe shares her experience

    • Projects in which Patricia Vangheluwe is involved.
    • Issues that a Director of Consumer and Environmental Affairs have to face
    • Highlighting defeats and personal achievements.


Human behaviour and mega trends

    • Biggest global challenges that Chemistry will need to respond to in the coming years


The importance of challenging the traditional approach to scientific careers


    • The contribution of Marie Curie to science.
    • How women could contribute to development of science.



Now it’s your turn to participate!

Would you like to participate? Are you interested in this event? Write to futurenergia@eun.org !

These are some indicative questions that can help students better understand the topic of the chat.

Students are encouraged to have a look at these questions in advance of the chat, do some background research, discuss in class and use these or other relevant questions when chatting with the expert.

    1. Why did you decide to become a scientist?

    2. Could you explain in details your main activities?

    3. When looking to a planet inhabited by over 9 million people where do you see the greatest challenges?

    4. Why are there more men than women in science?

    5. Could you please find an example of an important woman in science?

    6. Why should young people show interest in scientific careers?