Community News

Scientist recognised as “a true 21st century pioneer” as she challenges Einstein’s Theory of Gravity

The Abbey School is delighted to congratulate alumna Tessa Baker on being awarded a ‘Women of the Future’ (WOF) Award in recognition of her pioneering work in the field of cosmology. The Women of the Future Awards recognise and nurture young female talent in the UK and are now in their tenth year.

In making the award, the judging panel described Tessa as “a true star in the field of cosmology and ... a veritable 21st century pioneer, constructively challenging the foundations of modern science and her field of research.” They concluded by applauding Tessa as “a true inspiration for all.”

Head of The Abbey Rachel Dent said: “Tessa’s career since leaving The Abbey has been, if you’ll excuse the pun, stratospheric. She is pushing hard at the boundaries of what is known about our universe and we are so proud that her journey began here at The Abbey. There is something special about a curious mind that won’t accept “we don’t know” as an answer and Tessa is the embodiment of that urge for discovery. From being a founder member of The Abbey’s rocket club we wish her every success as she challenges Einstein’s Theory of Gravity, General Relativity as a Fulbright Scholar in the US.”

Tessa’s Sixth Form Physics teacher Marlene Robinson remembers that enquiring mind well: “We were discussing the Big Bang Theory when Tessa asked me where the Big Bang actually began? I had to say I didn’t know, but I saw then that she had a true interest in the workings of the universe and I’m delighted that she is succeeding in expanding what we know.”

Tessa left The Abbey School in 2006 and went on to study physics at Oxford University, specialising in theoretical physics and astrophysics; she then stayed on at Oxford to study for a PhD in theoretical cosmology. Her thesis work focussed on the construction of mathematical tools that link non-standard gravity theories, hypothesised to explain the accelerating expansion rate of the universe, to cosmological observations. Towards the end of her PhD Tessa secured a post-doctoral research fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford, as well as winning the SET for Britain Cavendish medal for communication of science. She is a member of the theoretical physics group behind a planned European space satellite called Euclid, due to launch in 2020. As a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, Tessa will be exploring how gravitational waves and voids in the large-scale structure of the universe can be used to test for modifications of Einstein’s theory of gravity, General Relativity.

Women of the Future

The Women of the Future (“WOF”) programme is a portfolio of events and projects that support and celebrate the successes of women through the WOF Awards, WOF Summit, WOF Ambassadors Programme and WOF Network. WOF was founded in 2006by Pinky Lilani CBEDL andCherie Blair CBE is Awards patron.

WOF is a movement focused on kindness and collaboration in the workplace, galvanising a community of influential women to work together as a new generation of talent across business, media, culture and public service.

Sponsors for the 2015 Women of the Future Awards are Aviva(headline sponsors), Asda, Ceridian, Coca-Cola, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, KPMG, London Stock Exchange Group, Mishcon de Reya, RICS, Sodexo, Shell, Thomson Reuters, Unilever, and Visa Europe. Media partners are CNBC and Financial Times, and the educational partner is London Business School.

Back to newsroom