A petite woman in a hardhat. Fabiola Gianotti is the first-ever female Director-General of CERN, one of the world’s top jobs in science.

She attributes her success to childhood curiosity about nature instilled when she was a young girl. “Some women like me pursue science for careers with a clear social purpose,” she says, “and I point out that more than half of the world’s accelerators are used for medical work, such as cancer therapy.”