Who is Lieve Lambrechts?
- Researcher and Teaching Assistant in applied physics at the VUB, winner of the 2018 WATS (Women Award in Technology and Science)
- Works in Brussels, lives in the Flemish Fringe, 32 years old
- Loves science, research and social commitment
Lieve Lambrechts’s keyword? Dare. Dare to follow your heart, dare to do what others don’t.
“The idea is not to go against the grain, but instead dare to choose a path that is different from everyone’s else, dare to go down a different path than the one everyone expects you to take. But only if you are convinced that it’s the right path.
A job that is all about innovation
Lieve’s work essentially revolves around innovation.
My research centres on transformation optics, an extremely fascinating mix of mathematics, physics and nanotechnology. This is a relatively new field, that is all about innovation because our main objective is to dream of things that we thought didn’t exist. Like invisibility for example, where the myth of the invisible man is now becoming reality, with various possible applications that we are currently trying to discover.
Project in the spotlight
Lieve spends a lot of her time working to get more girls to consider a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics).
When most people think of a scientist, they imagine a white man, with grey hair, in a lab coat. But there is no difference between the male and the female brain. It’s all a matter of education. Children grow up in a world where boys play with Lego and girls with dolls. We need to get rid of these stereotypes.
On the national level, Lieve participates in tutoring programmes and workshops, sharing her passion with young people. In 2019, she took part in a project that involved several large companies, aimed at increasing awareness about a career in science and technology among girls. On the international level, the American Embassy asked her to represent Belgium in 2018 on a trip to the USA, with 49 other women, who all work in STEM, to advance women in these sectors.
Bruxelles, City of Innovators
Brussels is a melting pot of cultures, with individuals from different horizons, a wide range of very different and diverse companies and organisations, with a very international reach.
While diversity creates challenges, it also generates plenty of opportunities and different perspectives, which all foster innovation.
What she likes about her job…
Lieve likes her “double life”. She likes working as a researcher, which allows her to dream and think in an abstract manner. But she also enjoys teaching and her social commitment, likes to help others move up, to increase young people’s potential, to be a spokeswomen for women in STEM.
Lieve holds a Master’s in Fundamental Mathematics and is currently working on a PhD in the Applied Physics research group at the VUB. She is also employed as a teaching assistant in the Physics & Astronomy Department. In 2018, she was named as science ambassador for one year, in the framework of WATS (Women Award in Science and Technology). This campaign wants to inspire more girls to choose a career in STEM. Lieve has made this her personal commitment for several years already.
3 tips for Brussels innovators
2) Think diverse: cultural, social, gender diversity… all contribute to creativity. Diversity is positive and profitable.
3) Dare to ask: as her mother always told her, “you can ask any question you want, as long as you ask politely”.
2) In 2018, Belgium had 16,000 vacancies to fill in IT and digital technology… but only 8% of all IT students are girls.