Sian Lawson

Favourite Thing: Can I say conferences? I kind of love the crazy travel – I’ve managed to present science on five different continents and visited places that I never would have thought of visiting. On the other end of the scale I actually love programming. I’m a bit of a hacker and just being left by myself to do hands-on computer modelling is my idea of a great day at work.



Awali School, Hordle House, St. Swithun’s, Wentworth Milton Mount


1995-96 University College London Maths, 1996-99 Bristol University BSc Anatomical/Equine Science, 1999-2002 Oxford University PhD (DPhil) Biomechanics

Work History:

Oxford University, St George’s Hospital Medical School, Artem Digital, Ecole Nationale Veterinaire d’Alfort, Newcastle University


Freelance scientist! Affiliated with one University, lecturing for three others and external examiner (checking the standards) for another.

Current Job:

Movement specialist (Biomechanist) see for my film work and for horse stuff.

Me and my work

I work out how things move – from visual effects for films, helping hospitals or the police, to studying animal locomotion, mostly horses but there has been the odd polar bear.

I study how things move – either mathematically looking at skeletons and muscles on a computer or by attaching markers to things and tracking how they move.

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My Typical Day

There’s a typical day?

Up until Jan I was a Senior Lecturer at a University so that involved going into an office, giving lectures and running a team of slightly-too-many PhD students. Since then I’ve gone freelance which means that I still lecture and research but now most days I work from home, have time for my kids, and ride horses at the beginning, middle and end of the day. 😉


What I'd do with the money

I want to make a website for schools, and a series of school workshops.

Go into schools and give (hopefully) fun, inspiring workshops on why skeletons are different in different animals, and talk about being a scientist. They’ll be an accompanying website that school children could use after the talk, or even if they hadn’t been to one.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Small, Smiley and Adventurous.

Would you rather be a scientist or an athlete? And why?

Tough one. Scientist because I can (and do) still compete at the same time, whereas it’d be hard to do it the other way around.

If you could have a body super power, what would it be and why?

Staying super-fit whilst watching TV.

Which Olympic event would you most like to win? And why?

Showjumping (horses) which is a shame, because I mostly compete in dressage.

What did you want to be after you left school?

I had no idea, just kept doing what I found interesting! I knew I wanted to combine numbers and horses, but didn’t know you could.

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Oh wow – there’s such a variety. I’ve filmed polar bears, helped kids walk and made Oompa Loompas for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Tell us a joke.

How do you know that there’s an elephant in your fridge? There are footprints in the butter.