Fireside chats have become a staple of pandemic-era virtual events. The reasons are clear: they offer a glimpse into an otherwise private conversation and it’s entertaining to listen to two scientists “talk shop.” When the scientists are two of the top scientists in the world, who also happen to be women, it is a rare, and valuable, moment. Indeed, when Jennifer Doudna, PhD, and Frances Arnold, PhD, chatted recently during the Spark 2021 conference, hosted by Illumina, one viewer noted that they had “goosebumps.”
During the “Nobel to Nobel” discussion, Arnold and Doudna talked about CRISPR, the ethics of genome editing, working on COVID-19, starting companies, and winning the Nobel. But it was during their conversations about being women in science, and their stories of clearing hurdles to achieve extreme success, where their wisdom held the most inspiration.