THE BLOG
13/11/2013 04:38 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Fly Beyond - Making the Impossible Possible

Floral, refreshing, and surprisingly smooth, the taste of Grey Goose Le Fizz still lingers on my tongue.

Here I am, at the wonderfully aesthetic and quirky Hospital Club at Covent Garden, with Grey Goose's rebellious creator François Thibault.

Thibault, is in a smart business attire, wearing an ultra-crisp white shirt with matching red tie and pocket square. Lithe in movement, he looks dapper, every inch a French cognac cellar master.

'Fly beyond', an epic story about Thibault and Grey Goose by award-winning Hollywood director Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God forgives), makes me think how I grow up.

After years of rejection by his countrymen for making vodka in the cognac country, all Thibault needed to create the world's best tasting vodka is spring water from cognac, superior bread-making wheat, precision in craftsmanship, and the key - never surrender.

Extraordinary. He even shows a fine appreciation that the Chinese character for my name 'Ling' happens to mean 'fly beyond'.

"Fly as high as you can, and as freely as you can," my mother illustrated the meaning of my name when I was at age two. I have been living up to the philosophy with all my freedom, and all my heart.

When I was asked at primary school, what I wanted to be when I grew up, all eyes were on me and expected to hear "diplomat".

To everyone's surprise, I said: "scientist."

The career choice has since been my conviction.

With hard practice day after day, I became top of my class in mathematics, then top of my year in school, then the city, the province. Then I was one of the sixteen students selected for a Chinese national team, to prepare for the international mathematics Olympiad, and one of the two girls.

Still, most of my other subjects are stronger than physics. A couple of failed practice physics exams alerted me.

"I am going to achieve the highest degree in the most profound branch of physics from world's best university," I declared to myself in a naïve way.

Blessed with rigorous training in maths, logic and physical sciences, I was also taught the importance of self-study rather than being stuffed with knowledge, to study smart not hard, to focus, and how to learn.

I concentrated on training my left-brain - acting contrary to the common belief that girls are naturally better in arts and humanities.

More importantly, I dreamed wildly.

I dreamed of making world's first pure metal computer based on GMR technology. I dreamed of making a quantum computer that can have billions of times computing power as our desktop PCs. I played with carbon nanotubes and bucky balls - to me the phrases still have the most beautiful sounds in the whole vocabulary.

I work hard on my dreams.

Time flies - suddenly within a mere three years I graduated with a doctorate in quantum computing - a subject seemingly weakest for women - from Oxford University, fully funded by the university's prestigious Clarendon Scholarship.

I published many articles in high-impact journals including Nature Nanotechnology and co-authored three books. I was presenting our cutting-edge research at numerous international conferences in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, China, UK, US and Mexico.

Enjoy living life to the full is my motto. In my spare time, I was hosting influential speakers in science, media, design and culture. I coordinated large-scale charity events to raise funds for the UNICEF, the Oxford Thinking Campaign and many others. I founded the Oxford University Fashion Association, danced for the varsity salsa team, rowed for my college, and was awarded a half-blues certificate for table tennis, highest honour for sportspeople at Oxford University.

Thanks to a Leverhulme Fellowship, I carried on my dream at Imperial College London, developing computer models for batteries and making breakthroughs in environmental and energy applications.

I became one of the youngest supervisors for doctoral and master students helping them to make wonderful discoveries using materials modelling.

Surprise invitations arrived for me to speak on climate change and green technology, at the Chatham House, Royal Institute of International Affairs, and to leaders from the European Parliament at the European Commission, Brussels. Then there are frequent interviews with international media such as the CNN.

A deep passion in inspiring the next generation to pursue science has risen in me. I want my voice to be heard, and research to be communicated to millions of people worldwide.

My dream of winning the esteemed media fellowship came true. I was the first non-native speaker ever awarded the fellowship amongst all the wonderfully talented dual-role scientists/communicators.

Since then, the Financial Times and Wired Magazine have given me the most fantastic platforms to communicate my ideas and promote culture, science, innovations, public health and policy to stakeholders and general public across the globe.

A few months ago I was invited to speak at the Womensphere Europe Summit at the BT centre at St. Paul's, as a practicing scientist and someone who leads a UK national organisation with a view to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of computational research as well as offering an insight in media.

Amongst the many inspirational women leaders, there is my fellow panelist Pinky Lilani OBE, a vibrant role model and founder of the Woman of the Future awards, in association with Shell. Her simple, humorous yet profound success stories deeply touched me.

I am honoured to be shortlisted as a Women of the Future. Eleanor Roosevelt once says, "you must do the very thing you think you cannot do".

I wish all of you, women and men, of the future, dreaming the impossible, and making the impossible possible.

Ling Ge is shortlisted for the 2013 Women of the Future Awards.

For further information click here.

The awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday 13 November and is hosted by Real Business in association with Shell.