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04 February 2014

Kate Stone (1969 - ) research scientist

Stone was born in Cheshire, with a father who was a continent-hopping engineer. This led to learning experiences in disparate cultures, and short spells in all sorts of schools. Leaving school having failed A-Levels, Stone went travelling and worked on a sheep ranch in Australia.

After a degree in Electronics at Salford University, Stone, who by then had a wife and child, was offered a PhD in Physics at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory which was completed in 2000. The work was in moving electrons, and led to putting electronics into the ink on paper. In 2004 Novalia was incorporated to market the technology.

In 2007 Stone made two major life changes:
"I'm an embedded researcher in an engineering department, and the group of people around me are all guys—there's about 10 guys here—and one day at work I told them. As I remember it, it was on a Monday, we were all sitting together in the kitchen at lunchtime, and everyone was just sat around, and I say, oh guys, I've got something to tell you. I've decided I'm going to become a woman, so I'm going to start coming to work dressed as a woman. They looked at me, and one guy looked at another guy and said, can you pass the chilli sauce please! And the conversation continued as if I hadn't said anything!
The next day, we were all sitting down at lunchtime, and I said, guys, I've got another announcement to make. I've decided that I'm going to become vegetarian. And their reaction—they were stunned! They were like, oh my god! How long have you felt like this? How are you going to cope without the meat! Have you really thought this through! So not eating meat they find a little difficult to deal with, but the other thing—whatever. So I guess at a certain point I started coming to work as Kate, changed my name, and it was absolutely fine. Not a problem at all."
In 2013 Kate was a profiled speaker at the TED conference.

In late December Kate, while on a new-years break near Fort William in Scotland, was chatting with friends after returning from a ceilidh when she was attacked and gored in the throat and chest by a stag that had gotten into the fenced garden. Kate was airlifted to the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, where she was put into an induced coma.

She survived, but was dismayed by the cavalier way that her past personal life had been featured in some newspapers while she was still in a coma.  The Press Complaints Commission accepted her complaint, and six newspapers agreed to amend their online stories.


Apparently attacks by stags like this are very rare.  The problem seems to be that it panicked after getting into an enclosed space.   It is suggested that it went for Dr Stone in that she was the tallest person in the group.

The article in The Guardian did not even mention that Dr Stone is transgender.   Even The Daily Mail reduced the fact to a incidental close to the end of its article.   The only paper to put that fact in its headline was The Daily Record:  "Transgender scientist in hospital after being gored in the throat by stag in horror Highlands attack". 

1 comment:

  1. I fervently hope she continues to gain much in the way of healthy progress.


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