Professor Sarah Thompson MBE FInstP was Head of the Department of Physics at the University of York for six years from 2011-2017 and is currently Vice President of the Institute of Physics (Science and Innovation). She has more than 25 years research experience in the fabrication, structural, magnetic and transport properties of thin film magnetic materials with an emphasis on spintronics and thermal properties. She pioneered the development of magnetic infrared spectroscopy to probe spin dependent transport and now works on nanoscale thermal imaging. She served on Strategic Advisory Teams of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for a total of nine years. An enthusiast for science communication, she has delivered the BA Kelvin Lecture on “Designer Magnetic Materials” and exhibited at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition. In 2000, she and her colleagues were awarded the Institute of Physics Award for Public Awareness of Physics for their presentation of "Is Science Chaotic?". In 2012 she was awarded the MBE for services to Higher Education.