To celebrate the launch of TIME’s new multimedia project – 100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time – we asked leaders in a number of fields, from technology to the arts to business, to share the single photograph that most influenced their lives. Purchase the 100 Photographs book now.

The Solvay Conference in 1927 brought together the world’s most prominent scientists and physicists, including Albert Einstein, who you can see front and center here. Seventeen of them were or would become Nobel Prize winners. At first glance this may not be the most moving photo, but to me it subtly communicates two very powerful messages. First, that the pursuit of human progress and advances in science are incredible forces to bring people together. And perhaps even more impactful to me is the presence of the one woman in attendance, Marie Curie. As a woman pioneer in a field clearly so dominated at the time by men, Curie remains the only person in history to ever win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences – but perhaps not for long! She paved the way for so many girls who are interested in becoming engineers, scientists and mathematicians, and a similar photo today may look a lot less like Solvay and a lot more like the world around us.

Chelsea Clinton is Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation.


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