From a young age, Dr. Yukiko Ogawa knew she wanted to become a scientist. Growing up in Komaki, Aichi Prefecture, she would spend hours after school creating objects in her bedroom. It was this curiosity and early ingenuity when it came to designing novel things that led Ogawa to where she is today.

"Materials science is the foundation of modern society," Ogawa said from her research base at the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, one of Japan's largest scientific research centers. "All products are made from materials, so any innovation or discovery in materials science has a direct impact on our future."

For Ogawa, 2018 has been something of a whirlwind. The young researcher, still only 28, has received global acclaim for her innovations in the field of materials engineering. In March, Ogawa was selected as a winner of the L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Rising Talents. The prize honors 15 of the most promising young female scientists from across the globe.