Ros Gleadow presented one of the first STEM Talks ® hosted by the Education Faculty National Science Week. These are designed to give the public an opportunity to hear from leading scientists from Monash University. They shared brief insights into the challenges they face when undertaking cutting edge STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) research. Each speaker told stories from their research tackling some of the most pressing problems of the twenty first century. These stories reveal how leading scientists undertake their research and explore the unforeseen challenges and successes of cutting edge science.