Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS is a former Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom who served from 1979 to 1990. Born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, Thatcher studied chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford before qualifying as a barrister. In the 1959 general election she became MP for Finchley. Edward Heath appointed Thatcher Secretary of State for Education and Science in his 1970 government. In 1975 she was elected Leader of the Conservative Party, the first woman to head a major UK political party, and in 1979 she became the UK's first female Prime Minister. After entering 10 Downing Street Thatcher was determined to reverse what she perceived as a precipitous national decline.