Ingrid Daubechies has been awarded the 2012 Frederic Esser Nemmers Prize in Mathematics, one of the largest monetary awards in the United States honoring outstanding achievements in mathematics. She was recognized "for her numerous and lasting contributions to applied and computational analysis and for the remarkable impact her work has had across engineering and the sciences." For more information, see the announcement in the August 2012 Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
Cheryl Praeger has been elected as Vice President of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction at its July 2012 General Assembly in Seoul, South Korea. The ICMI was founded in 1908 to foster efforts to improve worldwide the quality of mathematics teaching and learning.
Sarah Hermann, Julia Huang, Danielle Wang, and Victoria Xia represented the United States in the first European Girls' Mathematical Olympiad at Murray Edwards College in England, April 12-13, 2012, with the team coming in 4th among the 19 countries participating. Danielle and Victoria won gold medals while Sarah and Julia won bronze medals. For more details, see the EGMO website.
Lisa Sauermann, a resident of Germany, is ranked No. 1 in the International Mathematical Olympiad Hall of Fame, having won four gold medals (2008-2011) and one silver medal (2007) in this international mathematics competition. She received a perfect score of 42 on the 2011 exam, the only participant to do. She is currently a student at the University of Bonn.
For the sixth year in a row the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute will be sending eight of the brightest young women in mathematics to participate in the 2012 China Girls Mathematical Olympiad. The competition was originally established as a regional competition for teams of female high school students from China and other eastern Asian countries (including Russia). Several years ago China expanded the competition to countries from around the world, with the USA, Canada, South Africa, and Australia among the invitees. The team will spend three weeks preparing for the competition at the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program offered by the Mathematical Association of America on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. The Olympiad will be held from August 8-12 in Guangzhou in the Guangdong Province. The members of the USA team are Courtney Guo, Laura Pierson, Gabriella Studt, Alicia Weng, Jingyi Zhao, Cynthia Day, Danielle Wang, and Victoria Xia. For details, see the press release from MSIR, and for updates from team members visit the MSIR website.
The Institute for Advanced Study and Princeton University will present a Program for Women and Mathematics on 21st-Century Geometry from May 14 to May 25, 2012. The program will bring together research mathematicians and women undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral scholars for an intensive workshop held on the campus of the Institute for Advanced Study. For an application (due Feb. 20, 2012) and more information, go to www.math.ias.edu/wam.
Rebecca Burks, Christina Chen, Sarah Herrmann, Elaine Hou, Julia Huang, Danielle Wang, Tiffany Wu and Victoria Xia, members of the United States team at the 2011 China Girls Math Olympiad, all won medals at the competition held July 28 - August 3 in Shenzhen, China. Wang and Xia each won gold medals, while a silver medal was awarded to Huang. The remaining team members each won bronze medals. The tenth annual Olympiad drew 192 girls from countries such as Japan, Russia, the United States, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, and China. For more information and an online travelogue from the team members, visit the website of one of the team's sponsors, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI), or read the MSRI press release.
Shijie (Joy) Zheng, a member of the class of 2011 at Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH, is the only girl among the twelve winners of the 40th U.S.A. Mathematical Olympiad. The USAMO is a six-question, two-day, nine-hour essay/proof examination with problems requiring pre-calculus methods to be solved. Joy also won the The Wendy Ravech-Akamai Mathematics Scholar Award, presented for the first time at the Mathematical Olympiad Awards Ceremony that took place on June 6 at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. She received a gold medal for the U.S. team at the 2010 China Girls Mathematics Olympiad. For information about the USAMO winners, see the press release from the Mathematical Association of America.
Legacy of Light is an award winning play by playwright Karen Zacarias that features Emilie du Châtelet as one of the characters. The play intertwines the stories of Châtelet and Voltaire with that of a modern day couple where the wife, an astrophysicist, is struggling to balance a yearning for science with the emotional pull towards having a child. Parts of the play describe Chatelet's mathematical interests. Look for a production at a local playhouse.
The 14th Annual Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics will be held January 27-29, 2012. This is a national showcase for research of undergraduate women in the mathematical sciences. Plenary speakers will be Sara Billey from the University of Washington and Ingrid Daubechies from Duke University. The conference will also include talks and posters by undergraduate women and panel discussions on careers using mathematics and choosing a mathematics graduate program. Registration opens October 10. For more information, visit the conference website.
The Association for Women in Mathematics is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2011! In September the AWM held its "40 Years and Counting: AWM's Celebration of Women in Mathematics" at Brown University in Providence, RI. For more information about AWM anniversary events, visit the AWM website.
George Csicery's film Julia Robinson and Hilbert's Tenth Problem will be shown on public television stations via syndication by American Public Television beginning on October 2, 2011. This one-hour biographical documentary tells the story of Julia Robinson, an important American mathematician, against a background of mathematical ideas. For scheduled airdates, click here.
Irena Lasiecka, professor of mathematics at the University of Virginia, has been awarded the 2011 W.T. and Idalia Reid Prize, one of the top international prizes in the field of differential equations and control theory. She is the first woman to receive the prize since its inception in 1994 by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Professor Lasiecka earned her Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of Warsaw in 1975. For more information see the University of Virginia press release.
"In 1942, when computers were human and women were underestimated, a group of female mathematicians helped win a war and usher in the modern computer age. Sixty-five years later their story has finally been told." Read more about about the new documentary "Top Secret Rosies: The female computers of World War II," available on some public television stations through American Public Television, Inc. Included are the stories of Doris Polksy, her sister Shirley Melvin, Marlyn Meltzer, and Betty Jean Bartik -- four of the 100 women recruited by the U.S. Army to do calculations and ballistics work.
Maria Monks is one of fourteen Churchill Scholars for 2010-2011. Maria received her BS degree in mathematics from MIT, with a minor in physics and a concentration in music. She was the recipient of the 2009 Alice T. Schafer Prize from the Association for Women in Mathematics and is already the single or joint author on five mathematical papers. Maria was also on the MIT Varsity Cross-Country team for four years, earning Most Valuable Player in 2006 and 2007. After her year at Cambridge University she will begin graduate studies in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley. For more information about Maria, read the MITnews press release.
Of the eight high school girls who participated on the two U.S. teams at the 2010 China Girls Mathematical Olympiad, seven students won top honors with five gold medals, one silver medal, one bronze medal, and one honorable mention. One of the two U.S. teams placed second overall behind a team from China. There were 48 teams of girls from about ten countries throughout the world. The competition was originally established as a regional competition for teams of female high school students from China and other eastern Asian countries (including Russia). Several years ago China expanded the competition to countries from around the world, with the USA, Canada, South Africa, and Australia among the invitees.
For more information and an online travelogue from the team members, visit the website of one of the team's sponsors, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI).
Oscar winner filmmaker Alejandro Amenabar (of The Others) is the writer and director for a new movie called Agora, a historical drama set in early Egypt. According to one reviewer, "The film focuses on one of the most impressive female figures in history – Hypatia, a leading thinker in the Rome-governed Alexandria, considered to be the first notable woman of mathematics. She studied philosophy and astronomy, and both pagan and Christian students from far and wide came together to study under her." Oscar-winning actress Rachel Wiesz plays Hypatia, who "fights to save the collected wisdom of the ancient world." The film has recently been released to American theaters. For more information and links to trailers, see the IMDb website.
The International Conference of Women Mathematicians (ICWM) 2010 took place in Hyderabad, India, on August 17 and 18, 2010, over the two days immediately before the 2010 International Congress of Mathematicians. The meeting was aimed principally at women mathematicians attending the ICM (though men were also very welcome to attend), and in particular at young women mathematicians and women from Asia and from developing countries. An August 18, 2010 blog posting from PLUS Magazine features a story about the conference and a podcast with conference delegates. More Information.
The Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics will be held January 28-30, 2011. The Conference is open to outstanding undergraduate women mathematicians at all stages of their careers. The bulk of the program will be talks given by the undergrads on their own research; there will also be a poster session for students who prefer to present their work that way. In addition, Fan Chung and Linda Petzold will give plenary lectures and there will be representatives from the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency, in addition to women mathematicians who have pursued a range of careers, both in and out of academia. There will be several panel discussions on topics such as graduate school, summer activities, and careers in mathematics, as well as break-out group discussions. There's more info on the web at http://www.math.unl.edu/~ncuwm.
The first six programmers of the first electronic, digital, general-purpose computer, ENIAC, were all women, four of whom had majored in mathematics in college. The profiles of these women — Kathleen McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, Jean Jennings Bartik, Frances Snyder Holberton, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Frances Bilas Spence, and Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum — can be found on the website at the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame, along with links to additional information about the women and a video from their induction in the Hall of Fame. Each woman also has an entry on Wikipedia.
Kate Alexandra Geschwind (Mayo High School, Rochester, MN, "Explaining Wind Farm Output Using Regression Analysis"), Almas Abdulla (West Shore Junior/Senior High School, Melbourne, FL, "Universal Law for the Distribution of Odd Periodic Cycles within Chaos in Nonlinear Dynamical Systems: A Fine Classification of Odd Cycles (Year III)"), and Evgeniia Iskanderovna Alekseeva (GOU Lyceum "Vtoraiia shkola", Moscow, Russia, "Hyperbolic Triangles of the Maximum Area and Two Fixed Sides") were Third Place Menger Award winners at the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in San Jose, California. For more information, see the news release from the American Mathematical Society.
Erika DeBenedictis, 18, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, won the top award of $100,000 in the Intel Science Talent Search 2010 for her project developing a software navigation system to help improve spacecraft travel through the solar system. Erika's research found that the gravity and movement of planets create "easy transit routes," which will ultimately help spacecraft move faster and with less fuel. She will be attending the California Institute of Technology starting in fall 2010. Watch a YouTube video of Erika describing her research project and its applications, or read her report at her home page.
Lynnelle Ye, 18, from Palo Alto, California, received a $40,000 award for her fourth place project that provided strategies for winning at a computer game titled "Graph Chomp." Katherine Rudolph, 18, of Naperville, Illinois, received a $20,000 award for her eighth place math project that investigated dense packing of identical spheres, the results of which can be used in fields from chemistry to cryptology.
The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing was held in Atlanta, Georgia, from September 28 to October 2, 2010. The celebration is a series of conferences designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. Presenters are leaders in their respective fields, representing industrial, academic and government communities. Leading researchers present their current work, while special sessions focus on the role of women in today's technology fields, including computer science, information technology, research and engineering. For more information, see the conference website.
Kirsten Wickelgren and Melanie Matchett Wood have been selected as this year's Five-Year fellows of the American Institute of Mathematics. Wickelgren received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her PhD at Stanford. She will use her fellowship to continue her research at Harvard. Wood, a graduate of Duke University with a Master's degree from Cambridge University and a PhD from Princeton, will work at Stanford University. For more information, see the announcement from the AIM or the Autumn 2009 AIM Newsletter (pages 4-5).
The 2009 Felix Klein Medal was awarded to Gilah C. Leder from La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia, in recognition of her more than thirty years of sustained, consistent, and outstanding lifetime achievements in mathematics education research and development. This award is named for Felix Klein, the first president of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction. For more information about Professor Leder, see the
citation from the ICMI.
The seven members of the USA team for the 2009 China Girls Math Olympiad, held August 11-16 in Xiamen, Fujian Province, China, all won metals. Pictured in the front row, from left to right: Carolyn Kim, Patricia Li, Jing-Jing (Shiyu) Li, Joy Zheng, Cynthia Day, Ramya Rangan, and Elizabeth Synge; behind the team in the second row are the teams' coaches: Jennifer Iglesias (a member of the US CGMO team in 2007 and 2008) and Zuming Feng, of Phillips Exeter Academy and academic director of the USAMO Summer Program since 2003. Shiyu Li and Joy Zheng each received a Gold medal, while the other five received either a Silver or Bronze medal (for the full results, see the MSRI press release). Read their online journal at the website of one of the team's sponsors, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI). The journal describes their experiences at the Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program at the University of Nebraska and their trip to China. The website also has links to past US teams' travelogues.
"An analysis of contemporary data has provided new evidence discrediting the notion that females are innately less capable than males at doing mathematics, especially at the highest level." Read more about the report from Janet E. Mertz and Janet S. Hyde of the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the MAA Mathematical Sciences Digital Library.
On May 1, 2009, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematicians (SIAM) announced the inauguration of the SIAM Fellows Program to recognize members of SIAM distinguished for their outstanding contributions to the fields of applied mathematics and computational science. Included among the 163 initial members of the SIAM Fellows Class of 2009 are Ingrid Daubechies, Irene Fonseca, Nancy Kopell, Cathleen Morawetz, and Margaret Wright. For additional information, see the SIAM Fellows Program website.
From Plus online magazine: "Victoria Gould has led unusual parallel careers: not only has she been a successful actor, she is also a mathematician, working first as a researcher and now as a teacher and communicator of maths. Recently she helped develop theatre company Complicite's production 'A disappearing number', which perfectly brought together the mathematical and theatrical sides of her life. We talk to Victoria about her life in mathematics, and her life in theatre, and how the two work together." Read the interview in the December 2008 issue.
Alison Miller, a co-winner of the 2008 Alice T. Schafer Prize for Excellence in Mathematics from the Association for Women in Mathematics, was awarded a Churchill Scholarship to study at Cambridge University. Alison received her B.A. degree with Highest Honors in Mathematics from Harvard in 2008. She already has a mathematics research paper published in the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society. In 2004 she became the first girl to win a gold medal for the USA at the International Mathematical Olympiad. She was also a twice winner of the USA Mathematics Olympiad and twice won the Elizabeth Lowell Putnam Prize as the top female college student in the Putnam Mathematics Competition. After her year at Cambridge, she will enter the Ph.D. program in mathematics at Princeton. Read the citation for Alison's Schafer Prize at the AWM website.
Sana Raoof, a senior at Jericho High School, Jericho, NY, received a 2008 Intel Young Scientist Award and a $50,000 scholarship from the Intel Foundation for her mathematics project on "Computation of the Alexander-Conway Polynomial on the Chord Diagrams of Singular Knots." She used mathematical knot theory to investigate and solve problems in biochemistry. Read about Sana in an article from the Rediff India Abroad, and listen to Sana explain her project at YouTube.
The U.S. team won two gold, one silver, and five bronze medals at the 2008 China Girls Math Olympiad, led by Lynnelle Ye with a score of 87. For more information about the Girls Math Olympiad and comments from the U.S. participants, visit http://www.msri.org/specials/gmo/2008.
On Friday, September 21, 2007, the NPR show "Science Friday" featured a story on "Girls, Women, and Math." The second hour of the show featured a segment on the eight high school girls who represented the US at the China Girls Mathematical Olympiad (see next item). Guests included team member Jennifer Iglesias and one of the team coaches, Melanie Wood. Also appearing on the show was Dr. Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College and a Ph.D. mathematician, and actress Danica McKellar. For more information on both women, see the entries below. Information about the NRP show and podcasts of the show are available at www.sciencefriday.com.
Sherry Gong, a 12th grader at the Phillip Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., earned a gold medal and tied for first place at the 2007 China Mathematical Olympiad for Girls, held in Wuhan, China, August 11-16, 2007. Sherry had previously tied for second in the 2007 USA Mathematical Olympiad where she was the only girl among the top twelve winners. After a second rigorous team selection test, she was one of six members chosen to represent the United States at the 2007 International Mathematics Olympiad in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 19-30, 2007. Sherry was a member of two previous International Mathematics Olympiad teams when she competed with the 2005 U.S. team and the 2004 Puerto Rican team. For more details about the 2007 Olympiad, see the story at MAA Online. Read more about Sherry Gong when she was named the 2005 Clay Olympiad Scholar in recognition of the most original solution to a problem on the 2005 USA Mathematics Olympiad.
The actress Danica McKellar, perhaps better known as Winnie from The Wonder Years, has written a math book for middle school girls called "Math Doesn't Suck". Read the Newsweek article in the August 6, 2007, issue. Danica
graduated with highest honors from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, and is the co-author of a mathematical research paper published in the Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General. Her accomplishments in mathematics have been profiled in the New York Times, July 19, 2005 (section F). Listen to her February 11, 2006, interview on NRP Weekend Edition in which she discusses this paper. Or visit the mathematics link on her website to read about her interest in mathematics.
In 1998 Melanie Wood became the first high school girl ever to win a spot on the United States Mathematical Olympiad Team. Melanie was the subject of the 2007 AWM Contest Grand Prize winning essay by Leena Shah, a middle school student from Brighton, Michigan. Read Leena's essay from the AWM website. While a student at Duke University, Melanie was the first American woman, and second woman overall, to win the Putnam competition—a prestigious math competition for college students. Read her interview in Math Horizons, September 2004, or the 2003 Duke University article about her accomplishments in math.
Frances E. Allen, who earned a masters in mathematics from the University of Michigan and is currently a fellow emerita of the T. J. Watson Research Center, received the 2006 A. M. Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery for her "pioneering contributions to the theory and practice of optimizing compiler techniques that laid the foundation for modern optimizing compilers and automatic parallel execution." She is the first woman to be honored with the Turing Award. For more information, see the ACM press release or the links about Allen. The ACM Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory awarded its Knuth Prize to Nancy Lynch (Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her "influential contributions to the theory of distributed systems" and for her "seminal impact on the reliability of distributed computing systems." She is the first woman to receive the award. See the ACM press release.
Maria Klawe, who received her B.S. and PhD in mathematics from the University of Alberta, was inaugurated as the first woman President of Harvey Mudd College on February 2, 2007. For more information, see the story at MAA Online.
Ramdorai Sujatha of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research has been awarded the 2006 Srinivasa Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians from Developing Countries by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) and the International Mathematical Union (IMU) for her work on the arithmetic of algebraic varieties and her contributions to noncommutative Iwasawa theory. For more information, read the article from BBC News.
Sarah Flannery gained fame when as a sixteen year old she became the winner of the 1998 Esat Young Scientist Exhibition and received both the 1999 Irish Young Scientist of the Year Award and the European Young Scientist of the Year Award for her work in the development of the Cayley-Purser algorithm in cryptography. In 2002 Sarah wrote a book called In Code: A Mathematical Journey about public-key cryptography, her work in developing this algorithm, and her enjoyment in solving mathematical puzzles. In 2003 she graduated from Peterhouse College of the University of Cambridge with a BA degree in computer science, went to work for Wolfram Research, and now works for Electronic Arts, a leading video game developer and publisher. Read a review of Sarah's book from the 2003 Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
On May 23, 2006, the Swedish mathematician Lennart Carleson received the Abel Prize for 2006 from the Queen of Norway. The next day Carleson presented his Abel Lecture. Three other prominent mathematicians were invited to give lectures in honor of the Abel Laureate. Two of these were Lai-Sang Young from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, who spoke on "A mathematical theory of strange attractors," and Sun-Yang Alice Chang from Princeton University, who spoke on "Conformal invariants and differential equations." Read more about the 2006 Abel Prize.
The TV show The Simpsons often contains references to mathematics. A show called Girls Just Want to Have Sums aired on Sunday, April 30, 2006, and explored the topic of women in mathematics. See Dr. Sarah Greenwald's SimpsonsMath website at Appalachian State University for more details including a link to an interview with one of the writers for this episode.