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Women in Mathematics

Presentation for lecture to be given on Friday May 7th 2010 about the history of women in mathematics

Carol Sparke

on 7 May 2010

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Transcript of Women in Mathematics

Mathm ? ♀ Ada Lovelace Hypatia 1815 - 1852
(Citation: Ada: a life and a legacy, D Stein)
Not the first computer programmer
Not good at calculus
Not really good at maths ...
Flattered by others (including Babbage) because of her class and social standing
The myth lives on ...

Actual useful legacy?

Although this bit of the myth seems to be true ...

Ada Lovelace Day, 24th March, first held in 2009 - raising awareness of women in technology and science through blogging
Programming language 'Ada' what did she actually do? ... was it really this?
Somehow I suspect things may have been a little romanticised ... modern times A History of Women in Mathematics Mary Fortune and Carol Sparke
Cambridge, May 2010 True Female Mathematicians The problems of finding reliable sources ...
- too much flattery and praise, not enough critical analysis or data Sources we could find:
women in education
women in science
individual biographies
one 'generalised biography' study
reports on women in STEM comic by K Beaton 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900 1750 1096: Oxford
(probably) 1209:
founded 1776: Sophie
Germain born Note change of scale 1850 1950 1804-1809: Germain
makes progress on
Fermat's Last Theorem 1815: Germain wins
prize for mathematical
theory of elastic surfaces 1826: UCL
founded 1830: Birkbeck College
(London Mechanics' Institute)
admits women to lectures 1830: Durham founded 1831: Sophie
Germain dies 1841: Whitelands
College (teacher
training) opens
in London 1847: London
'Lectures for
Ladies' 1848: Queen's
College London
opens 1849: Bedford
College opens 1850: Sofia Kovalevskaya born 1863: Girls may
attempt Cam.
'Junior Local'
exams 1868: Kov.
marries 1869: Emily Davis
founds proto-Girton
(Girton 1873) 1871: Newnham
founded 1871-1874: Kov. studies
(privately) under Weierstrass
in Berlin; PhD from
Gottingen in 1874 1881: Women
can sit Tripos 1895: Durham
awards women
degrees 1878: London Uni
admits women on
same terms as men 1882: Emmy
born 1883: Kov. lectures
at University of
Stockholm 1884: Oxford
exams open
to women 1890: Fawcett
'above S.W.' 1891: Kov. dies A Particularly Bad Source ... ~360?
Hypatia 1900-04: Noether goes
to Erlangen, then
Gottingen 1908: Noether
awarded doctorate 1908: Edith Morley
(Reading) first
female Uni Prof. 1915: Hilber, Klein
lobby for Noether's
habilitation (succeeds
1919) 1915-1919: Noether
lectures at Gottingen
under Hilbert's name 1919: Sex
Removal Act 1920: Oxford
awards women
degrees 1923: Cantab women
admitted to lectures
by right 1933: Noether dismissed
(Nazis), moves to US 1935: Noether dies 1948: Cantab women
allowed to graduate 1959: Five Oxford
"women's societies"
become full members
of the University "... with dramatic licence" (Wikipedia) Barriers to Women in Academic
Science and Engineering

(Published in "Who Will Do Science?
Educating the Next Generation",
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.)

"The initial research site is classified as a
Carnegie I research university (Boyer, 1987). Four
science and engineering departments were
selected for examination, including two basic
sciences (physics and chemistry) an engineering
discipline (electrical engineering) and a hybrid
discipline, computer science (at this university
located located jointly in the Engineering School
and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences), to determine
the receptivity of their cultures to women graduate
students and faculty members..."

"...The qualitative data consists of forty six
interviews with faculty, graduate student, and
adminstrator informants. Twenty five interviews
were conducted with female Ph.D. students who
were currently attending or recently graduated
within the physics, chemistry, electrical engineering,
and computer science departments. Interviews were
conducted with all five female faculty members. Two
recent former women faculty members who are
currently faculty members at other universities were
also interviewed. Interviews were conducted with
eight male faculty members who had been
identified by chairs or graduate students as having
either particularly good or poor relations with female
graduate students. Chairs were also interviewed to
ascertain whether there were any special
departmental policies concerning the recruitment
of women (there were none). Interviews were also
conducted with administrators in the engineering
and graduate schools. Women's experience as faculty
members and graduate students was studied in the
same four disciplines at a public research university.
In addition, a department of molecular biology with a
critical mass of women faculty was studied at a third
university for a total of nine departments. This
chapter primarily reports on the qualitative findings
from the initial site..."

The full report can be found at
1776-1831 Emmy
1882 - 1935 Sofia
1850 - 1891 Open Questions How are girls received in hacker culture?
Why do so many geeky girls like traditional handicrafts?
How and why have the sciences developed such that, e.g. Medicine and Biology are 'girly' but Physics and Maths are not? Similarly Law, English? medgadget.com
Full transcript