Over on Google+, David Roberts just posted this trailer (via Антид Ото) to a lovely documentary about Julia Robinson and her contributions towards answering Hilbert’s tenth problem.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4x9XKNAYjU]

David Hilbert’s tenth problem was to find an algorithm to solve diophantine equations, that is, to find roots of polynomials with integer coefficients. We now know that the problem is unsolvable in general, and Julia Robinson did a lot of the work to get there; she wrote that she “couldn’t bear to die without knowing the answer.”

David asked if anyone knows of any present-day female mathematicians of similar standing to Julia Robinson. Apart from President of the IMU Ingrid Daubechies and people who are active on Twitter my knowledge of top mathmos is quite poor, so I thought I’d open the question up to The Aperiodical’s readers.

The full DVD of *Julia Robinson and Hilbert’s Tenth Problem* is available from George Csicsery’s ZALA Films site, and it looks like there are a few copies on Amazon as well.

Most of the people I was going to mention off the top of my head are on this list:

https://sites.google.com/site/awmmath/programs/noether-lectures/noether-lecturers

They are all extremely distinguished mathematicians.

At least one of the female mathematicians listed here is still alive today:

http://cp4space.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/influential-mathematicians/

Also, don’t forget Kristal Cantwell, who proved some non-trivial results in Euclidean Ramsey Theory and other fields. I believe she’s active on Math Overflow.

There really are scads of very impressive women mathematicians of all ages. One way to find some is to google top math departments and see what women they have on faculty. Between these places’ very high standards and inescapable societal sexism, you can be sure that any women you see there are top-notch. In addition to the august names on the list of Noether lecturers shared above, Maryam Mirzakhani, Kathrin Bringmann, Maria Chudnovsky, and Marianna Csörnyei are four younger women who come to mind immediately who have made truly outstanding contributions to their fields. You might also check out winners of the Ruth Lyttle Satter prize, which you can browse here: http://www.ams.org/profession/prizes-awards/pabrowse.