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HLF Blogs: Quotable Women in Mathematics

Last month, Katie and Paul spent a week blogging from the Heidelberg Laureate Forum – a week-long maths conference where current young researchers in maths and computer science can meet and hear talks by top-level prize-winning researchers. For more information about the HLF, visit the Heidelberg Laureate Forum website.


Earlier this year, one of our colleagues made an interesting observation about the Wikiquote page for Mathematics . Wikiquote collects interesting and pithy statements, with references, and categorises them by subject. What our friend Colin had noticed that was almost all of the quotes on the page about mathematics were from men.

This reflects on existing gender imbalance in mathematics, which will hopefully improve. But mathematics is done by all kinds of people all over the world, and many of them have occasion to say interesting and/or profound things about their subject – even the ones who aren’t men. Since Wikiquote is part of the Wikimedia network and can be edited and contributed to, we held a small editing day back in May where we added a number of quotes from female mathematicians to the page, to try to balance out the score.

Walking around the Women in Mathematics featured here at the HLF this week, I was featured by the amazing quotes taken from the interviews with each of the mathematicians. I’ve picked some of my favorites – and yes, I’ve added them to the Wikiquote page . Enjoy!

Photo from opening of Women in Mathematics exhibition, © Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Mück

Photo from opening of Women in Mathematics exhibition, © Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Mück

 

“In doing mathematics, I express something personal. It is a source of joy to know that, despite this personal aspect, the fruit of my work can be of interest to other mathematicians. “- Nalini Anantharaman

 

“Mathematics offers a common language across borders. It’s a real joy. “- Alice Fialowski

 

“My earliest mathematical memory is my father’s explanation of the theorem that three angles in a triangle add up to 180 degrees. The idea that something could have proved to be true was very appealing to me. “- Frances Kirwan

Photo from opening of Women in Mathematics exhibition, © Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Mück

Photo from opening of Women in Mathematics exhibition, © Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Mück

“I used to fear I was on the right track. You need to develop a personal conviction that you are a mathematician , and that’s what you are doing. “- Katarzyna Rejzner

 

“I enjoy being surprised by mathematics and its intrinsic difficulty. The moment I enjoy the fall of one coherent whole. “- Katrin Wendland

 

“You should not choose to do mathematics if you want to make money; your salary as a mathematician will never correspond to the amount of time invested in your work. “- Margarida Mendes Lopes

 

“I like to find out as much as I can about a mathematical object as possible, just as you would like to understand a person as well as possible.” – Oksana Yakimova

HLF Blogs: The numbers behind the young researchers – 2018

Last month, Katie and Paul spent a week blogging from the Heidelberg Laureate Forum – a week-long maths conference where current young researchers in maths and computer science can meet and hear talks by top-level prize-winning researchers. For more information about the HLF, visit the Heidelberg Laureate Forum website.


Photo: Bernhard Kreutzer for HLF

For the Wednesday afternoon of HLF, the entire conference gets on a (very large) boat and heads off for a gentle cruise down the river, drink in hand and ready to enjoy the scenery. The young researchers, along with the Laureates and the rest of us, are effectively trapped on the boat for a few hours – so just like last year, we took the opportunity to corner some of the PhD and postgrad students and ask them about their research – and the numbers they find central to their work.

HLF Blogs: Equations of Women in Mathematics

This week, Katie and Paul are blogging from the Heidelberg Laureate Forum – a week-long maths conference where current young researchers in maths and computer science can meet and hear talks by top-level prize-winning researchers. For more information about the HLF, visit the Heidelberg Laureate Forum website.

Alongside the HLF this year, an exhibit celebrates female mathematicians from around Europe (written about by Gina in a post earlier this week) and includes photographs, interview quotes and beautiful mathematical equations, which come together to create an illuminating and at times poetic snapshot of the life and work of a mathematician.

The equations in particular caught my eye, each splashed across the poster in a different bright colour. They’re used more as an illustration of the type of maths each person works on, rather than giving any mathematical background – but I was intrigued, and thought I’d investigate a few of them, and share some of the mathematics represented.

HLF Blogs: Why you’re already an algebraic geometer

This week, Katie and Paul are blogging from the Heidelberg Laureate Forum – a week-long maths conference where current young researchers in maths and computer science can meet and hear talks by top-level prize-winning researchers. For more information about the HLF, visit the Heidelberg Laureate Forum website.

The HLF included a talk from 2018 Fields medalist Caucher Birkar. His subject area, algebraic geometry, is one of the largest fields of research within pure mathematics (over a quarter of the 60 Fields medals awarded since 1936 have been to people working in algebraic geometry), and it has connections to many other fields of maths including topology, algebra and number theory. But what exactly is algebraic geometry? Well, if you’ve studied maths at school, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already done some.

HLF Blogs: Leslie Lamport Thinks Your Code Is Bad

This week, Katie and Paul are blogging from the Heidelberg Laureate Forum – a week-long maths conference where current young researchers in maths and computer science can meet and hear talks by top-level prize-winning researchers. For more information about the HLF, visit the Heidelberg Laureate Forum website.

 


 

Image: Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / © Bernhard Kreutzer

At last year’s HLF, Turing Award Leslie Lamport gave us his (not wholly complimentary) thoughts on the state of proof-writing in mathematics. Since he has worked in both maths and computer science, members of the latter discipline may have felt they got off quite lightly. Perhaps to redress the balance, this year we found out what he thinks is wrong with most people’s code and algorithms, in a talk titled If You’re Not Writing a Program, Don’t Use a Programming Language.

Atiyah-Riemann Proof: banter summary

Today the internet has been getting excited about Sir Michael Atiyah’s claimed proof of the Riemann Hypothesis, which he presented at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum this morning. We’ve collected all the relevant links and tweets to help you make sense of what’s going down in critical-line-town.

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