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A mathematician’s survival guide, by Peter Casazza

A survival guide for young mathematicians written by Pete Casazza has been doing the rounds today. It contains an experienced mathematician’s advice for young mathematicians starting out on their careers and unsure of what to expect or what’s expected of them.

Infographic – Women in STEM

Feminist website Hello Ladies has posted an infographic, from EngineeringDegree.net, discussing the discrepancy in achievement between men and women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. It’s beautifully presented, and compares the early attainment of boys and girls (higher for girls) and then the subsequent decline in both confidence and choosing STEM subjects. Draw your own conclusions about causality. The list of percentages of people of each gender in various STEM subjects doesn’t include maths, but does show which subjects feel the lack of women more extremely (in particular, engineering subjects fare worse than sciences).

Girls in STEM Infographic

Gathering for Gardner 10 #g4g10

Gathering for Gardner 10You may be aware that Gathering for Gardner 10 took place last week.

Devlin’s 21st C. mathematician that can’t be outsourced

Keith Devlin has written a piece in the Huffington Post.

Repetitive tasks such as high-tech assembly-line manufacturing, airline reservations, and customer support are not the only things that can be outsourced in the flat world of the twenty-first century. So too can many less routine tasks that require a university education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
In particular, procedural mathematics (solving differential equations, optimizing systems of inequalities, etc.) can be outsourced.

Devlin argues that all mathematical skills taught at university can be outsourced to computers or other countries and says:

If we cannot compete, then we need to play a different game. Fortunately, that other game is one we already do well at: originality and innovation.

Emmy Noether biography in NY Times

A biography of Emmy Noether has been published in the New York Times.

Albert Einstein called her the most “significant” and “creative” female mathematician of all time, and others of her contemporaries were inclined to drop the modification by sex. She invented a theorem that united with magisterial concision two conceptual pillars of physics: symmetry in nature and the universal laws of conservation. Some consider Noether’s theorem, as it is now called, as important as Einstein’s theory of relativity; it undergirds much of today’s vanguard research in physics, including the hunt for the almighty Higgs boson. Yet Noether herself remains utterly unknown, not only to the general public, but to many members of the scientific community as well.

Source: The Mighty Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of.

Mockus, mathematician-king

Charlotte Bouckaert shared this story on Google+. It’s about Antanas Mockus, a mathematician and philosopher who was elected mayor of Bogotá twice. It’s a fascinating read.

People were desperate for a change, for a moral leader of some sort. The eccentric Mockus, who communicates through symbols, humor, and metaphors, filled the role. When many hated the disordered and disorderly city of Bogotá, he wore a Superman costume and acted as a superhero called “Supercitizen.” People laughed at Mockus’ antics, but the laughter began to break the ice of their extreme skepticism.

I think I’d heard about Mockus before on an episode of From Our Own Correspondent, but it’s good to read more about his exploits, and that he seems to be genuinely popular with the citizens of Bogotá even after his term has ended.

via Charlotte Bouckaert.

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