Sunday, August 31, 2014

Solve this math problem: The gender gap - LA Times

Solve this math problem: The gender gap - LA Times: Earlier this month, Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman in history to win a Fields Medal — "math's Nobel Prize." This is a cause for celebration, but also for reflection.

Things are definitely better than they once were for women in mathematics. In the late 18th century, Sophie Germain, who made significant contributions to number theory despite having no formal schooling, had to use a male pseudonym initially to get the attention of renowned scholars Joseph-Louis Lagrange and Carl Friedrich Gauss, who later mentored her.

Sonia Kovalevsky, a 19th century Russian mathematician now known for her work in mathematical analysis, was only allowed to audit university courses because she was a woman. Ultimately, she earned her doctorate through the private tutoring of a mentor who recognized her talent.