The Department of Mathematics was pleased to launch its new seminar series "Women in Mathematics" on Wednesday 26 October 2016. Over 30 students and members of staff attended the inaugural event.
"Women in Mathematics" is an academic, professional and personal development seminar series presented by leading female mathematicians to offer support, encouragement and advice to female staff and students. It also provides an informal networking opportunity.
Why did the Department develop this seminar series?
Professor Martin Anthony, Head of the Department Of Mathematics, introduced the event. He described the work undertaken by a Self-Assessment Team in the Department in particular over the last year, assessing data and gathering feedback on the experiences of female staff and students in the Department, and the plans in place to improve opportunities for them. These include the Women in Mathematics series, the introduction of a mentoring scheme for class teachers and PhD students, establishing a Widening Participation working group to encourage female students to engage with mathematics at an earlier age and to consider mathematics-focused progression to higher education, as well as a number of communications, publicity and feedback initiatives.
Inaugural speaker: Professor June Barrow-Green
The speaker at the first seminar was mathematical historian June Barrow-Green of the Open University. Professor Barrow-Green is on the Council of the London Mathematical Society and has appeared on both television and radio. She is a Visiting Professor in the Department, lecturing on MA318 The History of Mathematics in Finance and Economics. She is the author of Poincaré and the Three Body Problem and an editor of the Princeton Companion to Mathematics. She spoke about her journey from art gallery assistant to professor via investment banking, and about her research which includes the origins of chaos theory and the mathematics of the First World War.
In an open discussion session at the end of the event, Professor Barrow-Green was able to offer advice based on her experience of studying Mathematics, but also of promoting Mathematics to diverse audiences. In particular, the audience was interested in her involvement in developing the new Mathematics Gallery at the Science Museum (opened December 2016), whose exhibits explore how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the modern world.