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Women in Mathematics Day
Thu 30 March 2017, 10:15 – 17:00 BST
An LMS Women in Mathematics Day will take place on March 30th as part of the 2-day Winton Women Trailblazers in Mathematics conference, hosted by Winton and organised by Birkbeck, University of London.
The event is aimed in particular at postgraduates, final year undergraduates and those at an early stage in their career. The Women in Mathematics Day provides an opportunity to meet and talk with women who are active and successful in mathematics. Participants from previous meetings have found this opportunity useful and beneficial.
While women are especially encouraged to attend this day, men are certainly not excluded from these events.
There will be a range of talks from women mathematicians during the day. Over lunch, there is a poster session and to encourage high quality submissions, there will be a prize for the best Women in Mathematics Day poster. We will also have short talks by postgraduate students.
Due to the generous support of the LMS and Winton, the conference is free, and there is also funding from the LMS to assist with participants’ travel costs, with priority given to supporting PhD students.
10:15 Registration and coffee
10:50 Welcome by organiser
11:00 Talk by Eva Kaufholz: Too beautiful to do Maths? On Women, Physical Appearance, and Innate Abilities for Mathematics from Sofia Kovalevskaya to today.
11:30 Talk by Caroline Colijn: Metrics on phylogenetic trees: labelled, partly labelled and unlabelled.
12:15 Lunch and poster session
13:45 Short talks by PhD Students:
Aziza Sentissi (Birkbeck): Multivariate Approximation using Meshfree methods
Ibukun Ademehin (Manchester): Representations of Lie Algebras in Exterior Algebras.
Elisa Covato (Bristol): Simple groups, fixed point sets and involutions
14:45 Talk by Ulrica Wilson: Eventual Properties of Matrices
16:00 Talk by Ruth Kaufman: Operational Research: the invisible science
16:45 Presentation of prizes for posters followed by wine reception
Eva Kaufholz studied mathematics and history of sciences at the University of Hamburg. She is currently writing her Ph.D. thesis on the reception of Sofja Kovalevskaya at the turn of the century under the supervision of Prof. David E. Rowe at the Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz.
Caroline Colijn is an applied mathematician at Imperial College London. She works on a range of applications in biomathematics, developing mathematical tools for infectious disease genomics and public health. She has particular interests in diverse infections, inter-strain competition and drivers of diversity, and phylogenetic trees.
Ulrica Wilson earned her BSc in mathematics from Spelman College and went on to earn her PhD at Emory University in mathematics. She was an Irvine Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Claremont McKenna College and a Ford Foundation postdoctoral fellow at University of California, San Diego, before coming to the faculty at Morehouse College and was later awarded a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellowship to study at Iowa State University for a year. Currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Ulrica also serves as Associate Director for Diversity and Outreach at the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM) at Brown University.
Ruth Kaufman fell into an Operational Research (OR) career by accident, having taken a maths BA in the school of social sciences at Sussex University. This led to a long career in public sector OR and wider management, at London Transport, London Electricity, Department of Health, and Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD). Ruth is currently President of the OR Society, a visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics, and a freelance consultant and advisor. She was awarded an OBE for “Services to Operational Research” in the 2016 New Year’s Honours List.
Too beautiful to do Maths? On Women, Physical Appearance, and Innate Abilities for Mathematics from Sofia Kovalevskaya to today.
Physical appearance is described in portrayals of scientists of all periods and both sexes. But it is rarely considered as important an aspect as in the case of the mathematician, author and journalist Sofja Kowalewskaja (1850-1891). For more than a century, depictions of her looks have covered a wide range of appraisement, describing her both as rather ugly, a ravishing beauty, and everything in between. Moreover, her beauty (or lack thereof) is often considered a pivotal issue in her vita and for her scientific career in particular. The theory of the “bombshell mathematician” also gave rise to a number of rumors, which proved to be as persistent as they are wrong. The discrepancies concerning the assessment of her appearance, as well as the significance attributed to it, are due to various factors; among them changing contemporary assumptions about women in science or the more or less implicit intentions behind each portrayal itself. This talk aims to present the scope of descriptions of Kowalewskaja’s looks from the very first biographical accounts to her portrayal in modern literature, by highlighting some of the most influential examples in their historical context. I will also comment on changing views of the mathematician, as well historical and contemporary opinions on biological determinism and innate aptitudes for mathematics of both sexes.
Metrics on phylogenetic trees: labelled, partly labelled and unlabelled.
Evolutionary trees are central to how we understand the origin of life and recent evolution (such as antimicrobial resistance). They are also simple mathematical objects and can be seen through the lenses of probability, discrete mathematics, population genetics and geometry. I will describe different tree structures arising at the interface between mathematics and biology, and how to define metric spaces on these trees. I will also comment on some challenges and opportunities in interdisciplinary research.
Eventual Properties of Matrices
Eventually nonnegative matrices and their subclasses have been studied extensively since their introduction by Friedland in 1978. A matrix is strongly eventually nonnegative if it is eventually nonnegative and has an irreducible nonnegative power. Eventually positive matrices and strongly eventually nonnegative matrices retain much of the Perron-Frobenius structure of positive and irreducible nonnegative matrices, respectively. I will present some results related to strongly eventually nonnegative matrices and their Jordan forms; and I will share various opportunities that I’ve had throughout my career to address issues related to diversity in the mathematical sciences.
Operational Research: the invisible science
At its simplest, OR is the use of mathematical and scientific approaches to tackle management problems - from the problems that drove the founding of OR, of improving the effectiveness of World War 2 defences, to modern problems such as reducing antibiotic use in cattle, planning the optimum use of wind farms, improving the life-chances of stroke patients, or developing new AI heuristics. Ruth will talk about opportunities and activities in contemporary O.R., as well as giving examples from her own career of O.R. work and employment.