Manchester hosts Women in Mathematics Research event

The University of Manchester's School of Mathematics has held a Women in Mathematics Research event, aiming to inspire young women to consider studies and even a research career in mathematics.

Taking place on 25 June 2019 - and following a successful event last year - the day was open to all Year 10 and Year 12 mathematics students, with female attendees especially encouraged. All speakers, organisers and helpers were female, presenting strong female role models at various stages of their research careers.

Professor Louise Walker ('My career as a mathematician') and Dr Christina Charalambous ('My career as a statistician') started the day with talks highlighting their journeys in academia and pursuing mathematics to higher levels beyond school. Dr Isobel Falconer from the University of St Andrews talked about 'Female mathematicians throughout history', mentioning some lesser-known female mathematicians who have made great contributions despite challenging circumstances.

Students participated in several workshops in small groups, on different areas of maths and presented by female mathematicians - mainly PhD and postdoctoral students. The day finished with a plenary talk ('Playing darts on fractals and a formula inspired by mice brains') by Dr Demi Allen of the University of Bristol, whose vision inspired the event last year.

Feedback from both students and their teachers was very positive. The students found the day interesting and fun, and really valued the opportunity to speak to the workshop presenters. When asked what the most useful aspect of the day was, one student said: "Hearing about women who have achieved something in worse conditions than we have nowadays has inspired me to handle being in a male-dominated job." 

Almost all attendees said they were interested in studying maths further, and many were inspired to study maths at university in the Alan Turing Building.

The event was organised by Catherine Bruce, Abigail Bown, Liz Buckingham-Jeffery and Helena Stage. It was supported financially by Athena Swan funding and the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme (AMSP).


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