School of Mathematics holds first Women in Mathematics Research event

The School of Mathematics held the first Women in Mathematics Research event on 29 June. The day was open to all year 12 students of mathematics, but female attendees were especially encouraged.

The aim of the event was to inspire young women to consider pursuing studies in mathematics and the possibility of a career in research in mathematics. On the day, all of the speakers, organisers and helpers were female to present good female role models at various stages of research careers in mathematics to the students.

The day began with a brief introduction to the event from Professor Louise Walker, followed by two plenary talks. The first talk was "My Career as a Mathematician" given by Professor Victoria Gould from the University of York, who talked mainly about her career (the journey to professorship) and pursuing mathematics to higher levels beyond school. The second talk was titled "Female Mathematicians throughout History" and was given by Dr Isobel Falconer from the University of St Andrews, who talked about some lesser known female mathematicians who had made some great contributions despite often being faced with rather challenging circumstances.

After the two talks, students participated in several workshops on different areas of mathematics presented by female mathematicians. The day finished with a final plenary talk: "Rationalising Chaos: A mathematical approach to the untameable" by Helena Stage, a PhD student here in the School of Mathematics.

The feedback from both the students and their teachers was very positive. A lot of the students found the day interesting and fun. When asked what the most useful aspect of the day was, a 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".

The event was organised by Demi Allen, Catherine Bruce, Abigail Bown, Liz Buckingham-Jeffery, and Louise Walker. It was financially supported by Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw funding, the Further Mathematics Support Programme (FMSP), Liz Buckingham-Jeffery’s prize money from the 2017 "I'm a Scientist get me out of here" competition and Demi Allen's EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship Outreach budget.

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