Maryam Mirzakhani, who is 37, became the first woman to win the Fields Medal this week. In the world of mathematics, the Fields Medal is equivalent to the Nobel Prize. If you’ve seen “Good Will Hunting,” you might remember hearing it referenced quite a few times. Mirzakhani was one of four recipients and was presented the award at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul. Mirzakhani grew up in Iran, where she initially thought she might become a writer before she fell in love with math, and then went on to study at Harvard. Now a professor at Stanford University, she is known for her studies of geometry and dynamical systems, especially the symmetry of curved surfaces. Mirzakhani says on Stanford’s website, “This is a great honour. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians. I am sure there will be many more women winning this kind of award in coming years.” Keep reading »
OK, so it’s a little difficult to feel tons of sympathy for the genetically blessed amongst us. But everyone has their struggles in life and when you’re a person who is only known for their looks, sometimes people treat you like you don’t have any brains. Case in point: Cindy Crawford learned an awful lesson about judgment on her first day of college calculus. The supermodel received a scholarship to study chemical engineering at Northwestern University, but all her professor seemed to see when he looked at her was a pretty face. Watch this clip from “Oprah’s Master Class” as Cindy tells her sobering (and infuriating) story — and think twice before you assume someone is dumb just because she or he is attractive. [Huffington Post]
The race to find a silver bullet to solve the “Where are all the girls in science and engineering?” puzzle is fast and furious. And as someone who works to encourage and support women studying in science and engineering fields, I worry our efforts often end up pitting the “pink sparkly girls” against the “digging for worms on a rainy day” ones.
I was one of the girls digging for worms. Rainy days were awesome when I was a kid: I would throw a swimsuit under my play clothes and hit the street. My mom use to talk about her horror of finding me building a mud dam in the street, trying to keep the river of storm water from getting to the sewer system. (Of course, that is also one of my favorite memories from childhood.) For me, science has always had a hold on my brain and heart. From archeology to the space program, I loved it all. Okay, maybe not genetics. Fruit flies were sooooo boring. And with my gift to kill plants, botany was a huge failure for me. But as a biology major, I had to take it all. Keep reading »
Today is March 14th, Pi Day, and in honor of this nerdiest of holidays, we thought we’d help you infuse some math swagger into your flirting game. Because come on, what is sexier than math? Nothing. Nothing is sexier than math. Here are 10 pickup lines sure to charm your way into a hot date, or at least score you a sexy romp on your horizontal axis, if you know what we mean…
Look, we don’t want to take all of the magic out of life. After all, can “science” and “mathematics” quantify something as mysterious as the beauty of music, or the evil of the human spirit, or the madness of a panicked mob?
Yeah, pretty much. Get enough data, create the best algorithm, and you can get some nice pretty graphs that tell you. Read more …
“We’re working on some things. He knows his colors and his shapes. He still gets seven when he counts the toes on one foot — he really likes seven right now! He likes it when I recite Pi. And I’m trying to teach him the quadratic formula. He hasn’t quite gotten it yet. It’s sung to the tune of ‘Pop Goes the Weasel.’”
–Danica McKellar aka Winnie Cooper from “The Wonder Years,” has successfully transitioned from sitcom star to math missionary and author of best-selling books such as Math Doesn’t Suck, and now she’s teaching her 23-month-old son Draco (god, best name ever) some algebraic basics. Is it wrong that I’m a bit relieved to find out that a two-year-old hasn’t quiiiiite gotten a grasp on the quadratic formula yet? It took me a while to memorize it when I was in high school, even when my math teacher brought in a guitar and taught us the song, which is now stuck in my head (“The opposite of B / plus or minus the / square root of B squaaaaared…”). Thanks a lot, Draco. [People]