Tag Archives: female

In her own words: honouring Hanna Neumann

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Hanna Neumann (1914-1971, born Johanna von Caemmerer) was a German-born UK and Australian group theorist. She was the first woman Chair of Pure Mathematics in Australia. She had a fascinaging life story. With her husband Bernhard Neumann, they had five children, four of whom became mathematicians.

A new page on Facebook follows her story told in her own words, like a scrapbook of letters, documents and images – great use of facebook as a platform for telling oral history!


if you are on Twitter, you can also follow this #NatSciWk, told in her own words (hashtags: #InHerOwnWords #AussieScientist).

The project is created by Women in Science Australia, Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS), the NFSA, and The National Museum of Australia.

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Ada Lovelace Documentary online

A very nice documentary about Ada Lovelace, presented by matheamatician Hannah Fry! On the BBC website, unfortunately only available until tomorrow 10pm:


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Women scientists in history

A scary timeline of female education: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_female_education

And some of the very few women scientists in the otherwise enlightened Europe:

Beatriz Galindo (1465?-1534), Spanish Latinist, writer, humanist and teacher of Queen Isabella of Castille and her children http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatriz_Galindo

Juliana Morell (16 February 1594 – 26 June 1653) Spanish nun, first woman to receive a Doctor of Laws degree http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juliana_Morell

Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia (1646 – 1684)Venetian philosopher who also studied mathematics, first woman to receive a doctoral degree from a university (Padua) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elena_Cornaro_Piscopia

Laura Maria Caterina Bassi (1711 – 1778): the first woman in the world to earn a university chair in a scientific field of studies. The third woman to receive a PhD from a European university (Bologna, 1732). The first woman to earn an official teaching position, and the first female physics professor at a European university. In 1776, at the age of 65, Bassi was appointed to the chair in experimental physics by the Bologna Institute of Sciences, with her husband as a teaching assistant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Bassi

Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718 – 1799). First woman to write a mathematics handbook and the first woman appointed as a Mathematics Professor at a University http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Gaetana_Agnesi

Stefania Wolicka (1851 – after 1895) – polish historian. Not a mathematician, but the first woman to earn a PhD in the modern era http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stefania_Wolicka
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Irish universities’ gender gap: even worse than in the whole UK

“New data from the Higher Education Authority reveals that women are massively under-represented in senior academic positions across virtually all of the country’s third-level institutions.

The figures, gathered late last year, show that in the country’s top universities between just 14% and 20% of professorships are held by women.

It is the first time the HEA has published a detailed breakdown of the gender gap at senior levels in the sector.”

Read more here http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/1203/664255-academic-posts/

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Is there a life after grad school? The story of a Computer Science PhD

Here’s an interesting interview with PhD student in Die Zeit (my translation)

CAROLA DOERR, 29, gained her PhD from Saarland University and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics. 

A wrong decision

Will I wake up some day and just know it for sure? Do I want to work in science or in industry? This decision gave me stomach ache for a long time while I was doing my PhD. I had previously spent two years working for McKinsey who then funded my PhD. My topic was random algorithms. In addition, I held a post at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics [Computer Science] in Saarbrücken and a grant from Google. I never had to worry about money. But I asked myself: Which lifestyle is right for me? Which goes better with family?

After submitting my PhD, I first worked part time at McKinsey and the Max Planck Institute, because I still couldn’t make a decision. At some point, however, I realised that it would be difficult to reconcile the lifestyle of a consultant with my desire to have children. At the Max Planck Institute, already two colleagues had children. I asked the director how he assessed my chances for a permanent position in science. He was quite confident . These were three signals for me. Now I live in Paris and work at the Pierre-and-Marie-Curie-University. I have a permanent research job and I can decide freely how much teaching I want to do. My husband is a professor at another university in Paris. Our daughter is seven months old.

If you read German, here is the full article with five more stories by PhD students in other subjects:




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