I recently attended a colloquium on Women in Mathematics presented by
David Fauvel of England's Open University. In this colloquium, Fauvel
spoke about several 19th century female mathematicians, including Mary
Sommerville, Ada Lovelace, Sonya Kovalevskaya, and Charlotte Scott.
At the end of the talk, Fauvel noted several themes that seemed recurrent
in the lives of these women:
*The importance of older women as role models (a sense of continuity with
women mathematicians who came before)
*The women were self-consciously _women_ mathematicians
*All were also encouraged by men
*Some were strongly associated with radical politics (as defined by the day)
*Evidence of women letting their gender be clear by their names
*A major obstacle being a lack of constructive criticism (they were
often patronized--"Gee, that's good--for a _girl_)
I found the importance of having female role models to be the most
interesting point in his summary. It seems to me that the net might me a
great medium for connecting budding scientists (of all ages--k-12 on up),
but that maybe some sort of clearinghouse (matching interested parties)
might be warranted.
What do you folks think about this idea? Is someone else out there doing
this already? Are we all too strapped for time to do this sort of thing?
I'd be interested in working on a project like this, if others wanted to
participate as well....
kdurack at nmsu.edu