Friday, March 29, 2019

Celebrate Karen Uhlenbeck, Abel Prize winner

     Celebration is everywhere (including here in The New Yorker ) -- mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck has recently won the Abel prize for her revolutionary work: " . . . pioneering achievements in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory and integrable systems, and for the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry, and mathematical physics."
     Here (pulled from The New Yorker article also cited above) are some of Uhlenbeck's poetic words about women in mathematics:

       It's really hard for me to describe
          to people who are not somewhat near me in age
       what it was like for women then ... and it was only
          because of the women's movement and books like  
      Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique
          that the consciousness came up that women
       could actually do other things . . . if I'd been five years older,
          I could not have become a mathematician ... the disapproval
       would be so strong ... when I started out as a student, it was clear
          the way to become a mathematician was not
       to hang out with other women ...

Echoing Uhlenbeck's thoughts with my own, I recall this stanza 

                                                 If a woman's dance is mathematics,
                                                 she dances alone.

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