Monday, March 13, 2023

March is Women's History Month

Learn the history of MATH-WOMEN!

     A recently-released poetry collection that I have been excited to acquire is Jessy Randall's collection,  Mathematics for Ladies:  Poems on Women in Science (London: Goldsmiths Press, 2022).  I first met Jessy Randall's poetry when her poem ‘Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz (1822–1907)’ was published in the August, 2021 issue of Scientific American.

     After a thoughtful "Foreword" by Pippa Goldschmidt, we find 68 poetic snapshots of math women --going back as far as the 12th century and continuing into the the present.  Here is a sample:

CHARLOTTE ANGAS SCOTT (1858-1931)    by Jessy Randall

          When I was at college for mathematics
          I attended Cambridge lectures

          from behind a screen, of course.
          So the male students couldn't see me.

          (I might have distracted them.)   

          And so I had to picture all the numbers
          in my head.  I had no view of the board.

          Maybe the strain of all that imagining
          is why I tied for 8th place on the exam.

          Being female, I was not allowed
          to attend the ceremony.
          Nor could my name be read aloud.

          But when the list got to 8th place
          the men called out SCOTT
          and cheered, and waved their hats.

          Or so I'm told.
          I wasn't there.

The poem above is found on page 38 of Mathematics for Ladies.

Learn more about Jessy Randall here

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